Why the comparison game is a losing one!
Comparison – This is such a huge subject, where do I even start?!
You walk down the street and come across an old friend from school. At first your heart lifts at the sight and you look forward to talking to them after such a long time. The excitement is short lived though as your friend proceeds to tell you about all the successes in her life, the great job, perfect partner and the fact that they’ve just put in an offer on a new house. The green-eyed monster plunges its claws into your heart and pretty soon all you want to do is run away. Your eyes notice how your friend is slim and well dressed and you feel her gaze on you reminding you of the fact that since the last time you’d seen each other, you’ve gained weight and are still in the same dead-end job – Sound familiar?!
So many of us that want to lose weight find ourselves caught in the lose-lose cycle that is the comparison game. We seem to notice people all around us that are:
- Better looking
- Having great relationships
- Successful in their careers
- Able to eat what they like and not gain weight
The list is endless and the above is just the tip of the iceberg of the futile game we play when we choose to compare our lives to those of others.
I have fallen victim to playing this game many times and these are the painful lessons I have learned on my journey which I hope will help you stop playing the comparison game and start living your life with purpose:
- Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose – This applies to everyone not just me. Realising this gave me a huge sense of relief because I had convinced myself that others were always getting things right and winning while I was left to face problem after problem in my life.
- Some people will be better off than you and some won’t be – This was a hard pill to swallow because of course my initial reaction was to focus on everything I was lacking. However, I was determined to change this and began a daily habit of practicing gratitude. I slowly began to appreciate what I had and not what I wanted. This helped me to feel compassion for those worse off than me and grateful for what I had.
- It is what I do for myself and my personal growth that matters – So true, but when we are locked in the comparison game, it’s easy to forget. The time I had spent consumed with jealousy had robbed me of time I could have passed being happy and relaxed. I committed to using my energy better and pointed the torch of attention on my own life. This allowed me to turn the negativity of comparison to positivity and motivation to pursue and reach my own goals.
- What others do, have or are is not my business – Realising this allowed me to stop focusing on others and return my attention to my own life.
- No one, I mean, no one is perfect – I have come across countless situations where what I thought was an ideal life was in fact just a sugar coating on a painful and fearful existence. Relationships that seemed romantic and idyllic ended, people lost their perfect jobs, those that appeared to eat anything they wanted and not gain weight had food disorders and lives I yearned for, experienced ill health and depression. It is better to offer compassion and understanding for others than resentment and envy.
- What I see of other people’s life is the image they wish to project, their highlight reel – I will never know the reality so why waste my time being consumed with jealousy about what I can see?
- Time spent comparing myself to others is wasted as it could have been spent on me and my goals – This is a massive deal! If you play the comparison game, you will find that your mood becomes darker, your body releases stress hormones putting you in fight or flight mode and any enthusiasm you may have felt earlier will leave. You are literally snatching your chances of happiness and success away from yourself! Instead, when you feel the heat of jealously creep up on you, mindfully tell it to take a hike by focusing on your own life.
- The people I am comparing myself to and feeling jealous about could actually be jealous of me! They may have problems that they are fighting to overcome that I know nothing about.
I truly hope the lessons I have learned will help you take back the reins of your life and steer it towards the success that you are seeking!
I will leave you with a poem that sums it up!
The Comparison Game
(89 Ways to Soothe Your Soul, Sherry Taylor)
The comparison game
Can never be fun.
For no matter what,
It cannot be won!
Someone will be better,
And someone worse.
Is just like a curse.
You’ll miss the light,
Be stuck in the shade.
As comparison to others,
Should never be made.
It will keep you stuck,
Push your goals out of sight.
Jealously will consume you,
As you lie awake at night.
The comparison game,
Will waste your time you see.
As your energy and focus,
Is not used wisely.
Just work on yourself,
Keep comparison at bay.
Compete to be better,
Then you were yesterday.
With peace in your heart,
Let self-love cascade.
Know we’re all unique,
Not ready made!
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