Perhaps you, like many others, use the new year as a time for reflection and planning and for making changes to enhance some aspect of your life.
Yet when people consider making changes, they often compare themselves to others, like one reader who recently wrote me.
Check out what she said:
“By all appearances, I’m a successful woman in her early 40s. Healthy, happily married, and with a good social network, I have no major complaints. But I’m pursuing some new avenues lately because I’m trying to change careers.
Every time I think I’m making progress, I see someone way more successful than me. There are so many people who are far ahead of where I want to be, I get frustrated and sad.
How do I deal with comparison-itis? Is it a sign I should quit following my dream? Help.”
Have you felt this way sometimes, too?
Comparing yourself to others is a variation on harsh self-criticism. It dismisses your own experience because you are placing your focus on others instead.
The only positive reason to compare yourself to others is for aspirational purposes—in order to see yourself as able to accomplish what others have done.
Otherwise, it’s a way to distract from feeling vulnerable, disappointed, sad, or frustrated.
The next time you feel overwhelmed by comparisonitis, ask yourself:
With whom are you currently comparing yourself?
Do you do it for aspirational reasons or as a form of distracting?
How can you take your energy and direct it toward an action that will move you forward?
As you spend time planning for the new year and setting your sights on new things or new ways of becoming, I hope you’ll stay centered on what’s most important to you.