“I am not throwing away my shot!” exclaims Alexander Hamilton in the mega-hit Broadway and West End musical, Hamilton. It’s an admirable sentiment. How many times a day, a week, a month do you do just that by comparing your life, your career, your possessions, your body, your clothes or your successes (or lack) to someone else?
How do you feel when you do? If you’re prone to over-analysing or have a strong perfectionist or achiever streak (hello, yes that’s me too – nice to meet you) you probably start feeling pretty rubbish. Social media is full of pinnacle moments – those moments where we show the world our happy highlights, not the gritty drudgery of daily life. How many times have your friends shared pictures of the sink piled high with dishes, the overflowing washing basket or the Inbox with 3,000 unread emails? Yes, I thought not.
Someone wise once said (it is probably not Teddy Roosevelt although some sources say it is) ‘Comparison is the thief of joy‘. Why? Because as soon as we start comparing ourselves to others we start to notice the ways we don’t measure up, the ways we are inferior and it sucks all the joy and happiness from us, like a Dementor sucking souls in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter stories. This is YOUR journey through life, no-one else’s. No-one else is even half as capable as you are of living your one and only life. So stop comparing. Go out and do YOUR thing!
How do you stop the comparison killjoy in its tracks? Here are a few ideas:
- Write down at least 5 things you’re grateful for – keep it simple;
- Take a deep breath and get present to what’s going on for you in this one moment, and the next as it happens;
- Have an image in your mind you can focus on. Whatever we focus on grows, so shift your focus onto something else – a calm sea, a forest, a surfer on the waves, your favourite coffee;
- Take action – comparison sometimes reminds us it’s time not to throw away our own shot at life, and when it does get into action and do something small to get you started along the path towards your big dreams;
- Laugh – yes, I know – and laughter really is the best medicine.
How do you shake off your killjoy comparison monster? Let me know below!