The Comparison Game and How to Cultivate a Secure Sense of Self
Has today’s age of social media made it easier to compare ourselves to others as we see posts of people at their best?
The Lord says, “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.”
In 1954, psychologist Leon Festinger hypothesized on how people form opinions about themselves. Festinger was the first to use the term Social Comparison which theorized that people feel the need to evaluate their opinions and beliefs. He believed that when people are “incapable of evaluating their opinions and beliefs, they tend to compare themselves with others.”
How we process information is also important. Let’s say you are running in a competition, or play a sport, or are an accomplished professional. Perhaps you might compare your own achievements with other professionals in your industry. This can have a positive or negative effect.
Your comparison to your teammate who has scored more goals or run more marathons might inspire you to try harder and have a positive effect on your personal and professional goals. If you allow this comparison to affect your self-esteem in a negative way and conjure feelings of self-doubt, this may sabotage your confidence or belief in yourself that you can be as successful as your counterpart.
What triggers can sabotage our self esteem?
Seeing ourselves through the eyes of others
Comparing our ideal-self with our real-self
Overlooking our strengths, our past accomplishments, and the value we bring
One way to counteract the negativity of comparing yourself to others is to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. You need to foster a secure sense of self. Begin by becoming more self aware of who you are, building positive and authentic relationships, and establishing a positive sense of self through your character traits, virtues, and core values.
If I were to compare myself to other life coaches, I can take a negative or positive view of myself and allow it to affect me adversely or to encourage me. I can say to myself, that coach has more experience, they are better coaches, or they make more money. I can also choose to believe in myself and know that God created me for a specific purpose and feel confident that He sends me the clients I am meant to coach, encourage, and empower to be their best. God alone gives me the confidence I need to be who He wants me to be. I can choose to believe in the lies that I am not good enough or I can believe in the One who created me and know that He has already gone before me and equipped me for the journey He has called me to live.
Here are some tools that you can use to cultivate a secure sense of self:
Make a list of your strengths, your accomplishments, and the value that you bring to yourself, to your company, and to your relationships
Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and be your biggest cheerleaders. Who do you have in your corner that not only sees the best in you, but also bring out the best in you?
Remind yourself that the journey God created for you is specific to you. He does not want you to compare yourself to others or to hinder the dreams or the calling He has placed upon your life. For you are fearfully and wonderfully made and only you can fulfill the calling He alone has placed before you.
Count your blessings and be grateful for the good in your life. Each of us had a different upbringing. We have different families, different friends, different homes, careers, and lives. Make a list of all of the good things in your life and give thanks, for every good thing comes from God.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, ask God, “How can I honor you today?” “What calling have you placed on my life?” “How can I shine your light so that others may see your glory?”
I am an eternal optimist and choose to see God’s best in me and in everything I do. God has already gone before me and He equips me for the journey every day.
I want to both challenge and encourage you to be proud of your own accomplishments and stay focused on your own development!
If you feel unfulfilled and unhappy with your life, you will be more likely to be preoccupied by what other people are doing or by what they have. Don’t let the lives of others distract you from what you should be doing in your own life. Comparisons deprive us of the joy the Lord has for us. It brings us resentment and it prevents us from fostering healthy relationships. It focuses on our weaknesses and it turns our focus away from what we can accomplish.
Is there something you know that you are called to do in your life, but you’ve been resisting it?
I want to encourage you to imagine: What if you stop comparing yourself to others and start accomplishing your dreams today?
How will you make YOU a priority and start investing in yourself and in your dreams, in what God has called you to do?
Ask yourself, what you want to achieve in 2019?
Why you want to achieve it and why you excited about this goal?
What steps will you take to make your dreams a reality?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8