Question of the weekWaaaaay before the toddler was born when I was still *gasp* in my 20s I compared myself to others A LOT. Maybe it’s a part of growing up. Maybe it’s a byproduct of insecurity. Maybe it’s just a natural thing to do as we try to define who we are as individuals.

I remember being at the beach asking the husband to size me up (literally) to other women at the bar. Was I thinner? fatter? uglier? prettier? Everything superficial of course. I’m not proud of this. Frankly, I can’t believe I’m confessing but it truly is a reflection of where I was at that time in my life. Self-conscious. Insecure. Unhappy.

Do I still do it? yeah… a little. I catch myself. I’m not going to lie. But now that I’m a little bit older. A little bit wiser and a Mom I tend to get over it and fast. I’ve learned in my (almost) 33 years that I am who I am. I can do what I can do. And that it’s all O… K…

I also have learned, mostly through observation, that everyone has their own issues, experiences, genes, talents, ideas, problems, motives, etc. and that those issues, experiences, genes, talents, ideas, problems, motives, etc. have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.

My fellow geeks may know this quote…

Resistance is futile.

(don’t know it, don’t worry some other geek will point out where it’s from in the comments I’m sure) ;~)

I’d like to change it to

Comparison is futile.

We get no where when we compare. It’s pointless and can only serve to make us unhappy with ourselves, our bodies and our own achievements.

“Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people” -Nido Qubein

That’s pretty powerful stuff. It puts a lot into perspective for me and I must admit, since I stopped comparing myself with others so much I’ve been able to set forth and achieve goals I never dreamed possible. I try to look internally for validation instead of externally and that’s made me a much more confident, secure, happy person.

What about you? Don’t leave me hanging out on a limb. Fess up. Are you guilty of comparing yourself to others?

P.S. I’d like to thank Emily for inspiring this post. She *thinks* she was mean and bitchy but I found her honesty refreshing. Sometimes I fear my intention of inspiration will be misinterpreted as merely showing off. It’s a fine line that has me question myself sometimes.

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  • http://greenappleaday.wordpress.com/ Debbie (Green Apple A Day)

    I must admit that sometimes I do compare myself to others. However, once I started to feel more comfortable in my own skin I found that I didn’t compare as much, but I am still guilty!

  • Lynette S

    Great post Roni! I used to compare myself more frequently to others, but as i have gotten older, I realize that it’s not worth it, even though it comes across as harmless enough, i think it’s just another way of beating yourself up.

  • http://www.kclanderson.com/blog KCLAnderson (Karen)

    I agree with Debbie and Lynette and can relate. I find that when I start comparing I stop being myself and people (myself included LOL) seem to like me more when I am just being me. Anyway Roni, I have asked my husband those very same questions so you’re not alone!

  • http://slowdeepbreaths.blogspot.com WannaBeSkinny

    Lately, my sis-in-law and I have been meeting to take my mom-in-law to doctor. On those days, I scrutinize how I dress. She is tall, blonde (though not natural) and SKINNY and looks like she just stepped out of a fashion magazine. I am SHORT and CHUNKY and my hair is plain and I’m pale (though I don’t want the leathery skin). I hate those days, I feel so plain and inadequate and SHORT. It’s insecurity. I like to think cause of my weight I’m insecure, but my lack of height and my goofy eyes and my paleness will never go away so I doubt my insecurities will go away.

    I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that.

  • Katrina

    Sooooo guilty of this! I often don’t celebrate my accomplishments like running three miles or losing 30 lbs because I think, well that person runs marathons like every weekend and they lost over 100 lbs! I have to remind myself that is their journey not mine. Even though I am thinner now I still look at other women’s bodies and think, they are in better shape, have a flatter stomach, etc. Your post is a good reminder that I need to knock it off!!

  • Sheila

    Roni…Heck yeah, I compare myself to others…I try not to, but I do at times. Like you, as I have gotten older, I have really toned that down quite a bit. I used to compare myself to others to make ME feel better, whether it was my weight, how I did in a sport or whatever, but all that did was really give me a false sense of self confidence. Now I try to keep “blinders” on and only worry about me and what I am doing! =) BTW…resistance is futile came from a Star Trek the Next Generation episode where Captain Jean Luc Preshard was a “borg”…from one geek to another =)

  • http://neatokeen.blogspot.com/ kate

    well said! i try not to compare, but i tend to compare to others AND my own (often overly ambitious) goals. sometimes it’s motivational – most of the time it is probably a not very nice thing to do to myself. However, i too have noticed i am much nicer to myself and really care a lot less what other people think as i get older. I think some of this comes from comparing myself to others i admire. Like when i see very confident, striking, successful people and they are TOTALLY not at all meeting whatever standard i am holding myself to. These folks show me that you can be awesome just being who you are… :) i sigh and am happy and cut myself some slack and am better for it!

