Have you ever compared yourself or your results to someone else?
It happens so subtly we usually don’t pick up on it until it’s too late and every little negative emotion has manifested itself into unproductivity.
Sometimes, we fool ourselves by saying things like “I just want to get an idea” or “I want mine to be perfect so I’m looking for examples.”
And usually it goes down hill from there.
We find ourselves comparing EVERYTHING!
Comparison is normal and everyone does it. It’s how our brain operates and processes the world. Now that we know that, we have to be more mindful of how we handle it—to make sure it is productive because if not, it will get us!
Comparison is a Sneaky Beast!
Comparison has been rearing it’s ugly little head a lot lately so I thought I’d share some examples that just recently came up!
Even I Struggled with Comparing Myself to Others
Earlier this week, I had a call with one of my clients who struggled with publishing a video because it wasn’t “perfect” like the videos she’d seen on YouTube and oh my, could I relate!
I’m in HUNDREDS of Facebook groups—literally! So when I finally decided to launch my business, I was so excited to hop into the group and announce my business! After looking at several people’s comments, I found myself going down the rabbit hole—looking at how eloquently they introduced themselves, how beautiful their websites were, lead magnets, professional photos, etc.
I realized just how unprepared I really was! What was I thinking? How could I ever compare or compete on their level? So I fell back. I stopped participating in Facebook groups but it didn’t stop me from lurking on other people’s pages. As soon as I saw someone with my title, I just HAD to find out more about them and what they were doing.
So I kept myself busy revamping my website, lead magnets and everything that didn’t make me money so I could at least say I was working on my business. Funny how that works, right? None of that matters if no one sees it.
I didn’t feel comfortable showing my work so I backed off.
People were tagging me in posts looking for referrals and either I purposely took too long to respond or found a way to mess it up. It was horrible! I didn’t think I was worthy and couldn’t consider myself a real business owner. I didn’t think I deserved to sit at their table. They were perfect. I was a hot mess! I can’t begin to tell you how many opportunities I missed out on!
Lesson learned: if you are putting REAL value out there and truly helping your target audience, they don’t give a damn about how pretty it looks!Natalie Butler – Your Glow Up Coach
I Found Myself on the Other Side of Comparison
Fast forward to now, I shared my personal journey on how I choose to be happy as I’m becoming healthier. I’ve lost over 50lbs so far! Yes, I’ve lost over 50lbs! I shared my story in a private Facebook group, you can see the post on my public page here.
Most comments congratulated me or thanked me for spreading positivity; however, someone commented and wanted to know how long it took me to lose 50lbs.
Now before you think no big deal. Really think about why she wanted to know. How does knowing how long it took me to lose 50lbs change anything?
Do you think she’s asking everyone just for conversation starter? No! In the back of her mind, she’s going to plant the seed of how long it should take to lose weight.
Is Comparison Always a Bad Thing?
Of course not! Comparison can be healthy at times.
Some people can look at comparison as pure inspiration and take action!
Unfortunately, for many of us, comparison goes deeper and can become very problematic if we don’t play close attention.
Therefore, it is important for us to realize the motivation behind it and catch it before it’s too late!
Problems with comparing yourself to others:
- Fear of beginning or never starting in the first place
- Sets unrealistic expectations
- Not showing up as your authentic self
- Give up or take your eyes off your goal
- Emotional rollercoaster: low-self confidence, depression, envy, etc.
- Going broke trying to keep up with everyone else
- Robs you of the joy from your own journey
Comparison Can Stop You from Get Started
How many times have you stopped yourself from getting started because everything just wasn’t right or perfect?
Thought about everything you “needed” based upon what you saw someone else had?
Talked yourself out of filming a YouTube video because you didn’t have the best camera, mic or recording space?
Have you ever told yourself you could “never do it like her”, “she looks so flawless”, “she’s so perfect”, “she never messes up?”
You know one thing they all had in common? The person you were comparing yourself to did the most important thing—they got started! They didn’t start off perfect! Ask them and I bet they’ll say they’re still not perfect BUT they became better over time.
Stop comparing your starting point to their mid-point or maybe, even their final stop!
Comparison Sets Unrealistic Expectations
Expectations can actually be pretty bad in some cases. Most of the times, if you’re comparing yourself to others, your expectations can be very harmful.
