Here’s the real question: who hasn’t compared themselves to another creative/business owner? Probably, close to no one. We’re all familiar with the sudden “I’m nothing compared to her” realization followed by a quick confidence drop and self-loathing spiral. We all get sucked into the comparison game, but why? Let’s rewind to the basics of evolutionary human needs.
To make sense of ourselves and others, we try to relate to each other. Whenever we meet another person, we instinctively compare ourselves for compatibility and understanding. This happens on a subconscious level for most of the time, but when warning bells go off, you know about it.
Usually, we compare ourselves to people we most closely identify with and who are in our circle of relationships, which is why you don’t find yourself trying to stack up to Elon Musk every day–only the hot IG accounts and your randomly successful cousin.
We’re more likely to compare ourselves if:
- We feel behind
- We feel like others know something we don’t
- We feel unconfident in ourselves
- We feel unsure about our career
- We don’t practice gratitude regularly
Is comparing really that bad?
Nope! Comparing can actually be good sometimes, depending on where your root feelings are at.
There are two versions:
- Comparing out of fear & insecurity
- Comparing out of the want to do better
The fear form is where those nasty feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, self-doubt, and lethargy come from. On the flip side, the self-improvement take boils up motivation, inspiration, and desire. So, when we talk about avoiding the comparison game, we’re talking about version #1, the troublemaker.
Since comparison is powerfully innate, there isn’t a way to totally shut it off. But if we work on our fear flaws and understand triggers, we can ditch the harmful effects and exchange our mindset to version #2, the motivator. Here are three ways to avoid the comparison game:
Develop a Deeper Sense of Self
Comparison might be a symptom of insecurity, which is where a deep sense of self comes in. Know that no one is you, and that’s your power. Ask yourself if you’re proud of the you who doesn’t show her face on social media– the you who “ugly cries” and screws up. Then go deeper. What are your values and preferences when no one is there to know about them? A rich sense of self comes from taking the time to find who you are without anyone else’s opinion to interrupt.
Interact with Your Scroll
We all know social media doesn’t tell the whole story. #highlightreel
But thankfully, these days authenticity is making its way around. Do an audit on who you follow, removing anyone who doesn’t add value to your day and slowly decrease your average time on social media.
Spending less time on the ‘gram and a quality follow list is important, but it’s even more important to use social media wisely. Instead of passive scrolling, actively create networks, build communities, send private messages, share experiences, and look for real emotional connection, the kind you could spend time offline with, too. This way you’re not logging on to comparison. You’re logging on to love.
Your value did not change in the second you started to compare yourself– your mindset did. Negative energy found its way into the vulnerabilities of your brain and switched on the “I’m nothing” instead of “Look how far I’ve come.”
Gratitude is the silver bullet to negativity. Because when you’re truly thankful, reality sets in, and you suddenly realize that none of this even matters. You’re safe, healthy, and have the ability to work towards something absolutely wonderful. Many don’t even get to try.
Her Success Is Not Your Failure
Athletes like swimmers and runners are told to keep their heads down and eyes forward because perusing the environment slows them down. The same goes for us. There’s a bold line between knowing what your competition is doing and allowing them to hold you back. But, comparing is natural. So, when you notice it, gently bring yourself back without judgment and try to redirect that energy to “what can I learn from them that will help me grow?”
Remember that their experiences, resources, time, efforts, and energy levels are different from yours, which means they’re going to have different results than you. You’re not doing anything wrong because they’ve found what works for them.
You just have to find what works for you.
How do you battle the comparison game? Let us know in the comments!