Comparing ourselves to others is something we do more than we realize. We do it without knowing it. We do it intentionally. It’s never a fair comparison. It really is always an apples and oranges comparisons. The truth is, we know ourselves well. We may know others pretty well, but nowhere near as well as we know ourselves.
Comparing ourselves to others takes several different forms. In essence, it is asking the question, “How well do I measure up to you?” We ask this question to determine whether we’re acceptable or not. Do I measure up to a rather arbitrary standard? We choose others to measure ourselves against based only on what we see – which is only part of reality.
Comparisons Look Like This
Bubba Watson is one of my favorite golfers. I love to play golf. However, I don’t measure up when Bubba Watson is my standard. He hits the ball much farther than me, much more accurately than me, and his scores are much better than mine. I can never measure up to that. Could I ever get close? Maybe. However, I don’t want to try. Here’s why…
To attempt to play golf like Bubba Watson would mean spending many hours a day practicing, being taught, and re-learning the game of golf. While that sounds like fun for a little while, I’m not willing to do it. It’s simply not important enough to me.
I don’t know for sure, but I bet I know more about mental health than Bubba Watson and I probably have quite a bit more to offer as a counselor than he does. What does that mean for Mr. Watson? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
No one can be you. You may not be the best at being anyone else but you will always be the best you.
Why am I talking about golf when we started talking about comparisons? Because we have to answer the question, “Why does it matter?” For most of us, we’re not professional athletes. Therefore, we’re not actually competing against anyone except ourselves. Wanting to improve is one thing. Comparing ourselves to other unique persons with different interests, experiences, talents, and abilities is absurd.
You be You…They be Them
No one can be you. You may not be the best at being anyone else but you will always be the best you. Why spend energy trying to match someone else? You are you. Be that!
It is important that we give ourselves permission to be who we are. This is where we can do the most good, feel the best about ourselves, and accomplish the most. God made you with a certain set of characteristics. He did the same for others. Stop trying to be them. At the same time, don’t expect others to be you. If your comparing of yourself to others and looking down on others because they’re not you.
The bottom line is, you can only be you and everyone else can only be themselves. Spending time and energy expecting ourselves to be someone else and expecting others to be us is a total waste. You have a unique set of interests, experiences, and abilities. Be the best you that you can be and be cool with that.
What ways have you wasted energy comparing yourself to others? Feel free to comment. We would love to hear from you!