We are constantly comparing ourselves - to others, to ourselves and even to our expectations of ourselves in some weird future tense. We compare ourselves against where we thought we would be, who we thought we would be, who our parents expected we’d be.
It’s pretty constant.
Even as we take to the yoga mat, the self-judgment can come. We should be better at this pose; her outfit is so much cuter than mine ... you know. We all do it.
I’m doing a lot of it right now.
In work, I am comparing myself to this expectation I had of where I would be in my life and career. Mostly, I compare against myself and expectations I hold for what “success” looks like, but I also compare myself to others.
When I compete with my dogs on weekends, I’m nearly as bad. One minute I am completely enthralled with the moment of just being in the ring with them, and the next I’m beating myself up for not having more points or attaining some goal. A goal that, by the way, my partner doesn’t even care about!
To me, comparing is different that competing. Being driven to attain a goal or win a competition is different. What I’m talking about is that “monkey” in your head who is dedicated to keeping score. “So-and-so has a better job.” “I can’t believe my dog hasn’t earned its title and her dog has.”
Such self-talk is damaging and separates us from others and ourselves. “Keeping score” won’t improve our skills or get us a new job. Besides wasting energy on this comparative thinking, we are focusing on the wrong thing - the other person or job we don’t have or title craved.
Instead, we need to turn our attention back to ourselves and to setting realistic expectations and goals. Skip the comparison-shopping. No one else has our unique situation, experiences or circumstances - both positive and negative. It’s what we each do with what we have and the attitude we maintain that matters.
Loving, respecting, supporting ourselves means meeting ourselves where we are - in this moment, at this time. It’s quite literally all we can do. I personally believe that we create our realities through our perceptions and choices. When we remember to stay present and make good choices with a loving attitude, comparison becomes unnecessary. We know who we are. We know how we got here. Everything else is just comparing snowflakes.