Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.
For years, I’ve taught that comparing ourselves to others can undermine our competence. We can feel we write well enough, look good enough, play tennis well enough, have decorated our classrooms beautifully, or any other number of things until we see others. Then we begin to question everything.
Although I talk about comparisons when teaching about the fifth core need of competence, I could bring it up when teaching about security, identity, belonging, or purpose. Judging ourselves by others can damage the health of all five of our needs.
Yesterday’s Peanuts cartoon really struck me. At the beginning, Sally is more than satisfied roller skating. She’s smiling broadly until Linus goes by on a skateboard. Snoopy follows. Then another friend. Sally is no longer smiling. What does she say? “I feel old-fashioned!”
She quickly went from happiness to sadness. From satisfaction to disappointment. From joy to judgment. From security to doubt. From a roller skater to a stander. From content being alone to an outcast. From competent to out-of-touch. All because she compared herself to others.
How much better might we all feel and behave if we tried spending even one day not comparing ourselves to others? Are you using the performances, ideas, looks, and income of others to decide if you’re okay? What if you stopped and compared yourself to your possibilities instead of to others’ actualities?
I think you’d have healthier security, identity, belonging, purpose, and competence. I think you’d have great integrity and would be living with more authenticity and joy. What do you think?
Try it just one day – no comparisons. Are you freer? More confident? If you find yourself unsure and stressed, take that as evidence you’re comparing yourself way too much. Choose to get to know the real you, independent from others. The risk will be worth it.