One of the easiest ways to become miserable is by comparing ourselves to others. The simple fact is that no matter what skill or trait we are assessing in ourselves, we will always be able to find someone who does it better.
It startled me to hear a statistic that we spend up to ¾ of our lives trying to be like others. After thinking about it, it’s no wonder. If you watch a few TV commercials, you quickly learn that you should have whiter teeth, a cooler car and a flatter belly if you want to find love, fit in and be liked.
Really? The reason I am single is because I’m not using Crest White Strips? Who knew?
We are bombarded with messages in magazines, on billboards, and through social media about how we can be more successful, better parents, and look years younger. The ways that we seem to fall short as humans are limitless. And we can waste a lot of energy feeling stressed or using our time to chase the wrong dreams if we succumb to these messages.
So what do we do when the messages are everywhere?
Personally, I am pro-improvement and believe that spending time learning is a valuable use of energy. But trying to be like someone else or spending time (and money) chasing unrealistic expectations only makes me feel worse when I don’t measure up or get the outcome I anticipated.
So here are some strategies for taking back your energy and focusing on being the best YOU:
Simply notice. Notice when you are comparing yourself to others who you perceive to be a better speaker, parent, manager, writer, coach, etc. or who seem to have a better figure, relationship, car, or life. Awareness can be powerful and once we start noticing, we can stop comparing.
Identify your buttons. Is there something that keeps coming up for you? If you are constantly noticing others’ presentation skills, perhaps this is a useful place to put your energy and work on improving.
Think about what it would take to attain that quality. For example, if you desire a swimsuit model physique, you will need to work out 2 – 3 hours each day or eat nothing but carrots and diet soda (I just read that some models eat tissues to feel fuller –appetizing!) Is this going to make you happy?
Be realistic with your expectations. If you identify an area for improvement, focus on being the best YOU and not trying to attain what someone else has. This will only lead to further disappointment. Embrace your uniqueness!
Take stock of your strengths and those qualities that others envy about you. As humans, we can gravitate towards those things we feel are lacking, so take a few minutes to celebrate those traits that others admire in you. You may be surprised how many enviable qualities you can list about yourself once you get going.
So, there it is – another thing you can cross off of your list so that you can spend more time enjoying. I always love feedback, so please leave a comment or additional thoughts on the website.