Successful people compare themselves to others
to compare makes unhappy - what you instead can do
This year I am celebrating my 15-year television-free anniversary. I don't have a TV in my household. And although I don't miss out on the flicker box, I am always curious when I visit my parents. Only recently it happened again: I sank down on the comfortable couch in my parents' house and zapped through the program.
I was downright shocked by what was presented to me between the storylines of the individual programs.
Perfection as far as the eye can see. Immediately I got a feeling similar to the one that sometimes spreads when scrolling on Instagram. "Am I doing something wrong?" Asked my inner voice after this intense TV evening.
Fortunately, the conscious part of me immediately noticed what was going on and stopped the sabotaging thoughts that were in the process of comparing me to the perfect advertising characters. Instead, I picked up a book and just before going to sleep I thought of three things that make me grateful and happy.
Compare - I get off badly
When I distance myself from the media and other means of comparison after an evening like this, I realize that almost every kind of comparison is an attack on my self-worth and my satisfaction. Because by comparing a intellectual competition. Nobody wants to be a loser - so we try with all our might to become more beautiful, better and more successful.
But is that bad? Isn't healthy ambition the key to success? I mean yes. And no at the same time.
Discipline and determination are important. Fair comparative values can spur us on. Often, however, we do not compare ourselves fairly, which leads to frustration and, as a result, to weakened self-esteem.
Reasons why comparisons don't work
- Each of us is unique. Our way of speaking, thinking, moving, acting and our appearance are unique in this world. When we try to compare ourselves to others and their looks, achievements or successes, in most cases we fail. We are unique - nobody would think of comparing works of art with one another
- Lazy comparisons. A successful entrepreneur likes to compare himself to the market leader - but not to his neighbor, whose company is far less profitable than his own. The mother of two likes to compare herself to the neighbor, who is in great shape despite three kids, never freaks out and is always loving. But she doesn't compare herself to her mother, who has a 30-hour job, who never wears make-up for lack of time, often serves ready meals and whose figure reveals that she does almost no sport. So it's no wonder that we usually get off badly when comparing.
- Those who constantly compare themselves quickly become perfectionists. I know that myself from my own painful experience. In the meantime I find perfection anything but desirable. Apart from the fact that "being perfect" does not make you particularly likeable, it often means that we do not realize our goals and dreams. Why this? Perfectionists look for the perfect solution both for tasks and in private life. Because it is difficult or impossible to find, time goes by, and at the end of their days these people often say: "Oh, I would have had back then ... If only I were ..." etc. Therefore: rather do it than perfect!
Be proud instead of comparing - strengthen your self-worth
In short: comparisons sabotage our self-worth. An exception is the following comparison, which can even be helpful for personal growth: When we contrast our former self with today's self and focus on progress, we usually discover a lot of reasons to be proud of ourselves. The following questions can be helpful:
- What have you achieved so far?
- What can and do you know today - in contrast to before?
- Which experiences have made you stronger, more mature or wiser?
So let's trust our individuality: There are authors whose spelling is extremely poor, artists without any training, models with gaps between their teeth, moderators who do not speak without an accent, and cooks who have no idea about grandmother's basic recipes. And yet many of these people are successful. Often precisely because of their apparent quirks. One thing is certain: we are all priceless unique items.
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