  • http://www.youdbesoprettyif.com Dara Chadwick

    Roni, I love the quote by Nido Qubein and it was *exactly* what I needed to hear today. So thank you for that!

    As for comparing myself to others, yes — I did it for years. I don’t want to anymore and have gradually (and I do mean gradually) come to a place where I don’t. But sometimes I slip..and then I remind myself that everybody has a story. And the way something looks from the outside, whether it’s appearance, lifestyle, success, etc. is often the result of a story that we don’t know.

    I love that you made me think about this!

    Great blog, by the way.

  • http://www.foodfoodbodybody.wordpress.com Foodie McBody

    “Comparisons are odious.” I always try to remember that quote. It means that we are hating ourselves or others and I do not think we will ever find true peace or satisfaction on that road. I think it’s an addiction, like certain foods or gossip. I know I’m guilty of falling into that trap but whenever I can step away from it I feel so much better.

  • http://oppositelife.blogspot.com Pubsgal

    Hoo yeah. I know what you mean, in both ways. In fact, I had to remind myself–after reading your last post–to focus more on my next 5K time goal rather than mope that I hadn’t accomplished that particular time goal even though I’ve been running for nearly a year now. (*sigh*…repeats mantra to self: “I am a grown-a– woman…I am a grown-a– woman…”) There are a gazillion factors that can make one person’s time different from another’s, and a person could go nuts trying to compare.

    That said, I think readers know you’re not a “showing off” kind of person. It’s exciting when we do things we never thought we could do, and that excitement is fun to read about.

  • http://greendogwine.com AlliJag

    I do it all the time! I’ll pick out a girl and ask my husband – “Am I her size?” – it drives him nuts! It’s terrible, I know – so I’ve been doing it less, but it’s a hard habit to break! LOVE that last quote!

  • http://confessionsofacounterfeitfarmgirl.blogspot.com Susan McCorkindale

    Great post. I’m guity of comparing myself to others as well, though I’m getting better about it as I get older. I beat myself up less these days, and try to value my accomplishments more. It’s tough. But I try! Especially since I don’t want my kids to torture themselves this way. The quote was on the money, by the way. I may steal it for my Facebook page. Hope you don’t mind!

  • http://jerrellfam.blogspot.com/ Vanessa

    Roni – thank you. I constantly compare myself to others – professionally, in my parenting skills, or lack thereof, and physically. Very poor body image and insecurities in my work and home are the root cause I’m sure. The quote you’ve posted will be printed and pinned on the wall next to my desk.

    Thank you again!

    P.S. Gotta love the Borg!

  • http://www.blogtolose.com/profile/Rachel Rachel

    Yes.. I do. It’s something I have a problem with… I NEED to stop!!!

  • http://www.kerryscookingchronicles.blogspot.com/ Kerry

    Oh, yes! But not only do I compare myself to others, I compare myself to myself at a different point in my life and choose to see only the negatives. I used to be in better shape, I used to have a better social life, etc etc….. I catch myself lately thinking that I’d be happier if I was 10 lbs thinner and wearing a cute new outfit. Of course that’s not true, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking it.

  • Sandy

    Just today i read on someone else’s blog “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Maybe it is only comparing myself to how I felt last week. That is just as dangerous as comparing to other more accomplished people. I don’t think I do this with weight or appearance as much as I do it with accomplishments.

  • Natalie M.

    Comparing ourselves to others is natural… we all do it even if its unconsciously. What matters most is how we feel about ourselves at the end of the day. No matter how much comparing you do… only one face is going to stare back in the mirror and that’s a face that deserves a wink. Be comfortable in your own skin!

    Life is entirely too short to focus on such trivial things… I wish I had boobs like her.. or I wish I had thighs that didn’t jiggle. As the commercial says… love the skin you’re in!

    Great post Roni… insightful and fun. Btw Emily.. your comment wasn’t bitchy… it was honest and that’s a wonderful thing. Honesty afterall is the best policy

  • Kristin

    This posting really struck a chord with me because I am always comparing myself to others. I have really tried to stop comparing, but it’s so ingrained in how I think about myself that it’s a hard habit to break.

