“They have such a great marriage.” “I wish I had a husband like that.” “I wish I had everything together like she does.” “I wish I could be successful like him.”
Have you ever found yourself saying something like those statements above? If you’re like everyone else on this planet, I’ll bet, at one time or another, you have. I know I have. Who am I kidding. I know I do.
A strong part of my personality is that I’m competitive. It doesn’t matter what it is, I want to beat you at it. And part of being competitive is knowing where my competition stands, comparing myself to the competition.
If I’m going to be faster than you, I have to know how fast you are.
If I’m going to work harder than you, I have to know how hard you work.
If I’m going to get more done than you, I have to know how much you get done.
I would like to think that there are some positive things that come out of being competitive, but if I’m honest, only in one situation is being competitive a positive thing (more on that one situation at the end of this post).
Nothing We Compare Matters
When you start comparing things like success, your body, your home, your cars, your clothes, your spouse, your marriage, your kids, your money – nothing but negative comes out of it.
No matter how virtuous I might think my comparing might be (Working harder than the next guy is a good thing right?) there is nothing that we can compare ourselves to that matters.
Think about that for a second. Is there anything that we can compare ourselves to that truly matters? Except for the one situation noted at the end of this post, the answer is no.
Comparison and Your Identity
When we compare ourselves to others, we allow our identity to be defined by others. If we see ourselves doing better than others, we feel good about ourselves. If we see ourselves doing worse than others, we feel bad about ourselves.
But do you realize, that the deck is stacked against you? When you compare yourself to someone else, you compare what you see as their perfection to your failures.
You look at someone else’s marriage and think, “ Wow. They have an awesome marriage. They really have it together. Our marriage is so messed up, we could never have a marriage like that.”
Or you look at someone else’s spouse and think, “ He / She is so loving, beautiful, etc… If only my spouse was like that.”
I’ve got news for you. What you see and what you perceive are not reality. We are all broken. We all have flaws. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. That marriage or that spouse may seem great, but I guarantee they have issues too.
It’s been said that comparison is the root of inferiority, and it’s true. When you compare yourself to others, you set yourself up to crush your ego and to feel bad about yourself.
Instead of viewing everyone else and what everyone else has as better than you, start viewing everyone else as equal to you. You are just as good as the next person. Embrace the fact that other people are the same as you. Then, when you can appreciate them for who they are and you for who you are, you’ll have no need to compare.
Compete Against the Best
One final note about comparing and competing. When you compete, compete against the best. Do you know who the best is? It’s you. You are the best at being you. If you want to compete, compete against yourself.
Compete against the person you were yesterday. Be better today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today.