“Comparison is the death of joy.”
~ Mark Twain
How much do you hold yourself back or sabotage your own feelings of happiness by comparing your life or your progress to others?
Comparisons can be deadly.
I have known people that have very full, blessed lives that spend most of their time dwelling on the blessings in the lives of others. If you have a roof over your head, good health, enough to eat and a person or two to love, you have a pretty full life. But if your neighbor has a much bigger house, a much newer car and the ability to take exotic vacations, you may feel like the blessings in your life are somehow not enough.
The problem in this case isn’t that you don’t have enough. It’s that you are focusing on what others have and using it as a gauge to make you think your blessings aren’t enough.
Comparisons Can Drive You or Distract You
Of course, in the case of athletes, comparisons can be the driving force that makes them excel. Those who make it to the top are often driven by their competitive spirit, their desire to prove that they really are the best at what they do, or that they can be just a little bit better than their competitors.
On the other hand, dwelling on what your competitors are doing can distract you from your own goals.
What you focus on expands. So if you are focused on what others are doing, especially if you are focused on the chance that you might lose, there’s always a chance you won’t be able to focus on your own goals. Comparisons can distract you from attaining your own best possibilities.
Comparisons Can Be Disabling or Motivating
Comparisons can cripple you, or they can be used to your advantage. As long as you are comparing yourself to those who seem to have more than you do, or to people who seem to have accomplished more than you have, you are probably going to feel bad.
But there are also always those who have less than you do. You probably have more than those who are homeless or those who don’t have the ability to read. If you have a job, you have more than someone who is struggling with unemployment. If you live in a free country, you are more blessed than someone who is living in a war-torn area.
If you came in at fourth place in a race, you did better than the person who came in fifth or last place.
The best way to use comparisons is about your own progress. If you ran faster or swam faster than you did in your last race, you are making progress
You Are OK Just as You Are
Imagine if every tree spent its life comparing itself to the tree next to it. Fortunately for us, trees don’t do that.
They just grow.
Each simply displays its own beauty and its own uniqueness. Each carries out its own unique destiny without being held back by larger trees or showier trees.
You can notice and admire the beauty in someone else without questioning your own or feeling like you have been shortchanged.
You can find the courage and the grace to be your best self.
Michelle Parsons said, “Don’t compare yourself to others…that’s a battle you can never win.”
You are where you are supposed to be, and you are ok exactly as you are.