As humans, we tend to compare ourselves to others. From our looks to our accomplishments, it seems natural to use others as a measuring stick.
However, that might not be the best approach.
After all, if you are always comparing yourself to others, there is a good chance that you will come up short. Instead of comparing yourself to others, consider comparing yourself to you.
Problems with Comparing Yourself to Others
Rarely does comparing yourself to others result in feelings of happiness. There have been times when I wished that I looked more like my sister, or that I could write as well as someone else. This is depressing — especially if you find yourself wanting.
And, even if you look at others and think that you are somehow “better,” where is the true satisfaction in that? You might be “better” than someone else, but there is likely someone else who is still better or has more or is something more than you.
Whether you are looking up at someone else, or looking down on someone else, comparing yourself to others is setting up a situation in which you probably can’t win. You either feel bad about yourself all the time, because you don’t “measure up,” or you become arrogant and begin to feel a disconnect from your fellow human beings.
Instead of trying to compare yourself to others, or be like someone else (or try to get them to be as awesome as you are), consider comparing yourself to your own past performance.
Making Progress as a Person
One of the things that I had to learn as I left high school was that making progress as a person isn’t about being “better than” someone else. The best satisfaction comes from improving on your performance, and evolving as a person into the type of human that you want to be.
No, my house isn’t as clean as someone else’s. But I keep it clean enough for my family. I will never be able to swim as fast as an Olympian (well, probably not, since I’m not willing to work for it), but I am improving on my own time. I’m not ever going to weigh as little as my sister does. Hell, I probably won’t ever weigh as little as she does when she’s nine months pregnant, but I’m working on improving my own health, and I’ve made good progress.
We naturally look at others and compare ourselves to them. However, we are likely to find more happiness when we focus more on what we’ve accomplished compared to where we were a few years ago.
It’s one thing to admire someone else for his or her accomplishments, and quite another to make yourself unhappy because you won’t accomplish those same things.
You don’t need to feel bad about where you are at in comparison to others. In reality, all that matters is that you are making progress as a person, and that you are in a better place than you were before.
What do you think? Do you prefer to use your former self as a measuring stick?