Comparing yourself to others is another of the mind habits you may do very well to master. Using other people's lives and achievements as a yardstick with which to measure your own is kinda like looking in the mirror to find out how you're feeling. The point of reference is all wrong.
"We've all been placed on this earth to discover our own path, and we'll never be happy if we live someone else's idea of life."
~James Van Praagh
Comparing yourself to others isn't always bad.
At times you may find a comparison with someone else's life affects you in a positive way. Upon comparison you become motivated or even inspired anew - to do better, to reach farther, to extend beyond your comfort zones and stretch towards the inspired life changes you've been meaning to pursue, but never actually get around to.
Comparing yourself to another in such a way can serve as an inner wake-up call back to life.
This happens when your comparison with another awakens a sleeping part of your true self. You've just rediscovered your path and are revitalized and eager to walk it.
So when does comparing yourself to others become detrimental? How far can you take comparisons before starting to feel bad about yourself? How do you stop at being inspired and motivated, avoiding the vicious cycle of self-abuse that comparing yourself to others can so often become?
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"Don't compare your life with others. You have no idea what their journey is all about."
You're on your own unique pathway through life. Nobody else can walk this pathway but you. No one has the combination of skills, attributes, inclinations, passions, strengths, weaknesses and abilities as you do. No two people on earth feel the exact same tugs on their heartstrings or have the exact same wind blowing at the sails of their souls.
How can lives truly be compared?
Apples can meaningfully be compared with other apples. Oranges with other oranges. But what happens when we try comparing apples with oranges? We quickly realize there's really no comparison at all. Each has their own unique attributes - their own unique life.
When comparing yourself to others do you believe you're comparing apples to apples? Or is it a 'fruitless' comparison between an apple and orange - so essentially different that comparison is pointless?
Looking towards others to measure yourself is to forget your own yardstick, carried inside. Losing sight of this inner compass - your capacity for self-orientation - is painful. It forces you to look to mirrors outside of yourself for clues - instead of consulting the inner truth of how you feel and taking that as your measuring guide.
It's foolish to look at others to determine your own self-worth. Accomplishment is a personal endeavor - uniquely yours. Comparing apples to oranges as you make your way isn't helpful.
So stop comparing yourself to others, by recovering your personal yardstick and using it to get your bearings. Why ask the mirror, when you have everything you need right where you stand? Unfold your life from that place and you won't go wrong.
"There's nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is in being superior to your former self."
Comparison can be a great tool for personal growth and inspired life change when used is the right context.
Comparing yourself to who you were 5 years ago, 1 year ago, or 3 months ago gives you invaluable insight. Are you delighted at how far you've come? Great, just keep doing what you're doing. Not so happy with where you're currently at? That's great too, since now you can resolve to set yourself on a new path.
Used in this way, your ability to compare makes you a better person today than you were yesterday. Using your imagination, you can even compare yourself today to who you're becoming, or can become. Comparison with the past gives you a clear sense of how far you've come. Comparison with the future gives you an inspiring glimpse of how far you may still want to go.
Why waste this power by comparing yourself to others all day long? Take control of this mind habit and keep yourself strong.
You know you're being detrimentally controlled by the mind habit of comparison when...
You know you're starting to master the mind habit of comparison when...
The habit of comparing yourself to others can potentially bring a lot of anxiety and dissatisfaction into your life. It draws your focus outward - putting your sense of self-worth into other people's hands. This immediately robs you of contentment, satisfaction and peace of mind that is otherwise surely yours.
The mind habit of comparison can be used towards inspired life change and your personal growth, instead of working against it. Rather than being controlled by the urge to compare yourself to others, you can redirect this power to comparing yourself with the person that matters most - the person you used to be.
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