Don’t Compare Yourself to Anyone Else
Usually, my coaching is done virtually, but recently several folks in my area hired me to coach them.
One of them is a young woman who I like immensely; sometimes we meet in person for her sessions.
During our first session, she looked at me with surprise on her face and said “I feel so much better… you’re not perfect!”
I laughed and said, “I’m happy to tell you all of the failures I’ve already had just today if you need more convincing!”
No, I’m not perfect.
I do know a lot, though.
I’ve had a lot of experiences and have earned advanced degrees.
I’ve gone from being insufferably prideful to insecure… and now I’m at a very healthy middle ground.
Thank goodness for that – otherwise, I’d be a really crappy coach.
Seeing the relief on this beautiful woman’s face reminded me that we’re all on a PR mission to put our best face out there in the world.
From my weekly blog posts to flawless professional photos I’m sure things look perfect but come on!
Proofreading, makeup, and Photoshop, folks.
Nobody is perfect.
This is extremely important to remember when we’re out there working our tails off seeing other people having incredible success while we’re scrapping for our spot.
It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and compare ourselves to that person.
Way too easy.
The huge problem: you don’t see the real picture.
There’s no way you can see it.
You see what people want you to see.
It’s why we’re so surprised when that “perfect Hollywood couple” goes from blissful photos on the cover of a magazine to a National Enquirer headline along the lines of “Paradise Lost…”
I’m about to paraphrase someone – and I don’t remember who said it, otherwise, I’d give credit.
I remember once being told that we’re only invited “onto the front porch” of other people’s lives… not into their junk drawer.
Think about that.
From your front porch – does your house look decent?
There’s no way you’d know what the inside of our family’s junk drawer looks like or if any dust bunnies are big enough to launch a full-on attack.
I like to keep things reasonably neat and tidy; am in a constant state of cleaning out, but even with my bi-annual dump and toss from the junk drawer, it’s still there… full of junk.
I’ll organize, declare “this is where X goes, but not Y everybody!!” but at the end of the day, habits prevail.
A week or two after the cleanout it’s back to the same junky drawer.
You don’t see the days when someone feels like crawling back under the covers.
Nobody posts those pictures on Instagram.
We only get to see the smiles, the fun things – the things people want us to see.
As you go along your journey of life and see the beautiful moments, it’s really important that you not compare yourself in any way.
A huge example of this is a friend of mine.
She is very cute, sweet, and talented.
She has great parents who adore her.
When she got married it was a major affair: everything was decked out to the nines.
She had a whirlwind romance with a man who seemed to adore every inch of her and who wants to treat her like a princess.
All of our friends and I could not have been happier for our dear friend.
Her social networking was filled with photos of trips around the world that happened so often I wondered why they were building her dream mansion – because they were rarely home!
It seemed nearly every month I was seeing new Facebook notifications that she was at a different international airport.
“Headed to Europe to pick out options hubby’s custom ? Lambo!”
“On my way to Venice for some light shopping!” ✈️
That is her life.
Everything was all smiles and happiness…
Images of success and glitz were all you could see from the “front porch” she was showing.
That’s still all you can see, but now I’ve been brought inside off the porch… she decided to show me her emotional junk drawer, and let me tell you – the reality is horrific.
As soon as the wedding bells were finished chiming Mr. Right turned into Mr. Wrong.
She says it was like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.
I deeply sympathized with her because this is what happened to me in my first marriage.
We discussed everything – from the horrible insults he began to spew at her over the honeymoon to his declaration that he couldn’t stand her parents and didn’t want them near their home.
She was crushed.
But she stood strong.
Their trips were all places he wanted to go, and he always demanded smiling photos for his own self-image.
Not wanting anyone to know the truth, she used them for her self-image, too.
Inside, she is crushed.
This harsh reality is still happening because she has decided to stay in that situation – her decision to make, so I’m not judging her.
She knows I’m here for her when she needs me.
All that said, very few people know the truth of her situation.
Very few people know one of her only sources of comfort is knowing that “at least he doesn’t hit” her.
As someone who has survived a physically abusive relationship, I feel the moral responsibility at this point to say that if not getting beaten is the bright side of your relationship, it’s a dangerous place to be & you need help. Help is around you- though you may not realize it right now, and if you need assistance finding the help in your area, reach out to me anytime. You don’t have to be there regardless of the financial or familial circumstances. Safety first.)
The overarching point here is that no matter the situation comparing yourself to anyone doesn’t make sense.
You’re operating from a place of lack of information.
There’s simply not enough data for an accurate comparison, and comparing yourself (full data) to someone else (2% data, on a good day) will only make you feel bad and start a negative self-talk downward spiral.
Comparing yourself to other people in the office can damage your morale and hurt your productivity.
Comparing yourself to people in your social circle can cause feelings of inferiority.
Just don’t do it.
Anywhere, anytime. Don’t.
Embrace my favorite Dr. Seuss quote on this one:
“Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Be the best version of you. It’s the only You who you can be.