Do you have a lot of self-confidence? If you answered no to that question, it could be because you routinely compare yourself to those around you. When you look at another person’s accomplishments, talents or assets and compare them with your flaws and limitations, it makes you feel completely inadequate. Hence your self-esteem suffers, and you feel miserable. For example, suppose you are trying your hand at writing fiction. If you were to compare your own work to the novels of Ian McEwan or Margaret Atwood, you would only feel disappointed and perhaps lose the will to continue trying.
Why Comparisons Are Unhealthy
If you want to stop making comparisons, you must acknowledge that it isn’t a good idea. Making comparisons is bad because there will always be someone better than you. Thus you’ll never be content with your life until you stop comparing and understand that your position in life is not related to anyone else’s station.
When you consistently make comparisons, it makes you feel hostile towards people who are more successful. When you prejudge others because you perceive them as being more successful, you forego the opportunity to get to know who they really are.
If you habitually compare yourself to others, it will make you feel insecure. Because you feel insecure, you may feel the need to boast about your accomplishments while in company with others. People who tend to boast about where they have gone, what they have done, and what they have are not generally very popular. Feelings of insecurity can also contribute to bullying behavior. If you feel bad about yourself, it’s very easy to disparage those who are even more unfortunate because it makes you feel better about your lot in life.
How do you stop comparing yourself to other people? After all, it is human nature to make comparisons, and it is done without consciousness. The truth is that it takes a lot of practice to stop comparing yourself to other people, and it starts with awareness. When you catch yourself comparing your accomplishments or assets to those of another person, acknowledge the fact that you have done so. Take a moment to remind yourself that making comparisons may be natural, but that doesn’t make it healthy. Continue by reminding yourself of all the things you do have. Do this each and every time you catch yourself making a comparison.
Focus On Your Merits
You will only be happy and self-confident if you choose to concentrate on your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses. A person who tries writing fiction may never be as talented as Ian McEwan, but does that mean he should just give up? You don’t have to be brilliant to write entertaining prose that other people enjoy reading. Once you come to understand that you can be good without being the best, your chances of success will increase. You must look at your strengths and understand what they are really worth in order to make something of your life. If you cannot recognize your talents without making comparisons, you will lose the will to persevere.
When you wake up in the morning, take a moment to consider all that you have and feel grateful. Once you get into the habit of counting your blessings and considering the things you have, you begin to understand why making comparisons is futile. Hence it is a good idea to practice celebrating your talents, assets and attainments, and using them to your best advantage.
Acknowledge Your Flaws
On a cerebral level, almost everybody is aware that perfection is impossible. Yet on an emotional level not being flawless can cause you pain. In order to feel content and happy, you must learn to accept the fact that you’re imperfect. That doesn’t mean you should stop aspiring to greater things or give up trying to succeed. It simply means you’ll always be disappointed if you expect perfection.
Be Happy With Enough
Big businesses and major corporations know exactly how to use the media in order to cash in on the dissatisfaction people feel when they compare themselves to others. They use advertising to convince people that they will be more successful if they buy the product they are promoting, and less efficacious if they do not. A person who is sucked in by clever advertising and always wants more will never be happy. If you have a home to live in, clothes to wear, food to eat and the love of other people, then you already have enough. Anything above and beyond that is a blessing.