The only person to compare yourself with is....YOU

The only person to compare yourself with is....YOU

We can spend our whole lives comparing ourselves to others if we aren't careful.  It begins in school.  We're graded, ranked, compared based on our abilities, skills, talents and for many of us, even our looks. 

"Susie is the best at mathematics."

"Lauren is our top net-baller".

"Andy is the best looking."

"Are you in the top 10%?"

"Are you good at drawing?"

"Emily is our most popular."

These are common things to hear while we are in school, teaching us from a very young age that we are either "good" at something or not.  This dualistic thinking is what sets us all up for a life of comparison and "failure".

Failure to me =

not trying

(because we don't think we're good enough)

When we want to do something, but we decide we aren't "the best" we start to believe that this just ain't our calling. How could our calling be anything we aren't the best at?  So we give up altogether. And that's only if we try at all.

For the people who are the best often they will hold themselves to impossible standards, developing a PERFECTIONIST suit of armour that stops them from trying unless they know they can win. 

Some schools today have caught on to this so they now mark children based on how hard they try, rather than the outcome - giving them more opportunities to improve.

isn't that what we truly want for our kids and for ourselves? Improvement? 

As a recovering perfectionist, I've been self sabotaging like a pro since I was 13 years old. I remember getting straight A's in my first year of high school and thinking to myself, how can I ever beat this? The next 2 years I went through a pattern of not trying and of course saw my straight A's diminishing. What was going wrong?

I also remember in Year 4 participating in a test for a selective school. I got a "thank you for participating".  From that moment I decided I just wasn't smart.  And this belief of not being smart enough has plagued me my entire life - even though to many others who were comparing themselves against me, I was extremely smart. And let me tell you, I am. And so are you.

When we compare ourselves with others we  set ourselves up for failure.

Many people miss out on experiencing the simple joy of doing an activity, because they are so focussed on being the best.  They find it hard to find their purpose or things they're passionate about because they ignore the signs and instead focus on only doing what they are "good" at and trying nothing else. What a loss! 

Rather than doing things to be the best, what if we instead tried activities because WE WANT TO? No outcome involved, just the simple joy of doing it.

For example, perhaps every time you hold a netball you feel lit up and it's as if time stops.  The game brings you so much joy and you feel incredibly inspired by the "superstars" you look up to.  

How amazing!!!! You are enjoying something!! 

You think to yourself: How can I improve my skills? 

Rather than, I'm not as good as "superstar" so I'm going to try something else

This, my friend, is the difference between comparing yourself to others and comparing yourself to... yourself. 

We can't compete with other people. Every single time we try to do that we lose out in some way. It's like comparing "apples and pears". It's like trying to attain the unattainable. We can't ever BE another person. We can only be ourselves. 

So what if we simply compared ourselves to ourselves. What would happen then? Just like the example with netball above, when you compare yourself (as in your past self) to your present self and you notice the growth - that's inspiring. How am I growing? How have I grown? What have I learned? It's so motivating to see our progress. We can also compare our present self to the image we hold of our future self - and this helps to inspire us to TRY. 

What if our schools graded our children simply based on their own progress???? How motivating is that?!

Think of any exercise regime that has ever worked for you, I bet the one's where you've noticed yourself getting stronger, where you've been able to do more reps than the last week rather than beat the top performing bloke in the class - that's the sort of the exercise regime that motivates you to keep going. To keep improving. 

Comparison with others on the other hand, when we are ranked against each other, generally sets us up for a fight we can never win and as you will know from spending any amount of time on social media, for many of us it makes us give up altogether.  No one wants to be the loser. 

But, who is to say that we might not end up being amazing at whatever it is we want to be amazing at? Who is to say that we aren't already amazing? who decides on what amazing even is???

Y O U. 

I despise competing. It doesn't motivate me. However, I am motivated by my own growth. 

And that's why I think holding people to the same standards and beginning the comparison trap in our schools is a sure way to set up our kids for a life of never feeling GOOD ENOUGH and a life of not trying unless they know they can win.

When we don't challenge ourselves with what we aren't good at, how do we learn? How do we refine our skills?

Now, that's failure. 

From now on - join me in taking a comparison detox. Vehemently refuse to compare yourself with anyone except yourself. 

When you find yourself thinking:

"Well, I'm just not as good as x" change this thought to  "How can I do better than my last PB?"  P.S PB = PERSONAL BEST

"I'm not sure I'm going to do a good job at this" becomes "I'm giving this a try because I want to." 

"I'm not good enough" becomes "I deserve to try & experience this purely for the joy of doing it".

Rather than looking at what the person with 20,000 followers is doing and wondering why you aren't so popular, focus on how you can add more value to your community and refine your own skills. 

Compare yourself with yourself. stop striving for perfection. take your best next step.

Our flaws, our differences, are what allows us to innovate, create progress, see things from a different perspective and this inspires ourselves & others.  We deserve to trust our inspirations. To do what we are inspired to do. Period.

So let's stop teaching ourselves & our kids to compare themselves with others. Compare yourself with yourself and you will set yourself up with the right foundation to GROW. 

That's how we create a life that is beautiful! 

Lots of love, 

Leticia 

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