The mantra in our household is pretty simple: do your best. Just do your personal best.
My husband and I believe that doing your best — your very best — is the most important thing you can do, whether that pertains to grades, sports, work, personal goals, or just being a good person in general.
People tend to become unhappy when they compare themselves to others—and, often it happens when someone else yields success, whether it was something you wanted or not. Jealously is a powerful thing, and the less we compare ourselves to others, the better off we will be. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is…you. Were you better today than you were yesterday? Did you do something kind for someone that you didn’t do before? Did you set a personal goal and achieve it?
Here are 5 reasons why Steph’s Scribe thinks you should stop comparing yourself to others immediately:
Comparison is the thief of joy. ~ Teddy Roosevelt
- It can make you very unhappy. Comparisons are tough. No matter what, we can be left feeling like we didn’t get the proper end of the stick. I may want to have a movie-star figure, but the truth is, I’m not a movie star. Comparing myself to someone who is on camera or film all day long as their job is probably not fair to someone who is a professor, wife, mother, and writer. While I would love someone to do my hair and makeup every day and tailor a wardrobe to fit my figure perfectly, it’s not going to happen (unless you’re not employing your fairy godmother; if that’s the case, please send her my way). No matter what you want or who you compare yourself to or with, you will end up feeling miserable.
- It’s just not a fair thing to do to yourself. We are all different; we have different features, different body types, different minds, and different skills and talents. Comparing yourself to someone else will only make you feel that you are not achieving, when in fact, you very well may be. Stop being unfair to yourself; look in the mirror and tell yourself how great you are today.
- You lose focus. If you begin comparing yourself to others, you will focus more on outcome rather than process and change and growth. You have your own goals you want to achieve. Set those for yourself and watch yourself bloom. Your goals are not your best friend’s goals, your boss’s goals, or your family’s goals.
- You fail to give yourself a pat on the back for your achievements. So, I’ve lost some weight this summer by sticking to a plan and exercising 5-6 days a week. I can’t compare myself to people who have great metabolisms whereby weight falls off their bodies when they make a conscious lifestyle change. My weight loss is slow and methodical, but I treated myself today to a new dress. It was my goal, not someone else’s that I hit, and I gave myself a good old pat on the back and brought home a present for my closet.
- It can kill your creativity. If all you do is compare yourself to others, you may very well lose your creative impulses and drive. When I began writing my second novel, Baseball Girl, and I was trying to figure out the tone and plot line of it, my mother offered advice I’ll never forget. She said, and I quote her, “Don’t forget to put some of your funny stories in there, too. Don’t lose that side of your writing; stay true to your voice.” If I compare myself to others in my field, and if I allow that comparison take hold, I might never write another word again for fear of failure. All I can do is be true to my own voice, my own writing talents, and my own storytelling. But if I think I’m going to write like Tolstoy or Dickens or Anne Tyler, I might as well just quit now. The only thing I can do is hunker down and write and let my creativity flow in my own way. That’s what I owe myself. And that is what you owe yourself, too, no matter what endeavors you pursue.
Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.