“Comparison is an act of violence against yourself.” ~Iyanla Vanzant

Well, here’s me writing another post I need to hear. It goes hand-in-hand with a post I did on why I stopped looking at the numbers.

Show of hands: How many people have ever compared themselves to someone else and come up lacking? If you answered yes:

HOW’D THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?

  • Inferior
  • Sad/depressed
  • Disillusioned
  • Frustrated
  • Jealous
  • Angry
  • Bottom line: it probably didn’t make you feel good.

HERE’S HOW IT MADE ME FEEL:

  • I’m not enough as I am.
  • I should just give up.
  • Life is a competition instead of a collaboration.
  • Life is less about the journey & more about the end result.
  • It fueled perfectionism (& that’s a whole other blog post).
  • It paralyzed me & stopped me from moving forward.

Here’s the truth: there’s most likely, at some point in your life, going to be someone prettier, richer, smarter, more successful, more popular, and/or someone with better stats that you. And even if you’re the very best there is in the world at what you do, at some point, someone will knock you out of the #1 spot.

The trick is how to be content where you are with exactly what you have. So how do you do that? Gratitude helps. So does recognizing all the things you have to offer. And keeping busy, working toward your own goals, does too.

HERE’S A SIMPLE SUGGESTION THAT HELPED ME:

  1. Write a daily gratitude list.
  2. Write a daily list of things you do well.
  3. Reread.
  4. Keep it handy when you start comparing.

AND HERE’S ANOTHER (courtesy of my first grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson):

Keep your eyes on your own paper.

What that means to me:

  1. Do your own work & be your own self.
  2. Keep the focus on what you need to do to move forward in your own life.
  3. DO at least one thing every day that moves you toward the life you want.
  4. Believe that you will achieve your goal.

There’s enough violence in the world; don’t add to it by inflicting it on yourself.

So have you caught yourself comparing your life with someone else’s? If so, what did you do to stop yourself? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.

 

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Shelli Johnson

Writer
Shelli Johnson is an award-winning author and journalist. Her debut book, Small as a Mustard Seed, has been heralded as “a superbly-crafted and reader-engaging novel” that will “run you through an emotional marathon at a sprinter’s pace.” Learn more about Shelli here. Keep in touch through her newsletter or subscribe to her blog.

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16 Responses to Comparison Will Suck Your Soul Dry

  1. Awesome post, Shelli. Very much needed at this point in time! Hugs, woman!

  2. Thanks for sharing such a valuable lesson we all tend to forget from time to time. Comparing oneself always yields the negative behavior you’ve mentioned. My goodness you have so much to be proud of. Reflect on your successes, move on toward your goals. I need to pay attention to this as well.
    *Waves* Shelli,
    Thank you!
    Rich

    • Hi Rich! *waves wildly*

      Thanks so much for the fab compliment. I am proud of my accomplishments. Sometimes I forget how far I’ve come. My husband’s always reminding me to sit back and enjoy my successes for a little while. Have a great week, my friend.

  3. Sandy Coelho says:

    Shelli, you are a sage; you have an old soul.
    Thank you for posting a reminder we all need to hear in this materialistically driven world. I admit, it can be difficult not to make comparisons, but if someone uses the comparison to better themselves, without the byproduct of negativity, it can be a good thing – it give you something to reach for.
    I look up to authors I admire (present company included BTW), and strive to learn the craft as well as they. You are an inspiration!
    Have a wonderful week (hugs).

    • Hi Sandy! *wraps you in a bear hug*

      You know, I do the same thing with other writers I admire, but not so much comparison as to learn how to be a better writer, just like you. It’s true, too, when you look at them as blazing a trail that you, too, can follow. Thanks for the fab compliment, BTW, made my day! You’re so right that this world a lot of times is about stuff and numbers, and it’s really nice when I just focus on my little bubble of a world & what it is I’m working toward. Have a great week, darlin.

  4. Hey, Shelli. Per usual, very timely article for me. :)

    Of course I compare myself to others. I’m an author, lol. But I’ve recently (VERY recently) stopped worrying about whether I’m as good as others. Why? Apparently my brain really is like the Energizer Bunny…it keeps thinking, and thinking, and thinking…even when I sleep. At some point during the past week or so, I woke up…and the first thought that came to mind is, “Stop apologizing.” And it was about my writing. I assume it’s because I was getting ready to release a new book and, as always, I kept worrying about whether it was good enough, and wishing it was as good as (insert ANY author name here)’s book. That day it hit me…yes, there are some people who don’t like my books. But there are a lot of people who do. In fact, some people like them a lot. THAT is what I need to focus on.

    Glad you figured it out quicker than I did. :)

    • Hi Kristy! *waves*

      Yes, my brain is often the Energizer Bunny, too. Wish there was an on/off switch! You know, I had a professor in college who said to never apologize for your writing; when you do that, he said, you’re setting your readers up to expect it to be bad & you’re setting yourself up for failure. I think that’s true. And I think no matter who you are, there’s always gonna be someone who doesn’t like something you wrote for whatever reason. I’ve noticed that since I started blogging. Those are the people that become fodder for upcoming stories where you need someone to kill off. :D You’re so right, it’s the fans that need to be the focus. Congrats on your upcoming book, that’s fantastic news! *doing the happy dance*

      Yes, I’ve figured it out . . . sometimes I need help applying it in my own life. lol!

  5. Deone Higgs says:

    What’s up Shelli,

    This was a wonderful post, my friend. I couldn’t agree more with you. This has also been a one of those lessons that it took me some time to learn as well.

    I find it to be not only with comparing ourselves to others, but also freeing myself from having to group every experience as being a “good one” or “bad one.”

    Many times… most of the time, actually, we make our own pains and sorrows. You’ve done a great job showing us one of the ways we go about doing this to ourselves.

    Life is so much better when we just live it. That’s all. Just live it. :)

    Thanks for the sharpening message, my friend.

    • Hi Deone!

      It’s so fabulous to see you. I haven’t hardly been around, but I will stop by your blog later this week because your post on rock-bottom was really spectacular. Thanks so much for the fab compliment. I love the idea of freeing yourself from grouping your experiences. I think that’s so true; it’s habitual to immediately put whatever happens in either good or bad. But, I’ve come to learn, that a lot of the things I thought were bad at the time were really there to help me along (didn’t feel like it at the time though).

      I love this: “Life is so much better when we just live it. That’s all. Just live it.” Really, amen to that. I’ve been doing a lot less running-around-like-a-maniac and more just-enjoying-my-life & truly I am so much happier.

      Have a great week, my friend. *hugs*

  6. Oh, Shelli! Thank you. I saw this post yesterday, but didn’t have the time to visit until now. I’m so glad I did. You have filled me up with positive energies, my friend. I needed that. *hugs*

    -Jimmy

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