Even though we do our best, and try our best, sometimes we simply just can’t help but compare ourselves to others. I’m here to tell you (and myself) to stop! There is a reason you feel like you aren’t measuring up to anyone else because you are supposed to rise up and be yourself! You can’t compare yourself to what others do!
The other day, snowed in and wifi-ready, I stumbled across a video of a family camping at Wahtum Lake, on Mt. Hood in Oregon. For those of you close to me, you are smiling because you know why I found this and watched it, shamelessly until the end.
When someone who is basically my brother, announced his intent to get married there later this year, it became a personal motivator to explore some sights unseen. Like any good overthinker, I went into overdrive.
I have spent enough time on the road to know that there are paltry aspects to every trip that if overlooked, will ruin your trip. Therefore, I like to do as much research as possible about where I’m going. Wouldn’t want to show up looking like a weekend warrior and leave like a tourist with my tail between my legs. (This is the voice of experience talking, mind you.)
As lovely as all of this is, it is very much besides the actual point I’m making.
The video, though wholesome and well edited and composed, features two brothers who amongst their GoPro’s couldn’t stop bickering (as children do) about who got to do what in front of the other one’s camera. The exchange was very brief and just farther drove home the family vibe.
‘You sound like a bunch of kids,’
I’m not saying anything bad about the kids, or the movie at all. However, if you indulge me for just a minute, imagine the two children and their petulant quarrel;
“-that’s not fair, you did it in front of my camera, now I want to do it in front of yours,”
“-we were stopped then, and now we’re moving. Let’s go,” says the older one.
“–but I want,” a small sniffle, “it just isn’t’ fair, you got to do it.”
Then it hit me! That’s basically what we all sound like as adults!
From an early age, we start comparing ourselves, and we never stop. Even as babies we see people walk, or speak and we slowly begin to mimic and mock those behaviors.
Though, no one has really established where the information stops being pertinent to our collective existence and starts being personalized to someone’s experience.
We constantly compare ourselves to those around us. We do it with;
- people we don’t even know
If you are stuck in a comparison loop, check out these 6 ways to break the habit quickly, because it really can be a roadblock in your recovery, or anywhere in life!
That being said, there are very few species in the world who can learn behavior from others and apply them to themselves; us being the top of the food chain. We look at the success and failings of others and apply (or avoid) the same practices and approaches depending on the desired result.
Apples and oranges…yadda…yadda…yadda
This can be one of the most hurtful things we keep doing as a psychological practice. Without question, no person is the same and no circumstance is the same, yet we hold ourselves to the impossible standard trying to live the exact same set of variables as someone else.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
While it very literally refers to material items, what if you rephrase it?
What worked for one person might backfire for someone else.
The way in which you achieved your desired result, might fall apart in a blaze of glory for someone else.
One person’s path to success might be another’s road to ruin.
Be as eloquent as you want to, or not at all, but no matter how you slice it, the bottom line is really similar enough to make the point; you can’t compare yourself to anyone else!
Almost always, when I’ve put all my eggs in things working for me the exact same way as it did for someone else, that’s rarely how things go. Instead, what I find, is a random curveball throwing me for a loop. One that no one could have seen coming, not even the person who’s lead I was following
Sometimes, the best thing to do is just dive in head first and make your own path!
You were always meant to be one of a kind, so why on Earth would you want to follow anyone else’s footsteps?