Do you sometimes find yourself comparing your life to that of others? Do you crave more fulfilling relationships and greater satisfaction? Do you compare what you have or your skills against others? To create the happiness you deserve, you can liberate yourself from social competition.
Comparison becomes a problem when it makes you feel bad about yourself or your own work, or your skills. Being aware that there is room for improvement is one thing. Feeling discouraged from pursuing something you are interested in, because you feel like you’ll never be as good as someone else is a totally different thing, and it’s not healthy.
Sometimes competition is good. Playing poker, dominoes, or indulging in a friendly challenge with your loved ones can be fun and relaxing. But when you start comparing yourself to others, you may find that there's no winner, and everyone feels hurt afterward.
For instance, if creating art is what you enjoy, it is highly improbable that you will ever be one of the best artists in your favorite genre. If you want to keep pursuing art, you have to be OK with that. If being “the best” is your main motivation for improvement, you’ll be constantly disappointed in yourself. The desire to be “the best” can lead to obsessing about what other artists are doing to the point of stalking them, and seeing your fellow artists as competitors. It can make you feel resentful and envious of their successes.
Avoid comparing what you have to others, especially friends. When you focus on being the best, you may miss opportunities to nourish friendships. Precious life energy may be spent trying to win instead of to build relationships. You can choose another path!
In the work I do, Healing with Creativity, we talk often about the process of what you create vs the end result. You can create for the joy of creating, or for the healing effects of creating. Or you create to become the best. They don’t really go together well. As you create in your chosen field of interest, gardening, baking, visual arts, music, starting a business or whatever it is, unless you are planning to compete in a world competition, it is probably best to enjoy, and heal through your creations.
Isn’t it better to be friendly with other creatives and celebrate with them? Can you imagine being friends with someone who is more successful and more skilled than you are and feel good about that? There are lots of talented people who will sometimes be ahead of you, and sometimes behind you. You have no control over what others do, and sometimes people get lucky and you can’t control that either.
Friendships are about supporting one another. Regularly indulging in social comparisons can challenge relationships. These interactions can cause you to feel happy when others are down, and frustrated if something good happens to them.
Today, choose to refrain from social comparisons and set yourself free from the ties of negativity. Next time you're prompted to join in competition, just decline. Choose kindness and support instead. Nurture your relationships and they will stand the test of time.
Some ways to avoid Comparing yourself unfavorably with others.
Here’s what you can do to get the most benefit from a comparison session:
If you want to make yourself feel better, watch cute animals instead. They won’t make you feel inadequate.
Not in an abstract way, really think deeply about your journey—the circumstances you’ve found yourself in, and the choices you’ve made that caused you to be where you are.
This is hard in the beginning when it seems like you suck at pretty much everything, but in time you’ll discover that some things come more naturally to you. Lean into your strengths. When you see you’re good at something, do more of that.
Practising to improve things you’re not so good at so you can raise the overall quality of your work is smart, but don’t spend all your energy focusing on your flaws.
By avoiding social contests, you can begin to enjoy your life just as it is. In the end, you can choose to create whatever experiences you desire. Today, decide that your life will be filled with satisfaction.
Spend a few minutes today thinking about the richness your friends bring to your life and how much you share with them. When you're tempted to compete, focus on what you have in common. Before you know it, positive thoughts will be second nature to you, and you'll begin to love your life!
Have an Amazingly Creative Day,