Comparisonitis: Stop Comparing Yourself to Them
Recently, I found myself struggling with comparisonitis. I’m taking a professional development course and we had to work on an assignment. When my classmates started posting their professionally designed, awe-inspiring, knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark assignments, it hit me. Their work rocked! Mine – a 3-page document written in Word, black print on white paper, nothing spectacular, average Joe – was embarrassing! Has this ever happened to you? Well, the sad part is, this isn’t my first bout with comparisonitis.
Comparisonitis is the compulsion to compare your accomplishments, your body, your knowledge, your expertise, etc. to someone else’s to determine if you are good enough. It makes you feel miserable. It’s limiting. It’s an excuse for not taking action.
Comparisonitis on a Personal Level
As I said before, this isn’t my first time with comparisonitis. A few years ago, I had a major bout on a personal level. I used to be a huge HGTV fan. I loved all those designer shows. I’d watch them again and again on marathon. They were so inspiring. The problem was that I started finding flaws in my own home design. Instead of the TV programs being an inspiration, which is why they were created, they became the means by which I measured my own design work. My house was never complete. I was always updating this, adding that, changing things here and there.
This can happen to anyone. It probably happens to most. It happens to the teenager who starves herself in order to be as thin as the model on the cover of the magazine. The working mom goes thru it when she compares herself to the stay at home mom who bakes, cooks, and is on the PTA. The medical student who struggles also suffers comparisonitis when she can’t get the grades her classmates get. The husband who works hard to provide for his family only to see his neighbor, who obviously works less than he does, and is able to go away on vacation with his family every year goes thru this as well.
My a-ha moment came when I noticed comparisonitis in a friend of mine. I had no idea what it was until that moment. I noticed that she was always talking about wanting this and that. And I thought to myself, why is she not happy with what she has? She has such a beautiful home. She doesn’t need any of that stuff. Looking at her situation put me face to face with my own reflection. I stopped watching those TV shows. I started purposefully looking at my home and seeing how beautiful it was. I noticed how peaceful it was. My daughter, who was away at school, would come home and say that she loved our home. She loved the feelings it brought her. I started listening when others told me about how lovely my home was. And I loved my home! I loved every nook. I felt so grateful for what I had. I had finally overcome comparisonitis.
Comparisonitis on a Professional Level
This happens as much in a professional level as in a personal one. It happens when you compare your accomplishments to those of your co-workers, colleagues or competitors. They have more patients / clients / employees than I do. They’re website / office / product / service is better than mine. Fill in the blanks. They do ___________ better than I do. Their _____________ gets more results than mine does.
I catch myself doing this sometimes when I compare the websites I design with those others design. But I trust that what I’m doing is perfect for me and for my customers. That’s precisely why my customers chose to work with me and not someone else.
Beat Comparisonitis for Good
That experience taught me a lot about comparisonitis. Here’s what worked for me.
1. Diagnose it immediately.
The deeper into it you are, the harder it is to realize it. Nip it in the bud as soon as you notice it. Here are some questions to guide you in your diagnosis.
Whoa, are you comparing yourself AGAIN?
Do you know their story? How they got there? Are you at the same level as they are or do they have more experience than you?
How does comparing yourself, your work, your accomplishments to others make you feel? Miserable or Empowering?
2. Prescribe medication.
As the inspirational, all-knowing, brightest person in the world would say,
Today you are You, that is tru-er than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you. ~Dr. Seuss
Keep things in perspective. You can’t be better than everyone at everything. You can’t be the prettiest person in the world, because even if you are, someone else will probably be prettier than you next year. You can’t be the number 1 dermatologist in your country, but you can be the best dermatologist for your patients. That’s precisely why they chose you and not your competitor.
Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. You do what works for you, for your customers, for your family. You bring a combination of talent, knowledge and passion that only you can bring. AND.. you bring it your way. That’s what makes you stand out. People appreciate authenticity. Copy cats are sniffed out a mile away.
Find inspiration around you. If you are a working mom comparing yourself to a stay-at-home mom, or vice versa, ask your children what they think of you. Get the tissues beforehand. If you need professional inspiration, ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn. I did this last year and was in awe with the recommendations I received. CLICK HERE TO SEE MY LINKEDIN.
3. Prevention is key.
Your uniqueness is yours alone. Do not allow others to compare you, your accomplishments or your work in a way that belittles you. But it starts with you not doing it to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to someone else unless it is to find inspiration. When you are in a situation that can flare up comparisonitis, repeat Dr. Seuss’s wise words. “There is no one alive that is You-er than You.”
Need more inspiration? Check these out.
Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.
The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to the person you were yesterday.
Today you are You, that is tru-er than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.