We’re all been there. Your boss complimented you on a job well done, but your best friend got a promotion with a raise. You’ve hit the gym daily and feel great, but your sister dropped two dress sizes. There are so many scenarios I can list here, but the bottom line is that we all occasionally have moments when – no matter how good we think we’re doing – someone else is seemingly doing better. And it can rob us of positivity, kill our motivation and wreak havoc on our self esteem.
Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt
No matter how good things are going for us, if someone we know is doing better it can sometimes leave a bad taste in our mouths. Haven’t we been working hard enough to land our dream job like our neighbor did? And how can that coworker afford the new car when we’re still struggling to pay the note on the one we have now?
That hyper awareness of everyone else’s situation leads to jealously, disappointment and sadness. Our victories aren’t as sweet because we’ve deemed them less impressive than others’. Then, we belittle our accomplishments. That compliment we got from our boss? It wasn’t a raise; it was just a few nice words that she felt obliged to say. And why even bother going to the gym today – it’s not like one day will make a difference in the long run.
When you feel yourself slipping into this mode of thinking, I want you to remember a couple of things. First, you don’t know what else is going on in that person’s life. Sure you know what they choose to show you. They decided to share their successes and the things they’re most proud of, but they aren’t telling you about the things in their life that affecting them negatively. You don’t know what’s going on in their house. With their marriage and kids. Or the things they even feel about themselves. Never forget that we all wear masks.
The second thing is this: as much as you want just give up, remind yourself that shrinking won’t do you any good. Instead of undoing all of the hard work you’ve put into something as a result of the negative feelings you’re having about yourself, do something positive. Don’t stop going to the gym or going above and beyond at the office. Keep working on those side projects that fulfill you (even if they aren’t making you the kind of money you wish they were). And every time you’re feeling especially down on yourself, remind yourself that you are worth the effort.
I’m going to let you in on a secret: some of the best personal and professional growth happens when you feel like all is lost yet you choose to keep on going. Continuing to care for yourself – even when you feel like you don’t deserve it, don’t feel like it, can’t manage it, or can’t find a reason why – is the key to success.
For the next few weeks, I want you to stop comparing yourself to other people. Their success has nothing to do with your success. Whenever you start to put yourself down, stop and do something good for you. It can be small, like writing down your biggest talent on a post-it note and taping it to your computer screen or putting on your favorite lipstick. Or do something bigger like spending the afternoon at the spa and cooking yourself a healthy, delicious meal. After you’re done, get back to work at the things you were doing. You have so many talents to offer the world so don’t stop honing your skills. And never forget that no matter what other people are doing, your successes are worth celebrating.