1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples!
Ripples #1037: Comparison Hangover!
Apr 8, 2019
You can only compare your current self to your former self. You’ll get a comparison hangover if you constantly measure your worth against someone else.
-Dax Shepherd, shared by Nora in Shalimar, FL
Your opponent, in the end, is never really the player on the other side of the net, or the swimmer in the next lane, or the team on the other side of the field, or even the bar you must high-jump. Your opponent is yourself, your negative internal voices, your level of determination.
-Grace Lichtenstein, via values.com
Comparing ourselves to others is an easy habit to fall into even though it tends to alternatively feed our insecurities (when we compare ourselves to those who seem to be doing it all effortlessly and excellently) and our ego (when we observe those who have stumbled and we can temporarily feel better about ourselves with a snarky, “Well, at least I’m not in THAT situation.”).
It’s an inevitable part of being human and yet it is frequently more destructive than it is developmental. It can create unrealistic expectations that might temporarily give us something to aspire to, but then eventually damage our confidence and diminish our hope when we fall far short. Other times it can cause us to reach unhelpful and inaccurate conclusions about our value and our potential when we subtly transition from, “I guess I wasn’t as _ as I thought I was,” to “I guess just I’m not that _.”
If you’ve been doing lots of comparing yourself to others, see if you can notice it without judging yourself too harshly. Instead of trying to quickly eliminate the comparison, perhaps let it illuminate: get curious about why you’re comparing yourself and whether there is a more helpful way to achieve the same goal.
Striving for excellence helps maximize your potential. Trying to be like someone else is a recipe for disaster: you can’t be just like them because that job is already taken, and in the meantime you’ll miss out on becoming the best possible version of yourself.
The Ripples Guy