Health and Wellbeing

Why comparing yourself to others is dumb.

October 31, 2014

why comparing yourself to others is dumbLately I’ve been finding myself checking out others a lot.

I’ve been scrutinising how awesome people are and then comparing myself to them.

Comparing yourself to others is dumb, I know that. My mum taught me that when I was about, I don’t know, little and stinky.

I’m not talking about comparing myself to bouncy girls that bound on their toes like dik-diks, pony-tails waving from side to side, impossibly flat tummies winking their belly buttons as the pass me on my morning run, although I have been known to wish I was slightly more elegant in my gait.

I’m talking about achievements.

I’m checking out people’s achievements; Even little goals they’ve kicked and I’m comparing myself to them.

In many ways I’m trying to learn from my peers at the moment, see how everyone else is doing this life business, this working business and asking for tips and tricks along the way to get to where I want to go and achieve my goals, but I’m noticing something a little less spectacular is happening.

I criticise what I am doing wrong, instead of patting myself on the back for all the great stuff I’m doing. I focus on the shit bits…..

You know that thing where you look in the mirror and instead of seeing your strong shoulders,  shapely calf muscles, or that sweet birthmark on your butt that looks like a drunken map of Australia, you see that tummy skin that will never be flat again, bat winged arms or the way your nipples no longer salute to the sun.

It’s like we’re wearing blinkers that shield us from our good stuff and highlight our shit bits.

Why do we do that? It can’t just be me surely?

It’s really silly to compare ourselves, not because we are awesomely unique, and not because it shouldn’t matter, although these are essentially true…..

The reason it is silly to compare ourselves is that we never measure up.

AND THAT IS JUST PLAIN DUMB.

If we could draw comparisons and put them on a massive life scale and say ‘ok, they’re doing XYZ brilliantly’ on one side of the scale and then balance out your side with something you do brilliantly, and ensure the status quo remains even keeled it wouldn’t be so dumb.

But we don’t. We just pile their scale up with shining brilliance and leave ours dangling in the air.

Empty except for maybe a tumbleweed and a dead cockroach.

Some days I think just getting to the end of the day without standing on the parapet with a semi-automatic is an achievement but then I see others scaling mountains in record time and the my not-losing-my-mind seems not as impressive.

Comparing oneself is human nature.

From the second we meet someone we compare ourselves. We can’t help it. We are programmed to sub-conciously work out basic comparisons to see how this  other person measures up and fits.

Are they of higher or lower status, do they have more or less money, are they more physically appealing than I? We don’t even know we’re doing it but this is the stuff first impressions are made of. But I’m not really talking about that stuff. I’m talking about the stuff that’s way more important.

Life stuff.

The simple fact is, there are always going to be people better than us at stuff. We need to embrace them and love them for they are paving the way for us. Learning from people with more experience and success is a much better way to learn than reading a text book.

So today I just wanted to say to us/me/you –

Don’t compare yourself, dufus. You are wonderful you.

Every single person is running their own race and every race has different obstacles.

On your marks.

Get set.

Hurdle.

Is it just me or do you do this too?

Should we quit it?

why comparing yourself to others is dumb

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply Carly Findlay October 31, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Run your own race and compare yourself only to your last success.

  • Reply Raychael aka Mystery Case October 31, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Couldn’t agree more with you on this one.

  • Reply Sonia from Sonia Styling October 31, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Yeah, I think we all do it. As you said, it’s human nature. Sometimes it’s a good thing – when it inspires you to do better. But most of the time we let it make us feel really shit about ourselves. And that’s just plain stupid. We’re better than that!
    For the record, I think you’re ace. You have such a way with words and photos and you inspire me to be a better writer and to learn to take beautiful photos. So thank you. x

  • Reply Adam Clements October 31, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Nice one. This is why it’s important to surround yourself with decent people with a positive outlook. Other peoples’ shit will stick to you. We all have good stuff and less good stuff. It’s really good to be reminded what’s important sometimes. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply Carolyn @ Champagne Cartel October 31, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Yes, we all do it and we all come up short, but we’re comparing our “behind the curtain” selves with other people’s “best foot forward” selves. And that’s always going to fuck us up. When I first started reading your blog, and seeing your book and your gorgeous family and you in a pair of cut off denim shorts, I compared myself to you – and it wasn’t helpful. Now I know your “behind the curtain” self and I love you ten times more. xx

    • Reply Danielle October 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Like a doctors curtain, or a velvet curtain? You like me more now you know I’m neurotic like you. it’s comforting isn’t it x

