11 November, 2018
Do you know Emma? She is perhaps your classmate, sister, girlfriend, neighbour, or is it yourself? Emma is always unhappy, but she has no idea why. In fact, everything is fine - good work, decent salary, great husband, interesting nights, fun weekends. Looking at the side, Emma has a good life and certainly there are women who would immediately agree to exchange their lives for hers. Emma does not realize that for some time her first thought in the morning is: whether today, during the breaks Laura, the new girl in the office, will be the preferred company for all colleagues. Will Laura again deal with the task? Will she get a promotion faster than Emma will? Only when she notices that she is smiling in front of the mirror just like Laura and regrets why she cannot lift her left eyebrow like her, Emma understands that she has fallen into the trap of comparison and notes in her diary:
1. I compare myself to Laura and I want to become better than her, but that's not so unusual. The comparison stems from the survival instinct, as only the fittest survive in nature, and only they receive the best. In the evolutionary past of mankind, superiority has been key - for the larger, the faster and the stronger they were more likely to survive. Consequently, comparing, competing, and striving for superiority are a deeply rooted need that almost all of us possess and are not at all superficial features that are inherent only to people with an unusually large ego or to narcissistic personalities. One way I can tell if I'm doing well is to compare with others. If I do better than they do, I am convinced that I'm making progress, but if I do it worse, I start to doubt myself and feel a lack of self-confidence. Recently, I've been quite dissatisfied with myself, I feel I'm not good enough, and I cannot really enjoy my success, because there's always someone more attractive, smarter, better, more successful than I am. Now that I think ... it really does not hurt to realize that there will always be someone who will do the job better or faster than you.
2. Honestly - Why exactly do I compare myself with Laura? Money, mind and glory?
3. If I find how am I superior to Laura, perhaps I will be more pleased, less tense and surely happy. But I feel that the quest to overcome her makes me feel bad, lowers my self-esteem, affects my attitude to her, and even to other colleagues. Why do I need to compare and excel to be sure I'm doing well? If I need proof of this, I will make a list of ten things I have achieved so far, I will look for my strengths and I will develop them. I do not have to overtake others; if I leap over someone, let me be that one myself. Sounds confusing, but that's what self-upgrading means.
4. I am Emma. And I'm an original, not a copy. Charming, smart, successful - I know what my strengths are! Today I will say to Laura sincerely that she has a great smile.
What does the Emma diary tell you?
- BE YOU, because any comparison with other people is completely meaningless. You risk being the fish that Einstein says is only trying to climb trees and is perceived to be stupid, for as hard as it may be - climbing is not like its inherent ability to swim. So do not judge yourself according to what others can or cannot do. When you compare yourself to others, you are "outside" to others, not "inside" yourself, and this does not reflect well on your self-esteem. Everyone is unique due to the unique combination of strengths and weaknesses that you have and if you do not think so, you probably have a real problem: lack of self-esteem.
- If you however start to compare, because, as we know, the comparison has put a steady root in society and in ourselves, at least try to turn the comparison in your advantage - use the admiration you have for another person as a personal motivation to develop. Set your own standards and pursue your goals, but not to surpass one's selves, but for yourself and your perfection.
"Each one of us goes on their own. Everything in our lives is right, and if you believe in it, you will find inner peace. Just because you do not posses certain things right now it does not mean you will never have them, or even that you really need them. Comparing with your neighbour Ivan, who has a brand-new expensive car that he got yesterday, is unnecessary if you do not have a driving license for example or if you love and drive a bike. Also, many things look great outside, but they may not be such from the inside. If you know that your neighbour has sacrificed his sleep and personal leisure time, will you want to compare to him?
If this article is not enough, then, when you start comparing yourself with someone, remember the words of Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegor - "Comparing is the end of happiness and the beginning of discontent."
Author: Veneta Aleksandrova Paeva