I have a really bad habit. It’s something that I struggle with almost constantly and have not even come close to learning how to control. I constantly compare myself to others. Whether it’s friends, acquaintances, classmates, whomever, chances are I am wondering how I measure up to the person next to me. I think a part of this is human nature, after all, most people are at least a little competitive whether they want to admit it or not. It’s innate.
I tend to compare the same few categories over and over again. Beauty, weight and physical ability are some of the things I look at but more often than not I compare myself to others academically and in regards to job prospects. I’m not sure why I do it and I know that it always ends with me feeling horrible about myself. The thing is, I feel that I have a distorted vision of my accomplishments. I did pretty well in both college and university but no matter how well I’ve done, I have a tendency to dismiss any of my accomplishments as being “not that great.” It actually took a psychologist (and my mom) to make me notice this pattern and I still struggle with it everyday.
Thankfully, I have learned to rely on a few quotes to put me back on track. The first was something I came up with after seeing a particular classmate win academic awards and accolades. I told myself, “Her success does not make me a failure.” It’s simple and it’s true. No matter how far you get in life there will probably always be someone who is smarter, faster, richer and more successful than you. But that success doesn’t magically erase all of your own accomplishments.
The other quote that I have come to rely on is by Theodore Roosevelt. It reads, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That’s what this entire entry is about. How often have you gone about your day feeling pretty darn good about yourself only to feel horrible once you compare yourself to someone else? It happens very often to me. I am very far from moving past this issue but I at least have these two quotes to bring me back down to earth and help me appreciate what I’ve done.
*edit* Okay, after publishing this post I went on to read my daily horoscope and was rather startled by how prescient it was. Here’s what it said:
“You may want to outshine your rivals and competitors but the planets warn that may not be possible today. It’s always a mistake to compare yourself to other people. It’s a sure way to drive yourself mad.”