Comparison – helpful motivation or the source of pain?

I was chatting to the lovely Danny Smith from West Herts Drivetime on Radio Verulam today about New years and comparisons ….. (If you fancy listening to us, you can do so here, but only for the next week).

Life Check

Chance for a cuppa
Cup Of Tea and a chat is good for the soul

This is the time of year when people are looking at their lives and thinking of what they want for the new year.

Personally I hate new years resolutions – they don’t work.  It’s too cold and people are too tired to maintain them.  Spring and September is the time for ‘New Year Resolutions’.

But it’s a grew time for a bit of introspection over a cuppa or a glass of wine – how was last year?  how would you like this year to go?

How have you changed?

What did you do or buy that didn’t work for you?  Why?

What were the best things that you did?  Why did you like them the best?

What could you have done better?  Where would you like to improve your life this year?  What needs a bit of attention or work?

Comparisons

What makes a man sexyHowever, be careful of comparisons and wether they are helpful or hurtful.

It can be great to see someone turn their life around and inspire you into action.

What is less helpful is comparing yourself unreasonably with someone and not taking into account who you are and why you are already special.

The point to life is not to be like someone else.  The point to life is to be about YOU!

Mothers are terrible at this – ‘Why is my son not speaking as well as his friend’ I would hear someone say about their toddler?  Because his friend is a girl and they naturally speak earlier!

Because of my new Spa I’ve come to understand that hairdressers are also very tormented by comparisons.  Understandably I suppose, as their job is all about what something looks like and they know full well that their customers will be checking out how they look every time they come in.  There is a certain degree of expectation of them to be creative and look good.  Plus it is a very competitive industry.

This is great if it pushes them to be the top of their game, always on Youtube checking out the newest trends and keeping their area of the salon perfect and sparkly.

But it’s a shame when they are tormented by comparing themselves to other hairdressers.  We have several different characters of hairdresser.  We need them to be different.  We don’t want them to be the same.

This way I have the perfect hairdresser for the clients who need different approaches – older, younger, trendier, more nervous, more demanding etc.  It’s great to look at the other hairdressers and think ‘I can learn from them’, but not if they think ‘I wish I was like them’.

So don’t compare yourself to someone else and want to be them.  Just get ideas that suit you as a person and look to improve yourself (bearing in mind that we all have to do things that we are not naturally good at sometimes as well).

Everything has a Downside

Also think about why you think that person is so great when you are comparing yourself to them and have a look at the downsides.  You can’t pick one part of their character, skills or life and not have the rest.  So make sure that you appreciate that there is a downside to everything and that no one is perfect.

David Beckham had to worry about his wife and kids being kidnapped.  Katie Price has terrible insecurities and has had too much plastic surgery.  Some people have been motivated by massive traumas in their past.

See things clearly

When comparing yourself to what people have – houses, cars, clothes etc.  Think about why you like those things?  Maybe you can get them, but differently.

Do you really want a big house?  Or is it purely because you want access to somewhere for the kids to play?  Maybe if you look elsewhere you can get a big garden and afford it, or live somewhere with a great park?

Is it because you think that the area will be posher?  Maybe those people won’t be as nice to live next to?  I understand why you would want to avoid an area with a lot of drugs or crime, but don’t discount the areas considered less attractive – properly investigate them.

Often great success has come at a price of a lot of hard work or a great sacrifice – are you really willing to pay it?  If you are; great!  Put the work in and make a plan!  If not – stop wanting to be like them!

Don’t be fooled by a brand. What’s especially painful is seeing young kids spending money on a brand that is aimed at millionaires.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim high.  But by buying those things you will not be able to afford the other things in your life e.g. holidays, social life, exercise, good food etc.

 

What’s your worst habit when it comes to comparing yourself?

Or are you really good at understanding and appreciating that you are fabulous in your own right?

 

 

10 comments

    1. You are quite right – or wasn’t it the ‘big bad man’ on the show the other day? Oh yes, I do listen to the days I’m not on too!!!

  1. I love the quote ‘to compare leads to despair’. I’m guilty of comparing myself to celebrities in beauty magazines all the time. I know it’s bad, and it doesn’t help with my self esteem either. I must stop doing this!!

    1. Thats a very true quote @Nadine. Maybe check out those youtube videos online of the photoshopping of a pop video and the model. It will help you to realise how untrue those photos are. Plus check out the photos of people unphotoshopped, or google for photos of celebs with cellulite – it gives a really good reality check!

  2. I hate comparing myself to others as I’ve found we always compare our worst to their best. I think it’s much better to strive for improving our own best 🙂

  3. I think that in a way and to a certain degree, we need comparisons. Comparisons to our past selves and comparisons to people that have made us think about ourselves. Personally, I compare myself to others in order to get inspired and improve something about myself, and it does not mean at all that I am striving to be an exact copy of that person or achieve the exact same skills in doing something etc.

    When comparing ourselves to other, we should look closely and filter to find out just what is it that we think that person has got going for her or him that is ultimately a good thing. Most often, I find that that particular thing is attitude, perspective, grit or that kind of general characteristics.

    1. Yes you are right @vanessa – comparisons can be so helpful sometimes. They can be a great reality check and really inspirational. I love to hear stories of people that inspire me when I can see that there is some kind of similarity by comparing myself to them too.

  4. Very sound advice Lisa! It’s the curse of motherhood don’t you think? You get wound up in comparing yourself others before you know it but it’s always awesome when you finally realise that you shouldn’t and don’t have to. Don’t worry, be happy. 🙂 Jodi

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