On the surface, comparing yourself to others seems a healthy activity. It is the process of measuring accomplishments and setbacks to others for the purpose of determining how well we are doing in the scheme of things. In theory, it’s a great evaluative tool.
Generally speaking, there are two types of comparisons that people make: upward comparisons- comparing ourselves to others who are better than we are- and downward comparisons- comparing ourselves to those who are not as proficient as we are at a given task. This process could be invaluable provided that the feedback we offer to ourselves is constructive and non judgmental in nature. Whether upward or downward, comparison has the potential to provide the push necessary to both stay on track and move forward in a productive way. For some, it is the driving force that shifts them to the next level.
Don’t Devalue Yourself
Seems harmless, right? Well…not so much. Comparing yourself to someone else is like devaluing the truth of who you are. We all have unique experience with even more unique ways of navigating those experiences. Just as two planes leave the hanger headed for the same destination one direct, the other connecting no person’s path is exactly like anyone else’s. The layover does not make the trip less valuable; it just takes a different route.
Comparison at its core is a way of determining one person’s experience as either less important or wrong or more meaningful or right. Typically, financial status is the means by which we evaluate the rightness or wrongness.
Society has tricked us into believing that there are very few ways to success and if those ways are abandoned, true success cannot come. We instinctively know that this is not true. There are just way too many examples of people who have lived on their own terms and have made it. Even “making it” is relative. What does that term really mean?
What brings joy to one person will only serve as a hindrance to someone else’s success. We must trust ourselves and the eternal wisdom of God to divinely guide each of us to a completely fulfilled reality. Life is meant to be lived joyously and more importantly on purpose. How can that be done if we have accepted someone else’s purpose and life plan as our own? It’s easily done; especially, if the person that we are comparing ourselves to is someone who we respect.
Enjoy “Getting There”
Recently, I was watching Super Soul Sunday on OWN and the co-founder of Whole Food’s grocery chain was being interview. Like many of Oprah’s guests, he decided to do what he loved and set his intention to have fun doing it. Even in the face of his parents’ disappointment, he decided to live his truth and the rest is history. I would imagine that he would have become a wealthy man even if he had chosen to do it by other means. My point is that he may not have had a very happy journey there.
Even “getting there” is misleading. It implies that you get to a place in life where all is well and life is smooth sailing from that destination forward. Sounds promising, right? Wrong. There is never a point where the ebb and flow of life is no longer. The contrast of up and down is what makes life exciting. The truth is, all is as it should be right now. An even more exciting truth is that you are a creative being who can -at any point- begin to allow health, wealth, and well-being to flow in your life.
I suggest giving up on unproductive process of comparing our life’s journey to anyone else. Take a moment to own who you are, the choices that you have made and move forward happily. Remember to celebrate and cultivate the things that you do well. If you don’t do something well…well, hire someone else to do it. This life is an extraordinary gift. Don’t squander it!