“Am I good enough?” I wondered. Last week I wrote about the importance of choosing good role models. Ironically, this week I was personally challenged with the potentially negative emotional downside of comparison. While studying the contributions of my mentors and peers, I wrestled with thoughts that left me questioning — do I really measure up?
Defining myself based on how I compared to others wasn’t new for me. Years ago, it was my default mode. I lived on an emotional rollercoaster. Feeling good about myself one moment and then insignificant and cheated when meeting anyone more “er” than me—smart-er, pretti-er, etc…
A recent Stanford University study concluded that women, in particular, battle sadness after spending time perusing their friends’ social media profiles. Peering into the “best” of the lives of others can make us feel sad about the state of our own.
Here’s how I avoid, or limit, my stay in emotional “-ER” and you can too:
1. Balancing My Perspective: Social media’s growth and impact is phenomenal, with site memberships growing exponentially every year. The appeal isn’t just the connection they allow, part of the allure is the fantasy. We unashamedly post our best pictures, carefully painting a picture of how we want to be perceived. Reality check—nobody’s life is perfect. We should be happy for others’ successes, but we must remember that unless they tell us, we don’t know the pain of their failures. Result—Understanding that we all have challenges helps us to understand the normalcy of “ups and downs” in our own lives.
2. Remembering My Community: Thinking we are “less than” creates feelings of loneliness and failure. Ironically, these emotions can actually cause us to behave in ways that perpetuate isolation. Thinking that others have it better than we do, we become less sensitive to their needs and problems. We minimize their expressions of pain rationalizing that they have nothing to really complain about. Result—When we recognize that we all have hard times, we feel less alone and a sense of belonging replaces the isolation brought on by comparison.
3. Watering My Grass: Our grass can be greener, if we water it! Time is wasted standing around longing for someone else’s life. First of all, we don’t know all of their sacrifices. Everything comes at a price and we may not want to pay it. Secondly, all that we will ever have, or become, will come from working with what we have right now. Our gifts, talents and abilities are powerful in their own right. It is a disservice to humanity to neglect their development. Focus on doing you because you will never be anyone else!
In my struggles with the comparison trap, I learned it’s important for me to maintain focus on my personal power and goals. Result—We stop wanting what someone else has when we have a plan and goals that actively engage us in pursuing our dreams.
So who’s bett-er than you? No one because you are the only person qualified to be you!
Live It! Reconnect with your definition of success daily. Spend 15-20 minutes listing out your most important goals. Brainstorm ways you can achieve them. Each day will unearth new strategies that increase understanding of your personal purpose and fuel your sense of fulfillment and joy.
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who shares transformational truths that change lives. Follow her on Twitter for updates regarding her newly released seminar THRIVE! 7 Strategies for Extraordinary Living and more.