Using Comparisons to Your Advantage
A few weeks ago we spoke about how you don’t always get what you want, but stuff happens in life, and sometimes you’ll end up surprised (pleasantly) with how things turn out. You can read more about it here.
Now here’s something else you may not know – and it’s all about comparisons.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t compare yourself to others” at some point in your life – as a child, teen, and/or an adult. Through all walks of life, and at every stage, you will always find someone who seems to be able to do something slightly better than you and that can awaken the green eyed monster and the inner critic “why can’t you do that”, it says.
But why were you told this? Can’t comparisons help to motivate you?
Well, the answer is both yes and no.
Here’s the thing, comparing yourself to someone else is truly pointless. When you break it down, all you are really doing is comparing said person’s strengths to something you consider your own weakness – so of course they’re going to look “better”. But you have no idea of their life. You don’t know if they spent 20 minutes or 20 years learning whatever it is you nthink they do better than you.
Everyone goes through life at different paces, and different people will prioritise different factors of their lives in other orders to you. Remember, there are five types of people in total (which you can learn more about here).
But if you do find yourself tempted to start comparing yourself to someone else, firstly you need to keep in mind that whether you know the person or not, they will not have a perfect life either, and have likely use ‘comparisons’ themselves.
Secondly – and much more important – even if they DID have a perfect life (which I can guarantee they WON’T) – you will never be them.
That thought might sting at first, but it shouldn’t because, you know what – they will also never be YOU.
No one else is ever going to have your life, your looks, your personality, your experience, your take on things – no matter how hard they try. Remember, there is only one YOU.
So now you might be wondering; what is good about comparisons then?
The motivation you CAN get from comparing is found from comparing your current self to your previous self.
It could be because you got more done today than yesterday – so a recent comparison – or maybe because you were in a much darker place earlier on in your life.
Using yourself as a comparison is the only acceptable way to do it. You can only affect your behaviour, decisions and thought patterns, so can only compare yourself to yourself.
Because no one understands you better than yourself.
For example, you may be on a new diet, cutting down on alcohol, or starting a new job or hobby. Maybe you feel stressed or down about yourself. Instead of focusing on what you are not donig you can focus instead on how far you have come: “well, at least I have lost a couple of pounds” or “last week I knew nothing about painting and now I have read a book, and bought some paint”.
Whether big or small, these small imrpovements are what need to be the focus.
It may seem a bit self-centred at first, but all you’re really doing is motivating yourself to be better than the person you were yesterday.
And besides, you can’t offend a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore!
And remember to celebrate your results, and be grateful for them. Improvement is good, but never being truly content with yourself isn’t.
Now imagine being a role model to your child self.
Whilst it’s great to strive to be a good role model to others (particularly if you’re a parent!), what I want you to really think about is what your younger self would say to you.
Picture this – you’re face-to-face with yourself at around 7 years old. A version of you with more imagination, a clearer mind, no limits.
What would they think, how would they react?
My point is, when you’re making comparisons, compare yourself to what your child self would want. Because if you thought you could before, what’s stopping you now?
In conclusion, comparisons to other people are a waste of your time, they will only make you feel bad about yourself for no reason whatsoever. No one deserves that!
All you can do is look back on your previous self – by remembering who you used to be, and keeping in mind that tomorrow is always a new day, and a new opportunity.
You can use your previous self as an example when it comes to setting your goals and knowing what you want. And if you aren’t entirely sure what you want, then maybe the Find Your WHY Community is for you! You can read more about it here.