It’s a common thought that comparing yourself to others is a good way to knock your self-confidence for a loop. You don’t know what other people are going through, their circumstances are probably completely different than yours, and besides, you’re your own unique being. So there’s really no point to comparing where you are in your life with where someone else is in theirs, and basing your sense of self-worth on the assumptions you come up with.
Yes, … and no.
Yes, you shouldn’t compare yourself to others in a way that you beat yourself up for not being as good as someone else is. I’m really good at this, and believe me, it does absolutely nothing for your confidence.
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And no… there are times when comparing yourself to others might just give you a little boost of self-esteem to help you reach a goal or take another step outside your comfort zone. You might have your eyes opened to new perspectives in ways that cause you to question why you think so badly of yourself.
The Positive Side of Comparing Yourself to Others
The positive side of comparing yourself to others can help you see that no one is perfect, and that everyone has to work for their success.
For example, if you follow other creative entrepreneurs, you probably think they’re all better than you at everything. But, if you dig a little deeper you might notice a few things that you do better than they do.
You might notice that they might have some gaps in their products, or their videos aren’t as polished as they could be. It might be that even if you like their work, they have some ideas and strategies that you don’t agree with. No one gets it right every time, and no one can please everyone all the time.
So, when you compare yourself with others are you seeing only the “perfect” parts of them, or are you looking at everything as a whole and seeing that there are places where they are not so perfect?
Comparing your beginning to their middle doesn't work
There’s a saying that goes something like “Don’t judge your beginning by everyone else’s middle.” And it’s true. You can’t know what failures and even what successes someone else has gone through to get to where they are today.
Here’s a good example of that. I belong to a mastermind group where the leaders pull back the curtain on their business and show us all what they’re doing to grow their business. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing myself and my business to them and their business even though we are two completely different people with completely different business models.
When I do get stuck in comparison mode it can go one of two ways… I can get depressed and think “Why can’t I do that and get those results” and go have a sulk in the corner; or, I can use it as motivation and think “I could try that and see how it works for me,” and use their results as a measuring stick for my own. (It’s still comparison, but it’s more confidence building and motivating than sulking in the corner thinking I can’t do it.)
And then there are some things I see them doing that I would never do because a) they don’t appeal to me, and b) they wouldn’t appeal to my audience. It helps to remember that we’re all unique and we all resonate differently with different people.
You can compare yourself to others and make it a positive or a negative thing… it’s really up to you. If you’re chasing what you think is perfection in someone else, then you’re setting yourself up for low self-confidence and a sense of failure.
If you compare yourself to others as an exercise of finding where you fit in your niche and how you can be the best person you can be, then that’s a more positive approach that can boost your self-confidence. It also means you are living your best life on your terms and not spending your time copycatting other people’s lives.
Any time you can appreciate your uniqueness and share it with others is a win in the confidence department. At the end of the day, the only person you should really be comparing yourself to is the person you were yesterday.