Let’s look at the example above where the young lady asked how long it took me to lose 50lbs. Seems like an honest question, right? But what do you normally do with that information? Create a timeline or expectation! Input yourself into the timeline!
Say things like “oh, if she could lose 50lbs in 2 months, I should be able to get to this size by this day.”
What happens if you miss the mark? You beat yourself up! You feel bad! Maybe even give up!
Not realizing there are so many factors in someone else’s success story and by even trying to align yourself with their story, you are setting yourself up for failure!
Using the same weight loss example, my metabolism is different, my body type is different. my diet is different, my activity level is different, my age is different, my health history is different, hell even my bodily functions are different!
Don’t set yourself up by trying to match someone else’s timeline!
Comparison Stops You from Being YOU
Have you ever heard the saying “success leaves clues?” I’m sure you have and while there may be some truth to it—like everything in life, moderation is key!
Sometimes, we find ourselves imitating those who have success. Thinking if this is what worked from them, it should work for us too, right?
Even if that does work, hardly will it work for us because it’s hard being someone else! When you don’t feel true to yourself, you feel forced. And how often will you show up with 100% effort to do something that feels forced?
Or if we do continue to imitate them, we get discouraged because we’re not getting their results. Guess what? They have success because they are them! You are YOU! We do not need another one of the them. We need to see YOU so start showing up as your unique self and see how the tables turn!
You do not have to be them. There is an audience for everyone!
Comparison Takes Your Eyes Off YOUR Goal
I get it. It is easy to get excited about someone else’s journey. Some people are awesome storytellers. Some people are just so captivating! Some people make things look so exciting and you just want to stay tuned in!
It’s really easy to lose track! Sometimes we become so focused and enamored on what someone else is doing that we spend our time studying them.
The more time we spend studying them, the less time we have to focus on the things we need to do.
Or worse, we get caught up in chasing the shiny object—trying to do what they’re doing. Not realizing what works for one may not work for the other and that you never needed to change what you were doing, you just needed to keep doing what you’re doing!Tweet
Comparison Leads You on an Emotional Rollercoaster
Unfortunately, too many of us have been on this ride—myself indeed.
One minute you’re feeling fine and proud of yourself then you look over and see that you haven’t accomplished as much as someone else.
You become sad, angry, or frustrated.
Sometimes you even feel hopeless and begin to blame everyone else or “the world” for having it out against you.
It’s not healthy.
It’s a horrible cycle and it stops you from seeing all the wonderful progress you’ve made.
Comparison Depletes Your Pockets
Unfortunately, tying back into setting expectations, we often look at other people as the “standard.”
The standard of how we should show up. What we should wear. How we should act. Where we should hang out. Buying things we never wanted.
Our definition of success becomes their persona.
So we spend money we don’t necessarily have to look like the perfect image.
Comparison Robs You of Your Joy
It is true that comparison is the thief of joy.
When you compare yourself to others and even yourself, sometimes you find yourself downplaying or demeaning all the progress you’ve made because you’re not at that level or the level you think they’ve achieved.
Think about how many times you did not celebrate a victory because you were too busy thinking about the next step and how you can reach the next level by a certain point or time.
Or has someone ever given you a compliment but you couldn’t accept it because you subconsciously thought about how someone else has accomplished so much and you haven’t?
It’s not fun, right? You worked for it! You deserve to celebrate it!
Comparison to Your Superhero-Self
Sometimes it’s not a specific person or group of people that we find ourselves comparing ourselves to.
Sometimes it’s a version of us that we have created over the years as a result of watching several people, listening to family members, etc.
Did you ever hear something similar when growing up “you come from a long line of smart, businesswomen”, “we’ve always done things this way”, “by the time I was 21 years old, I’d accomplish this, this, and this?” Did they just flat out told you what you’d amount to once you were older?
Or maybe as a child, you created this life where you’d meet the person of your dreams, raise three beautiful children, own the most expensive car and have a certain career by the time you were 23 👀
You see the problem with comparing yourself to this imaginary character is it’s a constant battle. You can’t just turn them off like a social media influencer or stranger. It’s been engrained in you for probably most of your life. And because you have these beliefs, you may subconsciously compare yourself and every decision you make to a person who’s never even done it!
Comparison to Your Past Self
Oftentimes I see people recommend that you reflect on the past and look at how far you’ve come. It can be very productive if you’ve overcome a lot of obstacles.
