Updated: Aug 17
I wish I could have… I wish I could do… I wish I could be…
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That has been absolutely true for me. I also believe comparison is a thief of productivity.
Have you found yourself looking at your life and feeling like you don’t measure up? This is so easy to do in a social media age, where everyone is consistently posting the highlight reels of their life. It can be easy to find ourselves thinking our life “isn’t as great” as their life. We find ourselves wishing, wanting and hoping for a reality that we are not living in. The truth is, you don’t even know if they are truly living the life you think they are.
This does not only occur in the online world, it also occurs in our day to day interactions. It can become easy to envy what other people have, or are creating. What do you do when you find yourself in an unhealthy form of comparison? How do you shift? When we lust after someone else’s life we miss out on our own. It steals the present moment that is open for us to enjoy to the fullest. The moment you are in will always be better than wishing you were somewhere else. You can not simultaneously long to be somewhere else while being 100% present in the moment you are living. To get you one step closer to where you want to be, what can you do with what you have and where you are? Avoid comparison to what someone else may be creating. What is the vision for your life by your design in alignment with who you were created to be?
You can use this to motivate you or you can allow this to stifle you. Comparison that runs unchecked is an issue.
There are other directions in which we may compare ourselves. Have you ever found yourself comparing your life to someone else’s in a way where you’ve gotten all up on your high horse because you do more than they do? Sometimes when we compare ourselves to others, we can begin to allow our ego to inflate what we create because of how we perceive it compares to others. This is just as false of a reality as comparison is in the other direction.
Jim Stovall brilliantly said, “Every time you think you have arrived you are just comparing yourself to the wrong people.” I don’t know about you, but when I compare myself I lower the standard I have for myself. I justify and defend my limitations instead of my capabilities. I lower the bar. We sometimes give ourselves a way out by playing the game of life below what we are capable of.
The problem with both of these forms of comparison is; you can’t see someone else’s life from all angles. You do not have the elevation to know everything that is going on behind the scenes. Just because someone else is doing something, it doesn’t mean it is working for them. It also doesn’t mean they are producing the life you say you want.
Many times people want to trade one area of their life for one area of another person's life. One slice does not represent the big picture. They want the result without the journey. The result isn’t sustainable without the muscle it took to get it. What did they walk through to get there? What do they deal with as a result of that opportunity?
The only standard that actually allows you to gauge your progress is: you compared to you.
I don’t know that we can ever fully release ourselves from comparison. Intrinsically, we are judgmental beings. And, if that is the case, ensure you are comparing yourself to the right people.
All that being said, I do believe that we can keep our comparison in check. We can become aware of our feelings and emotions in such a way that we can make conscious choices with our comparisons instead of allowing them to run on autopilot. An incredible tool to leverage when dealing with comparison is a tool we teach in Personal Mastery called Fact/Meaning. If you have not yet taken the opportunity to attend Personal Mastery, allow this to be your encouragement to get yourself to a workshop so you can leverage the tools you will receive there. Kimberly Zink often speaks to the power of being able to look at 1 situation 5 different ways. What if every time you compare yourself to someone else, you could look at the same situation from 5 different vantage points? Wouldn’t you experience more liberty and freedom?
My life has become infinitely better after I accepted my personal judgement of myself and others do not have to create my reality. Every day we all have the God given gift of choice, how will you use it today?