How do you stop comparing yourself to other people?
In the suburbs, people joke about how “the grass is always greener.” Like keeping up with the Jones’.
It’s almost a cultural joke now that this person has the hotter wife, or that person has the hotter husband. This person has the more prim and proper kids, they do everything they’re told, they get perfect grades, and there appear to be no “blips” on the parenting radar.
The grass is literally greener, fitter, and richer on the other side.
The First Question: Do You Really Know What’s Going on Behind the Scenes?
The very first thing I want you to consider is that you never truly know what’s going on behind the scenes. For example, you may see somebody that’s ultra-successful.
Everything is going great, and you’re so envious. All their friends and family are envious.
All these things seem great, but then something happens. You find out that behind the scenes, they went bankrupt, or they were seriously depressed, or something horrible happened to them.
When you look at the outside of their life – everything looks great.
When you get to see the behind the scenes – it’s in shambles.
Now this isn’t always true obviously, but sometimes it can instill a deep feeling of guilt when you realize it.
Maybe the really fit mommy over there that you’re envying doesn’t even have to work.
If she doesn’t have a job (or kids), maybe she doesn’t have that many responsibilities.
Without a job or kids, she has all this time in the day to eat right and exercise. And she can stress life about life than if you had a job and you were a parent. She may just have a lot less on her plate than you do.
Meanwhile, we’re judging ourselves, comparing ourselves to all these other random people, and we don’t have a damn clue what’s going on.
For better or worse – do you really know what’s going on behind their scenes?
Where Are They A Year From Now?
Another thing is that you never really know where people will be, even a year from now.
Weight loss is probably the best example, because almost everybody gains some weight, and then loses it, and then gains weight again, and then loses it again. This is typical for almost anyone.
About four or five years ago, a friend of mine came to a Thanksgiving dinner. We met up in an old high school reunion, and he’d lost like 60 pounds.
He looked dramatically different, in a good way.
All the other guys who were there were overweight, and an interesting thing happened.
The guys there were jealous and snickering, almost gossiping like school girls. They were saying things like, “Oh man, he must be so into fitness. He must have no life now.”
In general, they were just insecure about their own weight and were trying to “destroy the tallest building in down.”
The following year, stuff came up.
The guy who lost 60 pounds got off track, and then packed on that 60 pounds that he had before.
He is now 60 pounds heavier, and the friends who snickered at him for getting healthy felt satisfied because now they didn’t look dumb.
But then again, they also felt a little bit guilty, because they didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes.
On the outside, they only saw him physically – but on the inside they had no clue what was up.
Things can change so quickly, and you never know really what’s going to come up.
For any goal, you can expect that things will come up. Oftentimes, they’re almost always related to motivation. Maybe the fire is a little bit less there than it used to be.
Sometimes it’s stuff going on with the family. If you get a divorce or if you’re in a long term relationship and you break up, things are going to unravel for a little while.
That’s life. All the things are interrelated; nothing just exists by itself. It’s not like your relationship’s imploding and you’re just going to keep plowing full steam ahead with your goals.
The spillover effect in life is huge. Just like if you’re happy, it spills over into everything. It makes your relationship better. It makes it easier to be fit, it’s easier to be successful and love your work.
If you’re comparing yourself to someone else, you’ll never know where they’ll be a year from now. It may be that they’re going to be back to square one – or square zero.
The Third Question: How Does it Help You?
The third thing is really the most important thing, and that is: it doesn’t really matter how fit, successful or happy anyone else is.
In the context of fitness, that’s great.
Let’s say you’ve got a friend who’s 200 pounds overweight or a friend that’s an ultra-fit athlete.
How does that help you though?
How does that really help you get fit, or get the body you want?
You can be envious of anyone that you want, but it still doesn’t help you. You can be happy for or annoyed with a friend. You can praise them or scold them, but how does that help you get to your own goal?
That is always the million dollar question.
You’re here because you’re trying to reach your own goals, right? It doesn’t really matter where everyone else is because even if all your friends are fit, but you’re still not where you want to be, who cares?
This is where you are. You have to accept it. You have to move on. You have to figure out what the daily steps are, what actions you need to take to get next..
Yes, you may be discouraged. You may be frustrated, pissed off, or jealous. But then you still have to get up and do the work to reach your own goals—whether it’s fitness, life, success or improving your relationship.
Your Tiny, Daily Habit for Today
Sometimes, it’s just the “highlight reel” version of other people you get to see on Facebook.
You never see the unraveling.
This is especially true when it comes to friends.
The worst kind, who know they have a good life or have achieved a certain level of success, post about it on Facebook. Those are the insecure attention seekers – so you should ignore them.
The interesting paradox is that people often like to show you their face – literally the facade of their life.
What goes on behind the scenes though? Sometimes you never know.
At the end of the day, no matter how competitive we feel with other people, how does that help us reach our own goals? It doesn’t. When I find myself hating what I’ve accomplished, and comparing it to other people, I remind myself of a little mantra:
“If I have to lose 30 pounds, I will lose 30 pounds. If I’ve only written a page in my book, then I’ve only written a page in my book. If my relationship sucks, then my relationship sucks. Now I need to do what I have to do, to get to where I want to be.”
Are there any strategies you personally use to make this kind of competitive feeling go away?