Have you ever struggled with comparison?
If you’re anything like me, you have.
And even if you’re nothing like me, I’m willing to bet everything I’ve got that you have too.
Comparison is so common, that it’s almost like we just accept that it’s supposed to be part of our lives.
But, sadly, that’s not true. At least not the self-degrading type of comparison that makes us feel bad about ourselves and our lives (which, by the way, is the most common type of comparison).
Because it’s something that we’ve all struggled with, and something that can block you from creating and living an UNCOMMON life, I thought it was the perfect topic to dive into.
We’re going to chat about why we compare, 3 truths about comparison, and how to overcome comparison.
This is going to be loaded with tons of value. So, buckle up, and if you’re ready to learn how to overcome comparison, then keep reading.
Why do we compare
At the end of the day, regardless of what form comparison takes or what it looks like in our lives, it all stems from the same issue – a lack of security and self belief.
Think about it, whenever you compare yourself to someone else, what are you essentially doing? You’re communicating to yourself that you desire their result, but secretly (or not so secretly) don’t believe you can have it.
That’s why, the vast majority of the time, when we compare ourselves to others, we end up spinning out and staying stuck, rather than taking inspired action.
If you truly believed that you could have the result of the person you’re comparing yourself to, it would immediately push you into inspired action, rather than scrolling through their entire social media feed, binging Netflix, or checking out in some other way.
On the other hand, when you compare yourself to someone you’re “better than” or “further ahead of” you’re essentially doing the same thing. You’re validating yourself based on the status or level of those around you, rather than finding it within.
In other words, any time you’re comparing yourself to others, it’s not actually about them. It’s about your lack of belief in yourself and lack of acceptance of yourself.
Now that we know that, let’s discuss some truths about comparison.
3 truths about comparison
Truth 1: Comparison, NOT conditions, create unhappiness
In his podcast episode on comparison, Ed Mylett said those exact words, and blew my mind.
If you think about it, it makes complete sense.
It’s comparison to others, NOT our conditions, that make us unhappy. For example, you may be struggling financially. That is simply a fact. But, that alone doesn’t cause unhappiness.
It’s not until you start comparing yourself to a sibling, neighbor, or friend, who is doing well financially, that you start to feel unhappy about your financial situation.
That’s how life is in all areas. Life, and everything in it, is neither inherently good or bad – it just is, until we compare it to something else.
Take size for example. We don’t know whether something is “big” or “small” until we compare it to something else. You don’t know if you’re “rich” or “poor” until you compare your financial situation to someone else’s.
Comparison provides the lens through which we either feel good or feel bad about some circumstance in our lives.
Problem is, that means our sense of wellbeing is always outside of us.
So, if you’re feeling unhappy with some circumstance in your life, figure out where the comparison is, and how it’s not serving you.
Rather than focusing on how much you’re overweight, broke, or dumb compared to those around you, formulate a plan to change your situation based on your definition of success.
Once you do that, spend your time pursuing that definition. That will eliminate the need for comparison.
Truth 2: Wherever there’s unhappiness, there’s comparison
Like I just mentioned above, comparison provides context. It gives validation. It’s the lens through which we give meaning to everything in our lives – it makes good good, or bad bad.
I alluded to it above, but because of that, any time that we’re unhappy in life, comparison can be found somewhere. (assuming there isn’t some medical condition causing the unhappiness)
It has to be. If you weren’t comparing yourself to others, what reasoning would you have to be unhappy?
For example, no one has ever looked in the mirror, without the presence of comparison to someone else, and been ashamed of their body.
Nor has anyone ever been disappointed with their financial situation without comparing it to others.
Think about… Try to think of some negative circumstance you have in your life. Something you really want to change.
Why do you feel badly about it?
You know the answer…
That’s right, comparison.
It has to be there somewhere. Because, again, you wouldn’t feel bad about some circumstance in your life if you weren’t comparing yourself to others in some way.
So, like I said above, if you’re unhappy in any area of your life, find the comparison, and figure out how to effectively deal with it.
Truth 3: SOME comparison can be good
Alright… Now I know it seems like I just got off of a comparison bashing session. And in some ways I did.
So, this may seem like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth. But stick with me, and I promise it’ll make sense.
While I do believe that the vast majority of comparison is negative and unhealthy, SOME comparison can be good.
And here’s how.
When you are comparing yourself to the version of yourself that you desire to be like, it can have positive results.
The reason why, is that this sort of comparison is aspirational in nature, is future focused, and is internal.
Let’s unpack each of these real quick.
You may argue that comparing yourself to others is aspirational, because you’re doing it out of desire to have whatever result they have.
