Do you ever compare yourself to others? Do you ever compete with friends and/or colleagues in an effort to be better? Do you ever look around and wonder who’s most successful; or who’s most attractive? If so, then firstly, that just makes you normal (because we all do it to some extent); but if so then secondly, it’s also probably making you miserable! So this article offers some suggestions to stop it, because it’s a sure fire path to self-destruction!
Unless you’re one of a pair of monozygotic (“identical”) twins, who’s been raised in exactly the same environment as your sibling twin, having lived 100% of exactly the same experiences AND who makes all the same choices and decisions your brother or sister makes each and every minute of each and every day then…it’s simply not fair to compare yourself to anyone because, quite simple, you’re different!
In the words of the incredibly wise and wonderful Dr. Seuss…
Today you are you, that is truer than true
There is no one alive that is you-er than you
Research (and, as most of us know, experience) clearly suggests that comparing yourself to others leads mostly to disappointment and frustration. So how can we stop this self-defeating habit and enjoy more happiness by enjoying ourselves for who we really more? Well, in short, here’s how…
- Take the road less travelled – Set your own path and determine your own goals. Be clear about what you want to achieve in life and stick to this as best you can
- Recognise and utilise your inner strengths (read The Happiness Institute's Guide to Utilising Your Strengths here). We all have positive attributes and those of us who are more aware of, and use them more often, are far more likely to be healthy and happy
- Count your blessings – focus more on what you have and less on what you don’t have. Practice appreciation and gratitude, each and every day, and enjoy the best in you and in your life
- Adopt an abundance mind-set – believe that there is more than enough for everyone. So someone else’s “win” (e.g. their beauty or their wealth or their anything) does not have to mean a “loss” for you (and vice versa)
- Meditate upon this wonderful quote from Lao Tzu – "when you are content to simply be yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you"
When it comes to happiness and genuine success, life is not a competition. So stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, enjoy others for who they are and just as, if not more importantly, enjoy yourself for who you are. Because you’re the only person who can really be you!
Dr. Timothy Sharp is a clinical and coaching psychologist who’s sometimes known as Dr. Happy! He’s the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of The Happiness Institute and you can find him regularly tweeting at @drhappy.