The following guest post is from Deb of Home Life Simplified:
All around the internet I read posts and advice about not comparing yourself to others. I am pretty sure I have written that myself at times. It got to the point though where it felt comparisons were being touted as inherently bad.
I do avoid comparing myself to others, when the comparisons simply bring me down. I don’t compare things that are either out of my control (I will never again have the body of a 20 year old) or out of alignment with my values (fancy shoes and cars are just not important to me, unlike travel and books).
I have always felt there were times when comparisons really helped me and this makes sense to me in light of the shades of grey I find in life. Very little in life is all good or all bad.
I try to look for the lessons and the balance in my life.
I try not to throw away the baby with the bath water.
There are three key ways I have found comparisons offer positive change in our lives:
1. Think about when you compare your efforts to someone who is kicking butt and see that you really have been on cruise control for a while. This can spur you to intentional action. It acts like a wake-up call if you are honest with yourself.
I find this helps me when I start feeling like I am not getting where I want to go. When I slip into routines and don’t realize that adjustments need to be made sometimes. We reach a plateau and can almost forget to change things up and spark some new movement.
2. It is amazing what happens when you think you cannot do something and then compare your situation to another and realize they are doing it already. This can bust excuses you tell yourself.
This worked for me with getting rid of my “I am not a runner” mentality. The first time that I watched the Biggest Loser on TV and saw a 200 pound person running so fast they nearly threw up (but surviving) I realized it was all in my head. I did not have to be the best runner, but I could run if I tried and learned slowly.
This can help you when you see another mother you know launching her Etsy store or someone you know takes up a music instrument at 40 – reminders it is never too late and all dreams are valid.
3. When you compare your life to someone else and feel jealous there is actually a wealth of information there that can help you. Take the time to pause and examine that feeling. Is your jealousy stemming from a genuine desire for the same things? If so, take this feeling on board as a sign of where you want to shift your energies.
Don’t use it to beat yourself up, but use it to lift yourself up and shine a light on a path ahead. You may even feel bold enough to reach out to this person for tips, mentoring or simply connecting.
I find this to be true when I spend time lingering over other people’s art or blogging.
Instead of letting myself get caught up in discontent I try to see what it is I am longing to try for myself. Maybe the difference between them and me is fear or lack of effort or needing to learn some new skills. The choice is mine to take action or not.
Before you dismiss all comparisons and tell yourself to just focus on yourself, consider whether the comparison can be helpful or whether it is bringing you down.
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Do you ever find any positive results come from comparisons?
|This post is adapted from Deb’s new book Simplify Your Life – From the Inside Out. In this book and workbook you can explore who you are, what you want, and what is standing in your way so you can simplify and live your life, your way. Deb blogs at Home Life Simplified about intentional and authentic living. You can connect with her on her blog or on Facebook or Twitter.|