“Comparison is the thief of joy,” ~ Buddha
Why do we constantly compare ourselves to others? There is comfort in being surrounded by people like us – same city, similar interests, even matching income levels. Then someone starts “doing better” – their business booms, he or she buys a new home, plans a 6 month European break or gets engaged/married/pregnant … and things feel like they change.
Why does this matter? The truth is, it doesn’t. Sure, our peer group is the ultimate reflection of ourselves. We are most like the people we surround ourselves with.
It’s natural to feel that we are not going fast enough, doing well enough, or that we are not talented enough when we see people surpass us in any area of life. Comparison for this reason is the ego at its most unhealthy and destructive. Comparing comes from the mentality of “there is not enough” and “I am not enough”. It feels like sh*t!
The good news is that we can overcome comparison and the illusion of competition it creates.
Here are five ways to do that:
1. Use your energy focusing on what you have, not on what others have. Write a gratitude list and thank the universe for every line. There will be a hundred things on your list other people wish they had, trust me.
2. Remember, life is unpredictable — one day someone else is ahead, another day you will be ahead. Only compare yourself with yourself.
3. Congratulate others – their success does not take away from yours. You can even learn from others’ achievements. Success for others, when perceived correctly, shows us that getting what we want is possible for anyone. I had a friend whose body was transformed with a barre workout – her colleague joined the studio too and benefited from months of research! If she came from a place of comparison rather than a place of curiosity and openness, she would be closed off to this awesome benefit.
4. Have some perspective. Good fortune in one area of someone’s life does not necessarily translate to all areas of their life. We don’t know what is really going on with people and the truth can surprise us. Now I love Katy Perry. At the height of her professional success she confessed to having suicidal thoughts over her divorce. Now I am sure that women everywhere envied this beautiful and powerful woman at a time when she was actually at her lowest. This is why comparison makes no sense — it is selective, exaggerated and unreal.
5. Use the comparison trigger of envy to your advantage. What does it tell you? Maybe something is missing in your life and its time for you to proactively seek it.
Remember, the universe is abundant and wants you to have all that you want.
You block the flow of opportunity and miracles when we focus on other people and resent their accomplishments. Use your emotions and energy to think of what you want to accomplish and get busy doing it.