  • http://www.justrunjustlivejustbe.com justrun

    Yep, I’m guilty of it. And if not actual people, I compare myself to some ideal I have in my mind. Something I have to be in order to be liked, fit in, be successful, etc. I hate it, I really do. I’m getting better, but I’m not there yet.

  • http://www.EmpoweringLifestyle.com Debi

    Yep, I confess. I did the same and yes sometimes still do. I actually posted about same topic on Friday. http://www.empoweringlifestyle.com/75/figure-out-who-you-are-and-then-go-be-that-person-everyday

  • Jennifer

    Roni and Emily, God bless you both! I love all the honesty. I know we all do this. Some are just more honest with their selves and others. ;)
    I did this a lot more when I was in my twenties and less now in my 30′s. I think part of the deliverance for me was age and wisdom, but also I had an epiphany one day. ALL the comparisons and envy will NEVER change me into some one else. I am ALWAYS going to be me. And some one else comparing their selves to me will NOT change them into me. And do I really WANT to be some one else?? I just thought about this and decided I wanted to be the BEST ME that I could be. With my own ideals, goals, hopes, dreams, quirks, problems, joys, hang-ups, and everything else that makes me…well, me! :)
    Self acceptance feels like taking your first breath after holding it under water for years. Just the best!!! Good luck, every one!

  • Sabrina

    Of course I’ve compared myself to others, and I think women do it more then men or at least women are more vocal about it then men. I would do the same thing with my husband only I would ask him to compare with his ex-girlfriends ( psycho I know). This is something that I’ve really been trying to work on because I’m me and I do things my way and that’s okay.

  • Karen in Tally

    I do, but my abnormal psychology thrives on negative feedback. If I see that I’m better than those around me in some way, I tend to slack off. If I see that I’m behind those around me, I try harder and end up feeling better about myself. I am the hare in the old tortoise and hare story, except that I can’t run very fast!

  • Sandy

    I have just made the self-discovery that you do this less with age! I only find that I compare myself to others in a positive way. I don’t look as old as she does and it is no longer about body shape and weight. Just as vain but different focus now. To you 20s and 30s I would say believe everything you are reading about taking care of your skin. Start now to pamper your skin because it does lose elasticity and you can’t get it back.

  • McLauren84

    I really agree with Jennifer’s point. Not only do I compare my looks, personality and professional abilities with everyone around me, I use it to beat myself up about weight loss. I constantly feel sorry for myself “not being able to eat normally.” I have a vision of thin people never thinking too much about their diet and exercise habits, focusing all the negative energy on my own “shortcomings.”

    Like Jennifer, I’ve had to accept that I am me and will always be me. No amount of envy or jealously will change the fact that I am me. I can’t EVER be anyone else, as much as I sometimes wish I could. Accepting the fact that I have to figure out to be happy as myself has been a big step for me in my journey of self acceptance. I’ve still got a long way to go, but the first step is recognizing that comparisons only stoke the fire of negativity and hinder self love.

  • rollercoaster

    I definitely do this! I’m learning to judge how I’m doing by how I’m meeting my goals and how I’m feeling. It’s not surprising we do this because that’s how society has been 4 so long. Plus, if u have a sibling u compare! Can hardly help it!

  • Kelly

    I’m a long(ish) time reader, but I’ve never commented before… It’s so funny that you post this today, I’ve been majorly struggling with this for a long time, especially after this weekend. I actually ran my anniversary 5k the day before you did, with a goal of under 33 minutes (my first was beyond chaotic and didn’t have timing chips, so I came in around 38:30, I think). As I was running, I was convinced I was going too slow and that I wouldn’t make my goal, and I was actually rehearsing in my brain how I would tell everyone! Then the finish line clock came into view, and it’s under 31 minutes. I couldn’t believe it–I was ecstatic all weekend.

    Then, for some reason, I started thinking about how, for so many people, that’s a “beginner’s” time, and 10 minute miles are no biggie. When people asked how I did, I would preface it with, “Well, I’m a really slow runner, so…” I’ve gotta admit, I was having some Emily-like thoughts when I read your results. Happens every time I beat a goal or reach some milestone, without fail.