  • Reply Zanni Louise October 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Isn’t life funny? Here’s me comparing myself negatively to the likes of you and a few others, who SOAR in the world of writing and blogging. And you are doing the same to others. In a way, comparing is exactly what makes us human. We build on each other’s achievements and discoveries, and go from cave painting to Leonardo Da Vinci’s because we have the ability to copy others, and get inspired by others. I guess the trick is not feeling negative about ourself, and reflecting on our achievements rather than our drawbacks. You are doing awesome lady. Being yourself and everything. I am sure you are an inspiration for many. xx

    • Reply Danielle October 31, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      That’s funny isn’t it?? You nailed it beautifully…. and you’re pretty inspiration yourself, toots.

  • Reply bigwords October 31, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    All the time. I’ve been trying to stop myself doing it and instead just settle into my own life path. Keep working at what makes your heart flutter and leave the rest to the universe to sort out. You are super amazing, know that x

    • Reply Danielle October 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      No, you are 😉 xxx

  • Reply Champagne Gillian October 31, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for this D. great post, as always. So yeah why do we do this I wonder? It IS ridiculously dumb. There’s probably some deep ingrained caveman genetics at play, we would’ve had to compare so we’d be able to suss out that we’re going to have the shit beaten out of us by the cool dude in the fancy leopard loincloth. We’d know whether we should fight or take flight. To me you’ll always be the cool dude in the fancy leopard loincloth.

    • Reply Danielle October 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      I would so rock a leopard loin cloth. You now it.

  • Reply Julie @ Off to the park October 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Great post. It is stupid to compare, but I do it all the time! It makes me feel like crap and sometimes I get upset, but for some stupid reason I still do it.

    • Reply Danielle October 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      That’s the thing. It makes us feel like crap! That sucks.

  • Reply Nicole- Seeking Victory October 31, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Yep, I do it too. This is possibly one of my worst bad habits along with overscheduling my time and maintaining my floordrobe. If I had to pick one of the seven deadly sins that most applied to me (and I have had to, this was one of my acting coach’s favourite exercises) it would be envy. Envy is green, ugly, scaly and bloody itchy. One of those itches that once you scratch, it just flares up more and more until you can’t stop. Magnum got it wrong a few years back. Their ‘Envy’ was pepperminty and coated in dark chocolate.
    Just so I don’t sound all too Elphaba, I should add that I do have the ability to be truly happy for my friends as they are achieving their greatness. I just keep the itching to myself.

  • Reply San October 31, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Great stuff Girlfriend. D & M!!!! Have to say I roared larfing at the last comment. Back to earth with a THUD. You will LURVE meeting me hunny, I’ll be the one carrying the club ogling you in your lointhong :o) DESIDIRATA – if we could practice what that preaches we’d all be winners. For the unfamiliar, Google it, fabulous stuff.

    • Reply San October 31, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      BTW, in case you DO have trouble recognizing me, I’ll be the short, hirsute one dressed by Fred Flintstone Fashions… yabba dabba dooooooo :o)

  • Reply Glen October 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I just knew there would be a punchline at the end!! Hilarious!

    Dunno! Perhaps we all try too hard to be accepted, instead of, as you brilliantly suggested, standing defiantly on the turret with the semi automatic, colourful bandana across the brow (I guess the criss crossed cartridge belts across the chest, a tad painful?) and announce “this is who I am, take it or leave it Pilgrim!”

  • Reply Darrell - Modern Father Online November 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Do I compare myself?

    Sometimes. I have often found myself trying to keep up with the Joneses and have often fell short.

    Heck, I have trouble keeping up with the Holsbys…

  • Reply Freddie November 3, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Darling, great article and very funny, you are right we shouldn’t compared to others, btw I shared your link to my 25k Facebook followers. Have a great week x

  • Reply Amanda @ Cooker and a Looker November 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Comparison is the thief of joy babe. You’re so right.
    Except about the girls with the flat tummies, long pony tails who run on their toes like dik-diks, I’ve actually always wanted to be like them! 🙂

  • Reply Maxabella November 5, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Yeah, we need to quit. As I was reading your post I was thinking that I never compare my appearance with anyone else and I realised that it’s because I am so different looking with my pale skin and my red hair and so past it with the large, saggy body that there is no hope, and I realised that was actually very freeing. For a long time now I’ve just accepted strange old me in my body and it hasn’t mattered. I wonder how I can get there with all the other stuff too? x

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