Do you ever compare yourself to others? We compare ourselves to friends, online friends, siblings, neighbors, celebrities, workmates, fellow students, anyone. We compare as fatter, thinner, smarter, funnier, more popular or attractive. I am here on this fabulous retreat with all these amazing people who can sing, dance, and teach yoga, philosophy and more! I have been tempted to compare myself to them and feel inadequate. Fortunately I am aware of the detrimental effect on my happiness and confidence when I compare myself and my qualities, and life with others. My well worn habit of comparing and deciding, ‘I am not good enough’ or to a lesser degree ‘I am better’ is unhelpful, untrue and detrimental to my happiness and confidence.
So instead of feeling 'not good enough' I decided to focus on my talents and share them with others – I enjoy service and the home crafts, so I had fun setting up for our graduation party - I enjoyed setting tables, decorating and cleaning up too. I love writing and shared a story and sang Walzing Matilda with my friend Kate at the open mic. session. We called ourselves the non-singing singers and had great fun sharing and making others feel happy and appreciative of their singing ability.
The habit of comparing ourselves to others is often a well-established pattern from childhood. Our school system encourages this competition and comparison through grading and ranking, mostly to help to evaluate effective teaching methods. Also within families there may be a tendency for parents to, often unknowingly, compare their children or for siblings themselves to compare themselves to each other.
Many of us are frequently comparing ourselves to others, often unconsciously. As a friend of mine says it is like we are doing accounting in our minds. This comparing can involve focusing on others’ upside and our downside. It can also be about focusing on others’ downside and our upside in order to try to make ourselves feel better. We can compare ourselves and conclude others are more or less popular, attractive, smart, successful or talented than us. This comparison can lead us to feel either superior or inferior. Others are doing the same, to others and maybe even us! Comparing and thinking that others’ lives and attributes are either worse than or better than ours is untrue, destructive to our self-esteem and confidence and a waste of time
We are all certainly unique and have different qualities, talents, interests and experiences that help to shape who we are. We have no need to compare our unique qualities with those of others in an effort to feel superior or inferior. Doing so, is detrimental to our happiness and confidence. We replace self-doubt with confidence when we focus on our unique strengths, rather than weaknesses or comparing yourself to others and thinking you are better or worse. When we stop comparing ourselves to others we can appreciate our unique qualities and use them to benefit others.
What unique gifts and talents do you have to share to be a positive force in the world? Maybe you are good at singing, non-singing, dancing, smiling, laughing, cooking, fixing things, maths, doing dishes, listening, painting, art, being a friend, caring for a pet, walking the dog, writing, being kind or woodwork. There is a friend on this retreat that has one of those infectious laughs - what a beautiful gift she had to bring joy. If you are having trouble thinking of your gifts, ask someone who is close to you. And you can have fun sharing their positive qualities with them too. Whatever attributes you have been gifted with, do your best to have fun and share them with others, in order to be of benefit. This will make you happier more confident, and better for others and not better than others.
Comparing ourselves to others is an unhelpful habit we can change to promote our own and others confidence and happiness . With wise understanding we can take control of our lives, stop this comparing and learn more helpful kind ways of thinking to promote confidence and emotional well being. We can learn that these subconscious habits of comparing are untrue and detrimental to our confidence and well-being and how to change them .I would love to explore this further. Lets share more in the next two blog posts –
Next week - Comparing - Who and How?
The following week - Comparing - How Can I Stop?
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