I’m super fortunate to be a part of several online communities full of smart, ambitious, big-hearted women who are actively working toward living their best lives and making the world a better place. I’m even more fortunate that my closest friends in real life also fall into this category of amazing women.
I regularly see them facing and overcoming their fears, making and working on big goals, creating, and helping others.
When I see them doing the amazing things they do, I totally want to leap up and do the wave for them. They make me want to make bold steps and take action. They inspire me.
But watching other people succeed and do great things didn’t always inspire me.
Sometimes it had an opposite kind of effect on me. Sometimes seeing other people’s awesomeness makes me feel like shit about myself.
Say what? Yeah, it seems ridiculous now because things are so different. But once upon a time, I used to think:
Oh damn, I should be doing that, too.
It looks so easy for them. Why is it so difficult for me?
And worst of all (tough to admit this): I could never do that.
Somehow seeing other people do great things made me feel like doing the same thing was even more out of reach. Huh? That doesn’t make any sense.
I know, I know, but you see, I had fallen into a pit of comparisons. It’s a pit shaped kinda like a grave that you dig yourself. Yikes.
Enter the Deep Dark Pit of Comparisons
You may have been there before. The Comparison Pit is a pretty common place to be, especially in today’s world of social media where people tend to share good news and filtered snapshots of their lives.
The Comparison Pit is that dark, self-esteem crushing place where we unfairly compare ourselves to someone else. We make a broad judgment based on a glimpse into someone else’s life, blow that up into an assumption, and then use that distorted assumption as a yard stick by which we measure ourselves.
It’s the reason I used to assume that other successful people were just smarter, more outgoing, more creative, original, and more hard-working than I was. Have you ever felt that way?
Whoa. Why do we jump to those conclusions? Those are pretty shitty thoughts to have about ourselves. You may even know you’re smart and capable, but yet you still walk right into that Comparison Pit.
Comparison Pits are made of these
We dig our own Pits with a our own two hands thinking that we’re grasping at rocks and chunks of dirt, but really all we have is a lack of information.
You’re not seeing the whole picture. You don’t know what goes on in someone else’s head. You don’t know their history and you don’t see their private struggles, obstacles, and suffering. All these things plays a role in how each of us approach life and our goals.
If social media sparks your Comparison Pit, you’re in good company. The nature of the interwebs and social media itself dictates that we show mostly what we want others to see aka the good stuff. Not that people are intentionally lying, just that they may be skewing the truth by withholding or misrepresenting other info. The highlight reel is for real.
But we’re all special snowflakes
Yo mama, driven by maternal love and a desire to build your self-esteem, may have told you you were a special snowflake. Did you believe her? If you’ve fallen into the Comparison Pit, you may not feel so special. Hey, perhaps those other people’s parents also told them they were special snowflakes and that’s why they’re so successful.
Okay, so we really are like special snowflakes. Each one of us is made up of unique combination of DNA sequences. It’s pretty much impossible that another human being has identical sequences to you.
But wait a minute. If everyone is special, then how special really is special? Not special at all. Average. By definition, most of us are average. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. Average people can do above average things.
So then why does comparing ourselves to others often feel so crappy?
Why being stuck in the Comparison Pit sucks so much
Here’s an uncomfortable potential reality of the Comparison Pit.
What you suspect while stuck in it may be absolutely true. That other person may be smarter, more hard-working, funnier, more whatever than you. There will probably always be someone who is more x or better at y than you. Yo mama’s good intentions backfired if you can’t accept this fact.
It doesn’t really matter, though.
We have different strengths and weaknesses, come from different backgrounds, and have different personalities, viewpoints, and values. That’s the shit that makes this world so interesting. That’s also the reason why there will never be a fair comparison.
Wallowing in the Comparison Pit is a waste of time and it prevents you from doing the thing you really should be doing which is using your unique combination of attributes to create the life you love—whatever that is to you.
Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Page
The solution to and the cause of the Comparison Pit are one and the same. You got there because you took your eyes off your own page.
Your own unhappiness, unfulfillment, or the frustration you feel about your progress (or lack thereof) made you feel bad about yourself when you saw others succeeding.
To get out of the Pit, put your eyes back on your own page. Focus on your goals and take action to make them happen. Be kind to yourself. Talent is overrated.
When you’re doing work you love and focusing on making progress toward goals that really matter to you, other people’s successes build you up instead of cut you down.
You realize there is an infinite supply of accolades, success stories, recognition, achievement, goal getting, and victory for all of us.
You know the world is a better place when more of us reach our goals. When it comes to working toward our best lives, we should be collaborators, not competitors.
You can’t do it like they can and they can’t do it like you can. The “doing” part is what’s most important. Pull yourself out of the Pit, put your eyes on your page, and go for it. You got this, goal-getter.
Share this message with someone else who needs a little encouragement or a reminder. It’s like a virtual high five and hug all rolled up into one lil post.