Do you ever feel like you’re not quite as far along on your life’s journey as those around you? You’re not alone. It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap sometimes. However, if you start feeling like this regularly it can be a problem. Comparing your life and journey to others is a sure way to chip away at your happiness and hinder yourself from living your life the the fullest. So stop comparing yourself to others; live your journey!
Stop comparing yourself-We’re all on different journeys
There are many reasons to not compare yourself to others. You’ve heard a lot of them before and they’re all true.
“You’re comparing your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.”
“You’re comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.”
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
While these statements are all true, they’re not necessarily effective on their own.
All of these statements work off of assumptions that the people we’re comparing to have, or had, it just as tough as we do and that should be comforting. But because we don’t know them, or maybe never experienced their “beginning” or “behind-the-scenes,” our minds may not take comfort in these phrases.
It’s easy for us to see that those things are true, but much more difficult to really believe them. If we don’t really believe them, they don’t really help us stop comparing.
They can also somewhat suggest that we’re all on the same path, just at varying points and with difficulties we may not be exposed to. That’s simply not true. We’re likely not even on the same path.
Here are a few reasons to back up those lofty sayings and help you feel okay about being in a different place, having a difficult time, or just being different altogether. Because the truth is, that’s what it comes down to. We’re all just different!
You limit yourself.
If you’re comparing yourself to someone else you are limiting yourself. Don’t stifle your life’s journey by eliminating choices that go against the grain.
If you compare your progress in life with where your best friend is, what options might you be eliminating for yourself?
Maybe she’s married, with three kids, works 40 hours a week in a high paying job she loves, and has an amazing body from hitting the gym five times a week. You look at your vastly different life and wonder, why can’t that be me? Why am I so far behind?
Are you really behind? Maybe you wouldn’t be happy with that high paying job if you had it. Maybe you know you really hate the gym and have no interest in going. Frankly, if you’re healthy, you don’t need it, just stay active.
If you had what she had, would you really be happier? Or do you just think you would be because she is?
If you’d love being a freelancer that gets to spend more time with your kids, then do it! Maybe she’d hate being at home so much and likes to go to a job for a break and a sense of personal accomplishment. Maybe she needs that.That’s fine.
If you don’t need that, don’t put yourself in that box and limit your options because you see someone else being happy with the standard norm of “success.”
We’re all designed differently.
We’re born with and cultivate different skills, interests and gifts.
That friend you envy and who makes you feel bad about yourself because you’re not working full-time, killing it as a mom, and in the gym five times a week is just doing what she’s designed to to. (There’s also a possibility she’s not as happy as she appears and is stuck in the same trap you are, but that’s an entirely different topic for another time.)
Perhaps she doesn’t have the same drive, desire, or even skills, you do Those that are necessary to sing “Wheels on the Bus,” watch Daniel Tiger on loop and make backyard bird feeders. Because yes, that does take skill. It also requires a certain level of interest that not every mom has.
And maybe you don’t have the same drive, desire, or skills to be a boss in the corporate world. That’s an entirely different set of talents and interests. Personally, I hated it. Getting out of it is what put me on the path to living the life I am now, which I love.
We might all be humans, but we don’t all come equipped for the same job.
Don’t expect to take the same path as someone else who is probably enormously different from you.
We all have different goals.
What is your end goal? Where are you headed?
Do the journeys of others whom you compare yourself to align with your destination?
If not, you’re wasting your time. You’re literally wishing for a path that leads somewhere you aren’t trying to go. Don’t do that! You can’t make pizza crust with cookie dough. (Well, you probably could, but it would not be good, which is the point.)
If their journeys do align with your destination, ask yourself a few questions before the comparison wheels start spinning.
Is it the EXACT destination or just something close? Because even a slight difference could mean a different path to follow.
Even if it is the exact same goal you have, right on the nose, you still have different skills, interests, talents, and resources. Your path will be different. There is not one correct path.
Think about it. We can all get to the same vacation destination different ways. We can fly, take a car, a train, or a bus. We can hitchhike, take a combination of the above, or some other way that I have even thought of because that’s not where my skill lies. None of us would be more correct than the another.
You are hindering your journey and crushing your happiness by comparing yourself to someone else. You’re holding yourself back by comparing your journey to someone else’s.
You are unique. So stop comparing yourself!
You have different goals than others and that’s okay! Don’t get distracted by what others have if it’s not even what you truly want. That’s the quickest way to lose your joy, and yourself.
Remember next time you find yourself comparing and feeling bad about where you are in life that what you’re comparing yourself to is something vastly different than what you want.
Find your goal, follow your own path and live your own journey. Your life will be so much more fulfilling and joyful.
Life your life, in your way, not someone else’s.