This isn’t something that I struggle with…usually. However, as an achiever (3) on the enneagram, I know that it can especially be in my nature to do so 😉 And I hate to admit this, but I’ve definitely been doing it more so lately. And to be fair, I think all of us compare ourselves to others at some point or another. And I think we’ve all heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy” and I don’t know about you, but I feel like that is 100% true! So recently I’ve been thinking–how can I limit doing this and if I am going to do it (because it’s human nature to a certain extent), how do I turn this into something positive? And maybe actually healthy? Okay, bear with me!
I think one of the reasons that I am struggling with self-comparison more now than in previous years is because what I do for work is so “public.” What do I mean by this? Well, it’s very easy for me to see the content, followers, engagement number, brand deals etc. of other bloggers and influencers in the same space. So a lot of times it can be very apparent who is doing “well.” And I don’t say this as –well if one person does well, the rest of us can’t! But imagine if you’re working in more of a corporate roll and you had access to all your co-workers numbers–their salary, their sales, how many clients they have etc. staring you in the face everyday LOL. To be fair, it’s been a long time since I’ve worked a corporate job so maybe things have changed but I often wonder why now I compare myself more to others than I did 2-3 years ago. And I think it’s because my job is so important to me –I know as a enneagram 3 that a lot of my value comes from my work (another thing I should probably work on). But I truly love what I do and I want to be the best for you guys — so I inevitably compare myself to other people in the space as a barometer to see if I’m doing that.
Obviously doing this all the time is not healthy. And regardless of what type of job you have, I think we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others whether it’s professionally or personally. That being said, here are some things I’ve started to do in order to re-direct this self comparison into something more healthy.
Instead of feeling insecure, envious, inadequate (whatever you want to call it), use it as motivation. I really try to use others success as a way to motivate me versus feeling frustrated or discouraged. Sometimes when you’re comparing yourself to someone else, you think — I could never have that/be that. But why can’t you? Because here’s the thing–if one person has done it, that means it’s possible. It means that anyone else is capable of doing it too. So that being said, I try to redirect feelings of inadequacy into motivation. I know that if I just sit here comparing myself to them, that’s not going to change anything. But if I use them for motivation and something I can aspire to be, then those negative feelings of self-comparison start to look different.
Limit time on social media. Whether your job is in social media or not, we all know social media can be a highlight reel. If following certain people or spending too much time looking at beautifully curated photos on IG starts to put you in a negative headspace, limit your time there. I’ve found that Pinterest can actually be a great place to find inspiration without having as much of that comparison trap.
Make a list of your priorities and what you want to accomplish. Maybe it’s just me, but do you ever see someone else doing something (successfully) and you’re like–hmm, maybe I should do that too?! This kind of goes back to my post on how to be more body positive. In the past, I used to look at girls who had perfectly chiseled abs and thought —I want that! But when I actually thought about it, I didn’t care about that. Sure, I thought they looked great but the more I thought about it, I didn’t want to have a lifestyle where I had to workout 6x a week, be as disciplined with my diet, limit my wine intake LOL, etc. But I just saw something “pretty” in front of me and thought, yeah, I want that! Point being, there isn’t anything wrong with not wanting certain things. You just have to acknowledge that, and realize what actually is important you and focus on that.
Focus on what you do have. Easier said than done, I know. However, I think sometimes we live in a society that always wants more. I mean, myself included! Especially when it comes to my business. I try to think back though to 4 years ago when I had a friend ask me, “Would you ever do this (blogging) full-time?” And deep down I would have loved to but I said–oh, I don’t think that could ever happen. But 4 years later, I am able to do this as my full-time job and provide for us. Why can’t I focus on that? Vs. always looking at what I don’t have yet.
Know that the grass isn’t always greener. Are the people you’re comparing themselves to—do you know their whole life story? Probably not. Again, social media has the tendency to just show of a highlight reel. At the end of the day, we don’t know what people are going through. As open as I am with y’all, I have things going on in my life that I choose to keep private to be respectful to those involved and because there are some things that are also just painful to talk about. I just say that as a reminder (for myself as well) that even if things look “pretty on the outside” we often don’t know the full extent of what is going on in someone’s life. We’re comparing our whole life to only a small percentage of what we see of theirs.
I hope that this blog was helpful guys. Just know that everyone compares themselves to others at some point or another! You aren’t alone in that. But next time you catch yourself doing it, I hope some of these suggestions move you into a better overall headspace 🙂 xx C