Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others!

I was listening to an interview of one of my good friends, Debbie Phillips, as she focused on the seven mistakes that keep someone from being "A Woman on Fire." The one that jumped out at me applies to males and females alike: the tendency to compare ourselves to others.

In essence, this is the same phenomenon described by Maxwell Maltz in his classic book, Psycho-Cybernetics, as a "feeling of inferiority." Both are based on judging and measuring ourselves, not against our own standards, but against what we see in other individuals.

Hearing this same message in slightly different forms caused me to think about how deeply ingrained this "comparison" habit is within most of us...and how destructive it can be to our sense of self-worth.

Think about it. Anywhere you look, you can find someone who...performs a specific skill better...is more attractive physically...wears nicer clothes...has a bigger house...speaks more eloquently...has better-behaved children...the list is endless! If you're constantly comparing yourself, you'll come up short every time.

Interestingly, Debbie and Dr. Maltz offer the same solutions:

1. Establish your own standards for those things that matter to you, and measure your actions and progress against them. Commit today to compare yourself only to your own norms, not to anyone else's.

2. Develop a new attitude when you observe a strength in someone else. Instead of criticizing yourself for falling short, use their positive qualities as inspiration. You can admire others for their strengths and learn from them.

3. When you find yourself making a comparison, break this destructive habit by interrupting your thought pattern. Debbie uses a refrain from a Britney Spears song, "Oops, I did it again!" Find a phrase that works for you and insert it in your mind each time you start feeling inferior to someone else. At the same time, identify any qualities or actions you want to emulate.

When you follow these steps, you'll develop a more accepting, loving attitude towards yourself. Any feelings of inferiority you might have had will be replaced by a genuine appreciation for the exceptional person you are.

6 comments:

  1. Well said Meredith. Everything is relative so we need to focus on dealing with the hand we are dealt!

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  2. Great material, practical. We hear this all the time, but we keep doing it. It's time to take control of this failures. Thanks Meredith!

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  3. "When you follow these steps, you'll develop a more accepting, loving attitude towards yourself": these words express a key principles for a joyful life. Thank you for this wonderful article. Peace and Joy !

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  4. fit4thabo, Dama and Lucie,I appreciate your feedback. Thank you for taking time to visit and leave a comment!

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  5. Nice Article Meredith. This also reminds me of what Tony Robbins talks about in his audio CDs in regards to rules. We all have rules for ourselves, and many of them just aren't that useful. I have always tended to compare my faults to other peoples' strengths. I guess it is with the intention of 'you must be better', but it is so disempowering.

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  6. Excellent point about our rules, David. One of the biggest steps is to become aware of these rules so we can determine which ones are serving us well and which ones we need to discard. We have to be constantly vigilant about the way we talk to and about ourselves because that language reveals the rules we carry around in our heads. Thank you for your positive feedback and your contribution to this important topic.

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