And I wouldn’t argue with you on that.
The problem is, comparing yourself to someone else means that you’re desiring THEIR result. Which means you haven’t done the work necessary to know if that’s a result you truly want in your life.
That’s the reason I’m so big on writing your own definition of success. Because it’s rooted in your values, and cuts out the need for comparison to decide what you want.
Rather than comparing, do the deep work necessary to find out what you want in your life. And when you do that, you won’t have to compare.
One of the worst forms of comparison, especially as we age, is comparing ourselves to past versions of ourselves.
Our bodies don’t look like they used to. We don’t have the same confidence our younger selves did. And life and its responsibilities has a way of transforming our financial situations.
So many people get caught in this vicious cycle of comparing themselves to their former versions in hopes of going back or regaining some circumstance from their past.
What’s the problem with that? Well, unless you’ve discovered some sort of time travelling device that you’re keeping super covert, going back in time just isn’t possible.
So, rather than going into compare and despair by comparing yourself to some former version of you, look forward to the version of you that you want to be, and seek to become that.
When you do, that’ll take you out of that self-loathing funk, and kick you into motivational badassery where you can hunt your best self down.
The biggest reason why I believe the only positive form of comparison is one where you’re comparing yourself to the best version of yourself, is because it is internal.
What I mean is, like I mentioned earlier, most comparison is to those around us. Or, said differently, it’s external.
Well, that means that we’re seeking outside validation from someone or something based on the results we have or don’t have in our lives.
But, when you look to your future, best self as the source of comparison, it flips the script, and makes the comparison an inside game.
It’s not you being jealous of someone else’s results, and secretly feeling like you can’t have them.
It’s you owning that you have the results you actually desire inside already, and that you just need to step into them.
That’s a completely different place to be. It’s a place of ownership and power to create the life you truly want to live without need to compare yourself to anyone.
How to overcome comparison
Own your inner badass
I don’t know if you can tell by now, but I think you’re pretty awesome! In fact, when we’re not walking around being all poor pitiful me, I suck and my life sucks, self-loathing jackasses, we’re all freakin’ awesome!
I truly do believe that!
But do you?
The answer to that question is what is standing between you and your ability to break free from comparison.
And here’s a truth bomb for you… the people you spend your time comparing yourself to, believe that about themselves.
That’s how they got to where they are in the first place.
No, they may never admit it. Hell, they may not have even realized it at first. But, there’s no one in this world who has achieved something great, something worth others comparing and being envious of, that didn’t have confidence in themselves.
So, if you want to transform your life, and break free from comparison once and for all, you need to own the fact that YOU ARE A FREAKIN’ BADASS!
Create your own definition of success
If you pay attention to nothing else in this article, pay attention to this one!
I firmly believe, like deep in my bones believe, that the reason most people are unhappy and comparing in life, is because they’re pursuing someone else’s definition of success.
Growing up, we’re taught what success “should” look like for us.
And what do you think that definition is rooted in? If you said fear, lack, and comparison, you win! (I don’t have a prize for you, but you can give yourself a sweet high five and pretend it’s me on the other end!)
So, we grow up with this fear-based, self-limiting definition of success, yet have the nerve to wonder why we’re unfulfilled. Why we’re jealous of others.
Newsflash, you weren’t meant to live a fear-based, self-limiting life that’s riddled with comparison.
You were meant to thrive damnit! You are meant to live in abundance. You are meant to create the life that YOU desire, not settle for what someone told you your life is supposed to look like.
The way I like to say it is, if you’re not careful, you’ll should all over your life. Meaning that, you’ll settle for the mediocre, fear-driven life that everyone else reserved for you.
If you really want to change your life, and start living that UNCOMMON life you desire, write your own definition of success. And once you do, spend your days going after that.
Putting it all together
I know I threw a lot at you here.
But, I needed to. Comparison is that big of an issue.
Here’s the deal though… You now know why we compare ourselves to others, 3 truths about comparison, and how to overcome it.
At this point, you’ve got no excuses to continue to stay stuck in comparison mode.
You’ve got the tools necessary to change your life in big ways, and live according to what makes you happy and sets your soul on fire.
Only question left is, what are you going to choose to do?
Stay stuck living in compare and despair and settling for a life you don’t really like? Or, own your awesomeness, decide what you want your UNCOMMON life to look like, and spend your time creating it?
The choice is yours!
Helping people overcome comparison and and start taking accountability for creating the life they truly want to live is a huge part of my work as a coaching. If you’re ready to do those exact things, then let’s chat. You can click here to book your free consultation call.