Is your emotional well-being suffering from being too hard on yourself? Are you always judging yourself and comparing where you are to where you should be and where others are? Do you often feel like nothing you do is quite good enough? Do you think it is impossible to break this cycle?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, this blog post is for you. I’m here to show you how to be able to focus on the task at hand, from a place of joy and inspiration any time you want. In fact, you can get so good at this that you’ll have to remember back what it even felt like to compare yourself to others.
The sky is the limit when you can break free from the negative cycle of never measuring up and start to see the possibilities when you can lose yourself in the moment. You can work on the task at hand and then move on to something new. Build and grown, build and grow. Or suck at something and move on, suck at something and move on.
My Agony with Comparing Myself to Others
I can remember back to kindergarten on this one. School was the strangest place to me. I didn’t know why I was there and why I couldn’t just stay at home. Every day was some charade and I just wanted to be invisible. Any interaction at all would make my eyes well with tears.
When a baby tooth would fall out, I would put it in my little pocket and swallow a mouthful of blood. Ewhh. No one would know this. Naptime I would just lay there, pretend to be asleep. I thought no one knew. The one time I did fall asleep the teacher let me sleep all day, telling my mother I must have been really tired because I actually fell asleep. Playtime I would say ok, I guess we’re playing. I would just walk around until it ended hoping no one would ask me to play. I remember all of this clearly. It was as though I was an alien on foreign land.
One day another girl’s tooth fell out. Oh the ruckus she caused when this happened. She burst into loud, crying, screaming tears and her face was beet red. Lay out the red carpet for the girl who lost her tooth. I just remember thinking, “What a diva!” Of course, I wouldn’t have known that word at the time. Maybe, “What a brat!” I judged her and I thought, what makes her so special? Everyone is running to her rescue and make her feel better. I didn’t get that! Am I supposed to make a big deal when my tooth falls out to get some attention? Dumb. Who is the real diva here? I can almost guarantee this girl doesn’t remember this. I remember another girl losing a tooth, I mean come on.
When I finally learned it was possible to stop overanalyzing, all the quiet, secret judgments would go away.
Of course, this lesson kept repeating itself through different schools, different jobs, and with different cliques, but I was stubborn and refused to learn the lesson. Keep quiet, work hard, and think negative thoughts. “She did this better than me” and “I need to do it this way”. I would judge others and judge myself, never allowing myself to be on even ground with anyone. Like a whack-a-mole. One person was up high and the other was down low.
The Problem with Wearing Logical Personas
When you compare yourself to others you separate yourself. Maybe that is one of the reasons we do it. By labeling things, it feels less scary. By being better at something, it puts us in a safe, high place where no one can hurt us. When we are down low it just justifies the same type of thinking. It fulfills our expectations good or bad and becomes something that makes sense. It’s a sure, solid ground. By being down low, we have something to work with and correct. It defines things and puts them into safe little boxes. It’s really focusing on your thoughts instead of your emotions so you don’t get hurt.
Great, now you are safe and no one knows who you are. You have no friends, no support, no laughter, no new memories. That’s a problem.
Why You Become Free the Moment You Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
When you learn that you don’t have to compare yourself to others, it frees you. These little boxes of safety can go away. These are just crutches you create and they are holding you back. Once they are gone, you start to see that everyone has their own unique strengths and weaknesses and both are special.
When you are just honest with yourself you can be okay with the fact that someone might get something faster than you or get more praise. You don’t have to be good at things for people to like you. Let them like you because of your flaws. You have to be the one to like yourself first though. Not everyone has to like you and it is freeing once you can embrace this. Before I knew this I would try to go unnoticed until I knew for sure someone liked me and thought I was good enough. Be yourself, let people judge you, let people not like you. Then you can then get busy living and building a more fun life.
3 Steps to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
1. Focus fully on what you are doing
2. Open up to others and recognize them while you allow your intuition to drive your thoughts, words, and actions
3. Accept mistakes, flaws, and doing something wrong 100 times
3 Mistakes You Should Avoid at All Costs
1. Avoiding action based on caring what others will think of you and trying to be perfect
2. Not paying attention or recognizing the initial feelings of judgment and comparison
3. Assuming that you will get this right away and giving up when the comparisons start again
How I Stopped Comparing Myself to Others
One time I was fortunate enough to have a great grade school teacher with great classmates one year when I lived in Japan. The first year I didn’t talk to a single person but the next year in this class, I found myself. My grades went up, I had a strong group of friends, and I had a life. It was the first time I ever enjoyed school. This teacher made it fun and she used creativity. We had a running game every day, a puzzle with only yes and no questions. It would go to the next day and the next until we solved it. It made us crazy and actually want to go to school. We did physical crafts, college puzzles, ad libs, and we learned to juggle (except for me) because her friend was a Ringling Brothers’ clown. She was an amazing teacher and friend.
These actions got me, and I’m sure others, out of our shells. What do all these things have in common?
Trust, creativity, thinking, fun. It’s really all about action. We were engaged in what we were doing. The worry about what people are thinking of you doesn’t even cross your mind when you are fully engaged in what you are doing. By taking action yourself and initiating these things in your life, you can start to see that you can do amazing things on your own or in groups. It’s not about being “good enough” or being “better than”. Those thoughts are all in your head. I didn’t recognize this marvelous lesson and I suffered again and again. It’s only when I look back now that I understand what it is to be out of the cycle of fear, judgment, and comparing myself to others. Constructing this reality seems so hard, but you CAN create a new reality just by taking action regardless of what anyone thinks again and again. Awareness is really key so start paying attention and recognizing the moment comparing and judgmental thoughts occur and take action through them.
The Steps You Can Take to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others to Make Friends and Have Fun
1. Become aware of when you start to judge and start to compare yourself to others. Recognize this means you are not creating, doing, or having fun.
2. Figure out what natural action you can take. Don’t get me wrong, not simply for the purpose of controlling your feelings. The action should serve as the natural action to take. What we are doing is not avoiding action. Does it makes sense to be creating something new? Can you be the one to make this more fun? Focus on getting other people to shine and support them. Your self consciousness will lessen and stop interfering. It will quickly pass the more you learn to do what needs to be done.
3. Take that action and commit to trying 100 different things wrong and not care what anyone thinks.
4. Focus fully when you are doing on what you are doing as opposed to yourself or others. Give someone else your full attention when they are ‘doing’ something. If you are curious about how they ‘did that so well’ ask them questions. If you are curious, then act on your curiosity, act on your thoughts. That is natural. Avoidance is what keeps breaking you from the pack. Start now, don’t wait to be better to recognize someone else’s accomplishments. It is not a race!
5. Recognize when you are being too hard on yourself and remind yourself that YOU ARE ENOUGH. It’s time to unwind and be kinder to yourself. Remember it all just takes practice.
If you want friends, you can’t wait for them to come find you like a helpless person on the street. You have to be a samurai! Lay out your own red carpet and be yourself fully. You are not responsible for what everyone thinks of you. That’s when you can break free from your shell. Be yourself and build friendships being your true, quirky, stunning self :)!
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