If you’re reading this, you probably have a desire to be happy.
And I’ll bet that, like me, you probably took on the the universal idea that we’re supposed to “get an education to get a job to make money” – to ultimately live a happy and fulfilling life.
If we’re all following this to some degree, where’s it going wrong? Why does it feel like we hear more about stress, anxiety, and not-enough-ness than we do about joy and gratitude?
Not that I have an answer to that, but I do want to bring up a topic that’s been present for me lately, and that’s COMPARISON.
Ask yourself this question:
Would I feel happier if I stopped comparing myself to others?
Imagine a world in which comparison didn’t exist. Do you think you could feel more at peace with yourself and your life as a result?
I ask myself this question and it stops me dead in my tracks. For sure I would be more fulfilled. I’d feel like a perfect mother, wife, and friend. I’d feel nothing but gratitude for all that I’ve got and know that I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing right now.
The truth is, I am exactly where I need to be (because I’m here) and doing exactly what I need to be doing (because I’m doing it). It’s always on purpose. I feel empty or subpar when I compare my “doings” with someone else’s and then judge myself.
So the other question is:
Does it ever serve me to compare myself to others?
When I reflect on the differences between my “doings” and someone else’s it can inspire me, give me great ideas, or catalyze action. Reflecting on differences isn’t necessarily comparison, it’s just observation sans judgement about myself. An objective assessment of what-is, not a value-laden judgement of what I’m not doing, gives me motivation to forge ahead in service to being happy.
But sometimes I look out and see incredibly inspiring people doing awesome things, and it can make me feel less than great. Because I’m using the differences as a reason to believe I’m not good enough.
But, “good enough” according to whom and to what??
Comparison vs. Observation Without Self-judgement
Observation serves me, comparison doesn’t. The act of comparing prompts me to identify lack. In that negative space I’m not inspired and generative. I’m not motivated to kick-ass – I just want to kick my own ass. In this space I can’t see what’s possible and I can’t access my inner resources to create.
Umm, no thanks, I’ll take creativity over criticism please! 🙂
So I commit to stop taking notes of what strangers, colleagues, and parents are up to and measuring myself against them. I commit to dropping the comparisons and allowing myself to be at peace with where I’m at. When I do this I remember I am completely on purpose. And it feels very fulfilling – exactly the feeling I’ve been shooting for since beginning that Education -> Job -> Money = Happiness journey we all seem to be on.
How about you? If you tend to compare yourself to others, what’s the impact? What would happen if you began to observe and reflect instead of compare and judge? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. Please leave a comment and tell me how ceasing comparisons could create more happiness and fulfillment to your life. Thanks for being brave and honest today!
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in Sacramento and the Greater Bay Area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.