Confessions: Comparing Yourself to Others

by Heligirl on July 27, 2011

in Beyond Mommyhood,Confessions

Few things are more destructive than the power of comparing yourself to others.

This I know.

I don’t know if it is my competitive nature or an inherent sense that I’m not good enough, but I invariably see myself falling victim time and again to comparing myself to others.

Also, I am rather nondiscriminatory in my ability to wield this mighty power.

I can just as easily compare my little rambler on a busy street to a gorgeous new custom home with a stunning view of a dear friend as I can compare my unemployment after 18 years in an industry to a successful shop owner seven years younger than me.

In fact, I’m so good at this specific skill that I can take a perfectly great day and make myself feel like a complete and total loser with no hope of climbing out of my pathetically dreary pit of despair.

And I can do it in under an hour.

Not pretty.

I don’t think it is jealousy so much. Though there are times I’m jealous of specific things, like that sexy new sports car a former coworker purchased.

I think it is more a sense of feeling inadequate, below par, less than average, etc.

What is it about or society, and about our makeup in general, that drives us to compare ourselves to others? What convention actually states that one person, or their lot in life, is any better than another’s?

Truth is, it’s really all in the attitude.

That’s the hardest part for me to wrap my competitive/insecure brain around on many days.

So, instead, I fill in the blanks.

Exhibit A:
I may have a little rambler, but our stuff fits, each kid has a room, and we can afford our mortgage on one income. Who am I to think another’s home is better? Are they up every night worried about the economy and what would happen if one of them should lose a job?

Exhibit B:
I should be happy for the successful shop owner. A woman made her dream come true. How much of her time and life goes into that place? Does she see as much of her kids as I see of mine? Working weddings and other events takes you away on weekends and evenings. That’s not my thing. Why would I feel inferior to it?

In the end, filling in the blanks really is a cop out. Chances are the other family makes a butt load more than me and they sleep just fine, thank you very much. And that shop owner may be so successful that she has employees who handle the after hours work and she’s happily home when the kids step off the bus.

My energy would be better served focusing on my attitude.

If I spend my days noticing what others have that I don’t, I will continue to see lack in my life.

However, if I spend my days feeling blessed for all I have, I will see abundance.

Isn’t the peace of mind of feeling I have all I need much better than the feeling of lack?

I think so.

It all sounds so obvious, so easy, doesn’t it?

This is my battle.


Susan July 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

It is not easy. But you are on the right track. I suspect that somewhere, sometime, when you were very little, you (or someone) told yourself that you are less than. To try to heal that, keep on the track of positivity- thinking of the good things you have going (might want to keep a gratitude journal to help with this). If you get off track, don’t punish yourself, just keep trying. Over time your thoughts will begin to change. And instead of comparing yourself to others and feeling badly, you will be able to appreciate others’ success.

Imagine how you would feel if Sweetness made a painting and then compared it to other kids’ paintings, and got down on herself- saying things like, my green isn’t as pretty as her green. My house doesn’t even look like a house. My painting stinks.

Be gentle on that little girl inside you.
Susan recently posted: Musings With A Friend

Twitter: Heligirl
July 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Susan, you’re so right. That person was my mother. Nothing was ever good enough and I was always being compared. You’re such a wise sage and I consider myself incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful friend. Thank you for all the wonderful support. I should be writing off my blog as a medical expense. You guys are all so therapeutic!

Liz July 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Jen, you really should check out I think she has some good advice that you need to “hear.” ::hugs::
Liz recently posted: Planning your garden

Susan July 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

(((((Sending a big fat hug))))). I have to confess that I’m an information ho. I’m a sponge when it comes to topics that interest me. A really good book about the (huge) power of our subconscious mind (and a lot more) is The Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton. (A quick and easy way to check him out is to watch videos of him on YouTube). Great stuff!
Susan recently posted: Musings With A Friend

Kris July 27, 2011 at 9:38 am

Everyone struggles with this to some degree. But just remember you are stealing away your own happiness when you do. I hang this poster on my wall at work as a gentle reminder to be grateful…and content…in the here and now.
Kris recently posted: weekly fun (july 21-27)

Twitter: Heligirl
July 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I absolutely LOVE that poster. That’s incredible. Thank you so much for sharing it with me Kris. And thanks for the sweet support. I figured many of us get into this funk, so why not write about it. 🙂

Liz July 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

I’m willing to bet that somebody–or possibly many somebodys!–look at you and feel the same way. You can fly HELICOPTERS!! How cool is that?! And you have two beautiful children. And an adorable hubby. And a neat blog with TONS of followers (I wish I could say that! Mine is still starting up…) And you own your home–that’s a lot better than I can say! It’s a matter of perspective. When you feel those uncouth thoughts creeping in, remind yourself of your successes in life (like your kids, your PR career, etc.) We’re not perfect…we’re unique, and that makes us special in our own right 🙂
Liz recently posted: Planning your garden

Twitter: Heligirl
July 27, 2011 at 6:07 pm

OMG, would you even believe that I had that thought then blew it off thinking, who’d look up to me? You’re so right, we are all unique, which makes us special. It is a total waste of spirit to think otherwise. 🙂 Thanks Liz!

Liz July 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Any time 🙂
Liz recently posted: Planning your garden

SharleneT. July 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

It starts when we’re little and hear the nonstop comparisons from the adults around us. And, of course, they want you to succeed, so they’re always pointing out those who (to them) they feel are successful. To make you feel better, I’ve just read several news articles about how folks in those $300,000+ homes are so far in debt, they’re drowning. And your shop-owner? Easily putting in 80-90 hour weeks. Employees only work when paid and small shop owners can’t afford the luxury of extra staff. (Have to have profit to pay employees.). You’re blessed to be able to cover your bills on one paycheck in today’s economy. The wheel of life continues to turn and there’s a brighter horizon for you. But, please don’t judge yourself less than anyone else. You are one super lady with many gifts, talents, and skills. {{{ HUGS}}}

P.S. I’m still waiting for the news… 8-(
SharleneT. recently posted: A Southern Kosher-Mexican-Indian Chili at Midtown

Twitter: Heligirl
July 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Thank you so very much my dear friend. That means a great deal coming from you. I knew you’d know about the show owner’s real life. Perhaps one day I’ll talk to her myself and know for sure. 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing your news. I’m getting so excited for you.

Mama Spaghetti July 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

You are so right! I fall prey to this all the time (your exhibit A about the house sounded like a conversation I’ve had in my own head so many times!). I have to work really hard to remind myself that we’ve made the choices we have for a reason, and that we can be happy with them even if other people don’t have the exact same things.
Mama Spaghetti recently posted: Want free money? Send my husband a scam email

Twitter: Heligirl
July 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

You’re so right. We do make the decisions we make for a reason and we have to remember not to lose sight of that. It’s really easy to look at the color of the grass on the other side of the fence, but we’re much better served turning our back to the fence and admire our own gardens. (Wow, I’m so philosophical this morning!)
Heligirl recently posted: Confessions: Comparing Yourself to Others

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