One of my worst flaws is that I constantly compare myself to others. That person is skinnier than me, that person has a bigger house than me, this person is more successful than me…sound familiar? We all have done it at some point.
I have a friend who is traveling all over the world DJ-ing on cruise ships, and she has the most amazing Instagram. Another friend of mine from college is producing movies for Hallmark channel, and I just streamed one of her movies on my Time Warner app this evening. Yet another person I went to high school with has been on the cover of Fortune magazine and is a mentor on Shark Tank this season. What have I done? I have planned weddings for people in Cincinnati. I’m not famous, I don’t live in a big city, and I am certainly not rolling in the dough. I have always set my standards higher because that’s just me. I don’t want to be ordinary. When I start comparing myself to these people, however, I immediately feel like I’ve failed.
When I start having this line of thinking, I quickly remind myself of these four things.
(1) You are special and unique, and you have been blessed with your own talents and life journey. Your path is not the same. You have qualities that no one else has. The path life has taken you on has made you into the person you are today. Your life, talents and experiences likely inspire more people than you realize. I was diagnosed with lupus and recovering from that that set me back a few years on growing my business. Right when my business was taking off, my husband and I moved to Cleveland for two years where I literally had to start over from scratch. We eventually moved to Cincinnati and it took a few years back to get where I was when we left. Some people may see these as obstacles, but they were learning experiences and I am a stronger person because of them.
(2) You don’t know what is going on behind the front door. You see what that person wants you to see, or shows you — which is likely 10% of the story. You see the achievements, the milestones, the Facebook posts and the money. What you don’t see is the years of struggle, failures, struggling marriages and medical issues. That person’s health may be failing, or their marriage might be on the rocks. You aren’t comparing yourself to their struggles though.
(3) They have problems and struggles too. Nobody is perfect. We all have crosses to carry. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be human!
(4) They might think you’re perfect! Think about the social media posts you post. Do you post when your checking account overdraws, when you’ve gained 20 pounds, or lost out on booking that big client? Of course not! You post the good things, like winning an award, the photos from the great event you planner, or when you lost 40 pounds. In reading the 10% of what is actually going on in your life, others may think your life is perfect!
I think of a line from the movie “The Sixth Sense,” — people see what they want to see. When you compare yourself to others that is exactly what you are doing. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday to who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow. That is the healthiest way to compare yourself and continue to grow!