Unfortunately, this can be a little slippery depending on your past. For example, if you consider yourself to be in a worse position now than you were previously, you can potentially open a hole that’s hard to get out.
This could turn into depression, resentment, regret and a host of other negative emotions.
An example would be someone who was highly successful and then the economy crashed, lost everything, filed bankruptcy and still struggling to remain afloat now.
Be careful not to dwell on the “could’ve”, “should’ve” or “would’ve.” In order to experience growth, we have to, of course, acknowledge and accept the past; however, we have to begin to plan for our future.
What to do instead of compare yourself?
This is going to be a little challenging, I know!
For many of us, comparison has become a way of life. We don’t even know we’re doing it!
This is when self-awareness comes in. Pay attention to your emotions. Did you notice a sudden drop in mood or insecurities?
Productive things to do instead of compare to others:
- Remove it or limit exposure – actually separate yourself from whatever it is: in-person, online, tv, social media, etc. Comparison can play such a toll on our emotions that it can be crippling!
- Social media detox – most of check social media before we even get out of the bed! Social media is usually only the highlights of someone’s life! They control what they want you to see! And with so many entrepreneurs, small business owners, and influencers, your newsfeed can be full of “beautiful” stories. Take a break!
- Realize perfection is a myth – I’m a firm believer that perfection is a myth! Nothing in life is perfect! Even computers have errors! Any time you catch yourself thinking that the person you’re watching is perfect, remember that! Any time you find yourself debating if starting or continuing because it’s not perfect, remind yourself: perfection is a myth!
- Practice gratitude – it’s easy to take things for granted and focus on all the things we don’t have when looking at all the things someone else has. Instead of beating yourself up, either write down or recite all the things you do have and be grateful! There are plenty of people who wish they had what you do! Do not take it for granted! If you want more, you have to be grateful for what you currently have and you will be blessed with more.
- Embrace your journey – don’t shortchange yourself. Be proud that you are taking steps to work towards your goal. The end destination isn’t nearly as important as the journey. Look at how you’re becoming better, the things you’ve learned and the experiences you’ve enjoyed. Do not rob yourself of that joy!
- Celebrate your victories – I’m a big believer in celebrating. When you’re feeling low, reflect on the things you’ve accomplished and celebrate! Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that you can and have already done it!
- Take a walk or go for a drive – Walking can be very relaxing and mind-clearing. Get out and enjoy nature!
- Read a book – reading is food for the brain and soul. Whether it’s a book on self-development or fiction, it doesn’t matter! Reading is a nice escape and it also sparks creativity so who knows? You may solve a problem just by reading!
- Meditate/yoga – both are very relaxing and teaches you how to relax, free your mind and just “flow.” If you’re looking for peace, I highly recommend! You can even meditate daily to help isolate your thoughts and release stress.
- Paint/draw – creative outlets can be so freeing. It allows your creative mind to explore the possibilities and provides a space for you to express yourself.
- Exercise – not only is exercising good for your heart and health but it helps to improve your mood! Pick a fun exercise and see how accomplished you feel once completing!
- Dance – get moving! Whether you think you have rhythm or not, move! Put on your favorite song and just let loose!
- Garden – another relaxing activity that allows you to ground yourself and connect with nature.
- Get a massage – pamper yourself with a nice, soothing massage.
- Get a manicure or pedicure – a nice foot and hand massage always goes a long way plus isn’t it time for a color change?
- Take a relaxing bath – light a few candles, put on some soft music and just relax. You’ll feel like a new woman!
- Journal – journaling is so effective! Not only does it allow you to release pent up energy but you can also journal things you’d like and if you believe in manifestation, you can start to script your dream life!
- Look for areas of improvement – now this can be a little tricky but try to focus objectively. Try to limit your emotions and think about why do you feel this certain way. Is there something that you can improve? Do you see what’s missing in your process?
Remember one thing: we live in a time that teaches us to “fake it until you make it.” Most of what you see probably isn’t real anyway. Most people will not tell you EVERYTHING. You only see what they WANT you to see! They’re probably wishing they had what you do! And for most of those “overnight” successes, they’ve been grinding at it for YEARS unnoticed, you’re just now seeing them 😉
Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember, you can do anything. Stay focused.
Your Glow Up Coach
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