How Often Do You Compare Yourself to Others?
In our information-overloaded society, it can be challenging to hear our own inner voice – let alone listen to it. At times it can be easier to go with a tour group rather than explore our own off-the-beaten-path. I believe there is no right or wrong route as long as you are guided by your own intentions and not by someone else’s intentions.
From a young age, I had the 'comparison-syndrome'. I longed to 'fit-in'. Too many unnecessary thoughts were in my brain draining my energy:
- Her life must be way better than mine.
- Should I be doing it her way? Would I be more successful if I copied what she did?
- What will people think of me if I chose this path versus a well-paved path?
As I constantly compared myself to others I was so concerned about how other people would judge me – especially those who do not know me. I have been paralyzed by fears at different stages in my life to step off the road and carve my own path.
- She has a graduate degree and resigned from a full-time job. What was she thinking when she gave up a job with benefits and pension to pursue yoga and career coaching?
- Why would she leave a stable corporate career to take care of her family when she can easily hire a caregiver?
- She's not really working so she must have a lot of spare time. What is she doing these days?
The funny thing is, people part of my trusted circle have always been 500% supportive of everything that I do without judgement. I am usually the one placing limiting beliefs on myself. Until I can break through my inner critic it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of me.
While I get perspectives from people in my trusted circle, ultimately it is me who has the sole responsibility for making decisions on how I lead my life. This is when tapping into your inner voice is so essential since you may have a mindset that other people have already made opinions of your choices. There is so much noise that you need to filter so that you can act according to your intentions. After attending a silent retreat recently and giving myself space to sit with my thoughts, my friend’s most recent mantra ‘no comparison, no problems’ has helped reinforce some of my own thinking.
My challenge to you:
- Be open to asking for help. It is okay to be vulnerable.
- Find and listen to your inner voice.
- Ensure your actions are aligned with your inner voice so that you can feel confident with your decisions.
You know yourself better than anyone else. Here are some questions to help you focus on your inner voice.
- What is the purpose of rationalizing your situation to others'?
- How can you focus on what matters most to you?
- What do you think you would experience if you stayed in the present moment and stopped over-thinking?
Over time, my compulsion to compare myself to others has diminished as I listen to myself more. In my experience, listening to my inner voice is hard work and scary at times. In the end, it is satisfying to know that I made choices best for me.
ACTION: What can you start doing today that can help you to re-focus your energy and listen to your own intentions rather than what others may be thinking of you?
"I have been a seeker and still am but I stopped asking the the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my soul." - Rumi