Comparisons in life are inevitable. It’s done all the time in the sports world. This record is on the verge of being broken. She’s the youngest person to ever win this award but like her contemporary can she follow it up with another……..
Whether it’s the house that you live in, the spouse who is not your soulmate (in your mind), the children you are propelling, the girlfriend who is popular or what your IRA should be compared to the national average at your age; do you find yourself making comparisons to others?
If we do, it appears we are playing a game we will never win.
Bestselling author Joshua Becker confirms that.
At the informative site becomingminimalist.com he explains, “The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion. Certainly I’m not alone in my experience. But it is a decision that only steals joy from our lives. And it is a habit with numerous shortcomings:”
It appears that other experts seem to agree with him.
Sonya Derian is the owner and founder of Om Freely, a company dedicated to helping people live out loud, tap into their power, and transform their lives.
She surmises, “The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having, or doing more. And this just leaves us coming up short.”
This writer has often envied people in our circle who have no need to compare or compete.
So much of that has to do with how they were raised but there is this quiet contentment that they don’t have to prove anything to anyone, including themselves.
Having been a coach in the elite high school sports world, falling prey to comparisons is easy to do but some would say it speaks to low self-esteem.
In a well-researched article at psychalive.org, Dr. Kristin Neff argues that there is a problem with society’s focus on high self-esteem. The problem is that this focus involves measuring oneself against others, rather than paying attention to one’s intrinsic value.
He states, “Our competitive culture tells us we need to be special and above average to feel good about ourselves, but we can’t all be above average at the same time.”
In this sense, searching for self-worth by constantly comparing ourselves to others means to always be fighting a losing battle. As Dr. Neff says, “There is always someone richer, more attractive, or successful than we are. And even when we do manage to feel self-esteem for one golden moment, we can’t hold on to it. Our sense of self-worth bounces around like a ping-pong ball, rising and falling in lock-step with our latest success or failure.”
The enlightening article continues, “Furthermore, studies now show that basing one’s self-worth on external factors is actually harmful to one’s mental health. One study at the University of Michigan found that college students who base their self-worth on external sources (including academic performance, appearance and approval from others) reported more stress, anger, academic problems and relationship conflicts. They also had higher levels of alcohol and drug use, as well as more symptoms of eating disorders. The same study found that students who based their self-worth on internal sources, not only felt better, they also received higher grades and were less likely to use drugs and alcohol or to develop eating disorders.”
So much that speaks to reducing self-defeating comparisons is to focus on self-achieving goals that have no connection to others. You are unique so your goals should be unique to you.
Too, we should all accept that there is nothing that we can do about being imperfect. All human beings are flawed so in a sense a continual quest to compare yourself to others is to try and attain perfection, a word only found in the dictionary and a promise found in the Bible that is not under our control either.
Our self-esteem, or how we value ourselves as a person, affects our mind, body and relationships.
Although you might not be aware of it, your self-esteem influences your life every day—the choices you make, the way you feel in new situations, and how you appear to other people. Positive self-esteem is both a cause and a result of healthy living. Just as you can learn to change unhealthy habits, you can take steps to improve your self-esteem.
The first step is to stop comparing yourself to others.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, femcompetitor.com, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.