Comparing ourselves to others can leave us feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, and insecure. Social media can certainly bring on these feelings, as well as heighten them. Personally, I have endured these feelings and witnessed my family, both adults and children, experiencing the same thing. The only difference between how adults experience comparison insecurity versus children is that the former tends to conceals their feelings and the negative effects of them, rather than being openly expressive.
When I think about how the practice of comparing has affected my family, a particular instance involving my son comes to mind. During the week of Valentine’s day, the children at my son’s school exchanged valograms. On the first day of the valogram exchange, I forgot to give my kids money to buy them, so they could not buy valograms for anyone. Despite that, my son still got three valograms. However, he was upset when he noticed that some other kids got more than he did. During pick-up time, I showed up to his school to find him in tears. He explained how upset he was that he got only 3 valograms. I pointed out to him that he should be happy because he did not give anyone anything. I encouraged him to focus on giving rather than just receiving. He actually took my advice and ended up much happier after changing his perspective.
When I first began my side gig as a coach, I experienced a feeling of despair and inadequacy because I continued to compare myself [who was just starting off] to seasoned coaches who were killing it. However, listening to a podcast by my business coach brought me back into the mindset. She pointed out that it was my choice to see successful coaches as an example of what is possible and use them as virtual mentors. That was transformative for me. I started actively learning from the coaches that are killing it and believing that having a lucrative coaching business is a possibility for me. I always tell myself, “if they can do it, I can do it!” and it has motivated me to do better in my own business. It’s amazing how a simple change in attitude has helped me to build my coaching practice.
Some of my clients also feel those moments of discouragement, especially after scrolling through their social media feeds. It can seem like everybody is succeeding except you. You can feel like you are so behind with no way of catching up. If social media groups are causing you to compare and despair, you are not alone. My advice? Run your own race! Don’t get distracted by shiny objects, and the success of others as an example of what is possible for you. The best part is that you can learn from the success of others by asking yourself, “what can I learn from their journey and accomplishments?” Then, apply the lessons learned.
There is no benefit to comparing (unless you’re comparing prices while shopping… now that is a great benefit). Instead of welcoming despair by comparing yourself and your journey to others, use the success of others as an opportunity to be inspired. You too, have a bright future, and it awaits you.
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