Comparing ourselves to others is something that most of us do. For many of us, it’s something that we are taught from a very young age. We are taught that we could, and should be the best, and what this could mean for us if this would happen. We learn serious lessons about how winning equals greatness, and losing leads to obscurity, and even worthlessness. And yet nobody tells us about the other story, which is what happens when we don’t win. What happens when we mess up, make a bad choice, and fall short of success? What happens when success isn’t enough? These unanswered questions lead us to feelings of emptiness and a lack of contentment that are highly associated with comparing ourselves to others.
Comparison disguises itself in our lives. It sounds like healthy goal-setting, and just a desire to do well. However, comparison rarely ends in this space. We rarely stop at the idea that we did “pretty good.” We keep chasing after ideas of success, sometimes paying no attention to whether or not this is actually what we even want.
Striving to be the best can seem harmless. However, it keeps us from really personally growing in our lives. It prevents of from being creative just for creativity’s sake. We don’t end up connecting with those whom we love the most. And when in comparison, we fail to find satisfaction in what we achieve, even when we deserve it.
Paying attention to this satisfaction, so that you can accept your successes, yet also learn to appreciate the lessons learned from your failures, are great antidotes to the problems of comparison. Dr. Brené Brown talks about the importance of practicing gratitude in her Daring Way™ model, which is created to help guide us to live with authenticity and further connect with special people who are in our lives. She also talks about having self-compassion and promoting our own creativity to further help us with these complicated life goals. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, remembering to practice self-compassion and gratitude can help you move towards contentment and away from comparison. This can help you move closer to a place that you may have never thought possible–being enough.