I know for an absolute fact that comparing yourself to others is the surest way to destroy happiness when setting my own p(e)ace. Knowing this does not make not comparing myself any easier.
We are hard wired to compare ourselves from a young age, even before we are born. Yes, reasonably I know that if for medical purposes and developmental milestones are important to track health so let’s skip to school and grades. The first thing my friends and I did when getting a test or an essay back is to compare grades. If you got a better grade you felt super awesome (admit it). If you got a lower, or god forbid the lowest, grade you felt terrible. You weren’t as smart or as good as your peers. It took me a long time to realize this was not the only way to measure intelligence. I began setting my own p(e)ace with intelligence and grades in grad school…that is how long it affected me.
Comparing myself physically to those around me is another destructive habit to setting my own p(e)ace. I was never the skinny girl but I was never really large either. I floated right in the middle. Not thin and hot but not curvy and proud either; I didn’t belong to either camp. If I am being honest, I did a lot more comparison with the thin, beautiful women. I still do this even though I love most parts of my physical appearance. On a recent trip to Hawaii this was particularly difficult. There were tons of beautiful, thin swim suit models around me and it made me really self conscious to compare myself to them. I workout regularly and I am not the worst eater (not the best either…love my chips). I love my muscle and lean look I have gained in the last few years but it still isn’t up to par with those beautiful skinny women when I compare myself. This is a huge blockade to my p(e)ace.
I would talk about comparing my love life with others but my small but awesome readership knows the story there. Most of the time I don’t feel bad about being single.
Comparing myself with others on a financial level is difficult. I work at a nonprofit so I don’t exactly make a ton of money. I live in southern California and it’s expensive on top of not making a lot. I don’t own a house, I can’t do a lot of fun things most of the time due to lack of funds, and others around me seem to have the money thing figured out. I know I make the choice to work at a nonprofit and make what I make, but I still work really hard to be so poor. It’s kind of embarrassing when I got out with family and can’t ever pick up the check and someone else always does. I truly believe and love what I do, but comparing financials is tough in the career world of setting my own p(e)ace.
So how do I stop comparing myself? The first thing I do is remind myself of all the wonderful things I am and have in my life. When I finally accepted my brand of knowledge is more practical then academic I learned how valuable that is in life, especially at work. When I compare to women who may be more beautiful then I am I remind myself I have a killer booty and how working out makes me happy. That is why I workout, sanity. The nicer body is a benefit to my sanity and stress relief. When I feel behind financially I remind myself this is the choice I made and all the benefits of my work for not only myself but those I serve. There is so much beauty in me and everyone; just look a little harder and shine it up!
What battles do you fight with comparison? How do you overcome them?