I was a teacher once. I taught little children some years ago. It’s a job I loved so much and will always wish to go back to. Being around those kids who barely knew about life gave me a lot to learn. You see them every day and they all look different and none of them were bothered about their differences. You go to class and you ask; “Who among you is the best singer?” You’ll see all of them raising up their hands and shouting; it’s me, it’s me!
In their worlds, kids compare themselves to no other. They are the best, (so they feel) in whatever they do. It’s when we begin to grow up that we lose our sense of greatness or the feel of it. Ten or more years later, you see these same kids and you asked them; who among you is the best singer?” You’ll see them turn and point to one particular person and say; she is or he is. How did they know? Because they’ve started comparing!
The day we begin to compare ourselves to others, that’s the day we begin to lose who we are. It becomes like a disease. Like cancer. It grows within our cells and it kills us. If you are the type that looks in the mirror each day to compare who you are with someone else, then you are suffering from one or all of these diseases;
#1. You Think Your Life has No Value
When you live to compare your life with someone else’s life, you begin to lose yourself worth. You’ll see no value in who you are now because in your mind, your life should look like that someone before you can accept the value you place on your own self.
To you, value only comes when you’ve been able to attain same “greatness” just as the one you are comparing yourself to. You forget that you are running a race different from what the other is running and the flavor you are able to add to life is like what no other may bring. Life has value regardless of who is living it. You don’t have to be the most beautiful person on earth before you can add charm and grace to this earth.
#2. You Forget how to be Happy
How can you be happy when you feel your best life is being lived by someone who is not you? When you are constantly comparing yourself with all others who are successful than you are, you are telling yourself you can only be happy when you finally have the life that the others are living. So, you waste all the days hoping, wishing, dreaming you can have the things others have so you can be happy.
You forget how to be happy with the things life throws to every one of us, however big or small. You forget to be happy with the life that you have. When the rain falls, your roof sings a melody just as the one you are comparing your life to; you can be happy with the rains. When the wind blows, it doesn’t provide comfort to only those you think have it better than you. Happiness is not for a selected few. Whoever you are, you can make a conscious effort to be happy.
Then you’ll see your life has worth, just as you are
#3. You Become Oblivious to Who You Are
I tend to compare myself to rich young men who are very successful in the areas of life they’ve chosen. I compare myself to how they’ve been able to make money at this young age and are able to travel the world over. I sometimes envy the kind of respect and recognition that are given them wherever they go.
Then I realized that my gift and calling are different from theirs. It’s not my gift to do the things that they are successful at. Do I want to be a successful musician? No! That’s not my gift. I don’t want to be a football player who travels from country to country to exhibit his trade. I don’t want to be a famous person whose every move is scrutinized by the media.
What do I want to be? I just want to be me. Living this life and trying to better it as the moment goes. I want to make an impact in every space I find myself in but then I’m ok with the pace I’m experiencing growth. Why should I compare?
You don’t have to forget who you are and what your call is. At this very moment, no one can live your life better than you are living it now. No one can go through what you’ve gone through and still be pulling the strings you are pulling now. You are just better at being you than anyone else. Why compare?
#4. You Lose the Sense of NOW
When you compare yourself with other people, all you see is what life should have been. Not what life is or not what you are experiencing right now as an individual. You forget about your NOW and start dreaming of what you should have become or what you ought to be. That makes you sad. You feel you’ve wasted your time. You regret not being the person you’re comparing yourself to.
Live. It should be right now and this moment. We can’t postpone living. Eckhart Tolle said; “Realize deeply the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” Focus on what is going on in your life right NOW. Not yesterday. Not in the near future.
I am happy today because I’m able to say something and do something with my life. I am happy because I see love in people. I am happy right now because I know I still can make a change of direction today if I’m not happy with the way things are in my life. Right now is what I have. I’ll live my all now and allow others to be themselves without comparing. The truth is, I am actually at my best right now.
#5. You Forget Good Things Take Time
Good things take time. Those you’re comparing yourself to know this fact because it took time for them to be where they are. When you compare yourself to them now, it’s like you’re comparing your middle of the journey to their end or you’re even comparing your beginning to someone else’s end. That is not fair to yourself as a person
Realize that good things take time. Realize that your journey just begun and you can only get better with time. Realize that you can only learn from people who have walked your journey before but not to make their achievement as a yardstick of happiness. Good things that you wish for your life will come. All it takes is time, failure, falling down, getting up—a lot. Then you’ll be there.
Author Nesta Jojoe Erskine, a blogger, speaker and social media enthusiast.