By Anne Boudreau
The Truth Behind Comparisons
Why do so many of us compare ourselves to others? Whether we are evaluating ourselves against relatives, friends, colleagues, celebrities, athletes, the list is long. We expend a lot of our valuable energy in juxtaposing ourselves with other people. Is this healthy or does this cause us to feel inferior?
Why is it we feel the need to assess ourselves relative to other people?
Whether it is someone we admire for some specific reason or someone we think falls short of our standards, comparison is a way for us to point out similarities and differences, which can lead to negative thoughts and emotions such as jealousy, loneliness, and unworthiness.
What occurs is this fictitious barometer of self-judgment provides us validation or subjugation. In either case, it is not typically in our best interest. In fact, it is often poisonous to our mindset. Having spent several years of my life comparing myself to others, I know for a fact that it was not helpful at all, in fact, it was detrimental.
The Good in Self-Comparison
Conversely, if you are aiming to achieve a personal or professional goal, such as striving to be more productive, organized, or optimistic, observing someone you believe is a great role model is healthy. Learning constructively from people you respect can be highly motivational. For example, if your goal is to become a better public speaker, and you watch videos of a talented orator, you can gain insight and understanding into how to become a more effective speaker.
The Downside of Comparison
In most cases, when we compare ourselves to others, we are left feeling inadequate. He has more money, or she is in better shape, or she is smarter…A significant truth that I learned long ago is that when we compare ourselves to people we believe to be superior, we label ourselves as flawed, as less than, worse than, below average. In our mind, we perceive that person to be “better,” more attractive or like-able.
An important point to note—and one that most people are unaware—is that our perception is skewed by our own misunderstanding of ourselves. In fact, because our perspective stems from our own poor self-concept, we see others in unrealistic ways, or as my mother always said, with rose-colored glasses. The way we perceive them is obscured by our own self-doubt.
There is No State of Perfection
I have mentioned this in my book, A Human Mosaic: Heal, Renew & Develop Self-Worth, and I speak about it frequently. When we compare ourselves to others, we see them as “perfect,” but no one is perfect. And, there is no state of perfection. We are each distinct human beings who are various shapes, sizes, colors, which is why we are beautiful. Perfection does not exist.
Stop Comparing Yourself
Rather than continue to fantasize about wishing you were someone other than yourself, which is negative energy, why don’t you invest that time and energy into fueling yourself with positive thoughts and finding ways to raise your own perception of yourself. Because the bottom line is, you are equally if not more deserving of admiration.
When you learn to accept, respect, trust, like and love who you are, you will find that comparing yourself to others will diminish from your thinking. Instead, you will focus on growing from within, leaning on your own set of values and beliefs.
Please let me know your thoughts with respect to comparing yourself to others?