“The grass is not greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.” In our recent “Divas Talk”, we shared five tips to help you stop trying to measure up to others. In this article is a summary of those five steps.
But before, we get to that part, let me share a story with you. I found this wonderful story on videoinspiration.net and I thought it would be a great anecdote to start with because it illustrates the point so well.
A crow lived in the forest and was absolutely satisfied in life. But one day he saw a swan. “This swan is so white,” he thought, “and I am so black. This swan must be the happiest bird in the world.”
He expressed his thoughts to the swan. “Actually,” the swan replied, “I was feeling that I was the happiest bird around until I saw a parrot, which has two colors. I now think the parrot is the happiest bird in creation.”
The crow then approached the parrot and asked him if he was the happiest bird in the world. The parrot explained, “I lived a very happy life until I saw a peacock. I have only two colors, but the peacock has multiple colors. Surely, the peacock is the happiest bird in the world.”
The crow then visited a peacock in the zoo and saw that hundreds of people had gathered to see her. After the people had left, the crow approached the peacock. “Dear peacock,” the crow said, “you are so beautiful. Every day thousands of people come to see you. When people see me, they immediately shoo me away. I think you are the happiest bird on the planet.”
The peacock replied, “I always thought that I was the most beautiful and happy bird on the planet. But because of my beauty, I am entrapped in this zoo. I have examined the zoo very carefully, and I have realized that the crow is the only bird not kept in a cage. So for the past few days I have been thinking that if I were a crow, I could happily roam everywhere. Surely, the crow must be the happiest bird in the world.”
The moral of the story – the grass is not always greener on the other side.
In its purest form, comparing ourselves to others can motivate us to improve. If one of your former classmates opened a private practice and that inspired you to finally take the leap yourself and open your own practice; that kind of comparison is constructive because it motivates improvement. The negativity begins when we start pinning our happiness with ourselves on how we measure up to others. That kind of comparison is destructive because it puts us down.
Our brains have a natural tendency to make comparisons as a system of developing logic and reasoning. And all the ways we compare ourselves to others are the same ways we find value in our lives. However, when we feel we don’t measure up to others, that kind of Comparison is generally a fast track to unhappiness. It’s a recipe for misery and it doesn’t build confidence. All it does is keep you focused on what you don’t like about yourself and your life.
The answer isn’t to stop making comparisons, but to avoid measuring our happiness and value based on how we measure up to another.
Here are 5 steps you can take to overcome destructive comparisons.:
1. Be grateful for what you have – It’s difficult to feel self-contempt and gratitude at the same time. Whenever you feel self-contempt, start listing the things you’re grateful for, and pretty soon you will feel better.
2. Be your best ally – Give yourself pep talks just like you would to a friend. Don’t agree with your negative self, stand up to her. Challenge her reasoning or the feelings she creates in you. If you keep challenging her, she may start shutting-up. For example, if you feel stupid instead of saying things like “I’m so stupid…”, ask yourself why? Why are you stupid and then ask yourself, how can you be smart instead? These higher order question activates your left brain and will bring clarity to your feelings.
3. Accept your strengths and weaknesses – Instead of resisting or fighting who you are, come to peace with yourself. Say yes to every part of your life, and from that place, you will make decisions that will move you in the right direction. Remember as a human being you have both strengths and weaknesses and you need them both to fully experience life.
4. Water your own grass – Instead of wasting time comparing your path to someone else’s, spend it investing, creating, and caring for your own. If you are busy minding your own business, you won’t be concerned with keeping up with the jones.
5. Don’t make decisions based on the fear of not measuring up – Those choices will invariably lead you in the wrong direction. For example, don’t just take a job so you can feel like you’re making a much as your friends. Don’t have a baby just because all your friends are having babies. Instead, make decisions based on things you value, things that are important to you.
Whenever you focus on what other people have that you don’t, you give away your power and your confidence. So, take back your power from all the people, places, and situations where you’ve left it and bring it back to you. Accept and be confident in who you are. Focus on watering your own grass and building your own path. Find the confidence inside yourself to be the best that you can be and share that with the rest of the world.
Join us next week for the next episode of Divas Talk on www.facebook.com/groups/OptometryDivas!