I wrote an article over two years ago now about why you’ll feel so much better when you stop comparing yourself to Beyoncé!
And when I said Beyoncé, I meant her both literally and as a metaphor for comparing ourselves to other people in general. I re-read it yesterday, and it is truer than ever. I am still seeing it all the time in clients, and I’d argue even more so than I was 2 years ago.
We compare other people’s highlight reels to our bloopers or low-lights.
People’s best days to our worst.
We think that the glamorous pictures we see on someone’s Instagram are a representation of their daily life. That someone’s brand-new Gucci handbag, or Rolex watch mean they must be earning bucket-loads, and they MUST be more successful than us. So we beat ourselves up. We internally list out all of the reasons why we aren’t as successful as them and could never be like them.
We see someone speak at a meeting with confidence and clarity and assume they must have all their sh*t together, instead of recognising the late nights, hard work and stress that might have gone into them presenting that way.
My point is that comparison is EXHAUSTING. It is a drain on our energy and it really serves no positive purpose.
Comparison makes the assumption that there is only a certain amount of ‘awesomeness’ to go around. It assumes that if person X has a fantastic life, then I too cannot have one. That a portion of the finite bucket of ‘awesomeness’ has been taken and there is now less to go around.
Comparison also has a significant impact on things like Imposter Syndrome and our ability to believe that we are worthy of what we have achieved, as opposed to being a fake or a fraud.
When we compare ourselves to the wrong people, or we don’t compare using real facts, we put more pressure onto ourselves and place greater expectations on ourselves to be something that no one actually is – perfect.
We lose sight of all the amazing things that we have done, and all the amazing things that we DO have. Instead, we focus only on all of the things that we don’t.
This can have a seriously negative impact on our careers if it is not dealt with.
Is it ok to have mentors and people that inspire us or people we look up to?
Absolutely! Hell YESSSSS!!!
But being inspired by someone and beating ourselves up for not being like them, are two very different things.
When you find yourself comparing yourself or your life to others, PLEASE remember the following things:
- Accept that there is NO cap on how many people can be awesome, and STOP comparing yourself to others – YOU are also awesome.
- Collect the facts – Every time you find yourself getting down from comparing your successes to someone else’s, remind yourself of all that YOU have done. What are YOUR strengths? What have been YOUR achievements? Go and dig up all of the positive feedback that you have received over the years and look at those facts.
- Acknowledge that you had to play some part in your current life success– it doesn’t all come down to luck, or whatever other B/S you have been kidding yourself that it is.
- Remember that there are multiple pathways in life – and that people do things at different times. You may know people who hit the career jackpot at 20, but then slow down to have a family at 35. Others may do it in the reverse. For other people, they may not want a career at all, instead preferring to make enough money to live a life that makes them happy. There is no right or wrong way to DO life. Therefore, comparing how we live ours to how others live theirs is pointless.
- Reframe the negativity – when you experience these feelings, actively name them. But then practise self-compassion. Would you beat your friend up emotionally in the same way you do to yourself? I bet you wouldn’t, so now is the time to stop.
- Get a wing-woman (or wing-man!) – whether you have someone in your life you can do this with, or you need to consider seeking out a coach (Hi!), get someone to help call you out on these feelings and put the actions in place that you need to (in addition to the above) to get you past it.
If you are reading this and wondering if you might be stuck in your own way – try our free online quiz and find out if you are!