    You’re right, though… it’s RIDICULOUS. I don’t even know where I got these ideas about how fast “everyone else” runs. I beat my goal, by a pretty comfy margin. Last year, the race was HARD; this year, I just felt great afterward. I have so much to be proud of in my own progress. I’ll start enjoying my 30:39 finish again :-)

    Wow, I’m sorry this comment got so long… Great post! Please never censor your achievements here. They inspire more than anything!

  • http://www.emilyhenderson13.blogspot.com Emily

    Roni I can’t thank you enough for understanding where I was coming from with my comment. And it blows my mind to see just how many of us struggle with comparing ourselves to others. I guess it is just one of those human nature things that we have to consciously resist (or make your self sound like a bitter old woman like me LOL!)

    Kelly- I totally feel you! I had a GREAT run yesterday- I ran longer (time wise) than I normally do. When I mapped my run this morning I was disappointed to see that I had gone only 3.2 miles in 34:28…I just KNEW yesterday I’d run at least 3.5 miles!! But I’m trying not to get discouraged. I know realistically that the weather is putting a damper on my progress (do you know anything about the humidity in Georgia?!?)

    Roni I hope you don’t mind but because my website is private I’d like to leave my e-mail in case anyone wants to be “invited” to read my blog. It’s only private because I work for a rather large company & don’t want anyone digging up dirt on me from my archives! My e-mail is gahendersons at yahoo dot com

  • Tracy

    I work at a University and exercise at the gym on campus. There is an influx of new 17 year olds every year. I used to try to live up to that standard, but now at 35 I realize that I look great and all those 17 year olds are probably insecure and worried that their thighs look fat. I know I still compare in my mind, but I try not to verbalize it.

  • http://peregrineangels.blogspot.com Inny

    I do! Sadly, I compare myself with others all the time, and it’s not just my physical appearance. People who are smarter, more beautiful, richer, really anything upset me sometimes. I try to focus on what I have, although it’s not easy for me.

  • http://www.lunzygras.com lunzy

    I think we all do, unfortunately. But I have gotten a lot better. Mainly because a) I don’t have enough time to obsess about it and b) being a mom I’ve learned you can only so much. I also think I’m much better about not comparing when I’m actually working on my goals. I see that I’m in the process and feel okay about not measuring up. If I’m THINKING/wanting to doing something (workout, save money, etc.) I’m more likely to have a pity party if I’m not already taking action.

    That makes sense in my head, hope it does in the comments too ;) Thanks for the great post!

  • Karen

    I don’t usually, but just yesterday a friend and I were talking—she’s lost 100 pounds and I’ve lost 37 in the last year. We are just curious—what size *are* we?!! I have no idea what I really look like—I’ve gone from a 14 to a size 6 but have no idea what that looks like. I still feel big–so we decided we’d ask each other instead of our spouses who we look like! lol

    I’m in my 50′s and am not obsessed with my appearance any more, but I am loving being smaller—it’s been a long time since I was this weight. Comparing position, possesions, and stuff like that doesn’t interest me. Like I said, I am just curious about how I look—what I see in the mirror is probably different from what I actually am. So I think this is just a temporary mentality. :-)

    “They that compare themselves among themselves are not wise…” I want to be wise!

  • http://dani31608.blogspot.com/ Dani

    I try to refrain from making comparisons but it’s inevitable. I’m human and naturally flawed and sometimes those flaws eat at me. It doesn’t mean I can’t continue daily to rise above the constant comparisons though as I do realize those flaws make me who I am. Beyond that, the changes I make in my life, including being kinder to myself, are making me who I am slowly becoming.

    I don’t think that made sense to anyone but me! =P Love the Nido Qubein quote, for sure … added it to my own blog. Thank you!

  • Rollercoaster

    I had a last thought on this, I started thinking about how much we see things being compared in society. Does anyone read US Weekly…Who Wore It Better? Okay, they are comparing two and sometimes three women who are being PAID to look good and saying which of them looks better….how crazy is that?!?! Or how about those little cartoons where you have to compare the two and find differences? Quizzes in magazines to qualify how much of a perfectionist you are? Really anything that quantifies something asks you to compare. My point is that I think this is an engrained habit we all have so it’s totally normal to compare and yet so much healthier not to because comparing how much two different people improve their running time over a year is like comparing apples and oranges and sometimes deflates a great accomplishment.

    :)

  • Dana

    First I’d like to say that I love this article! Ok well yes I compare myself to others, too much. I’m 15 so I’m still growing up and still brain damaged; but I need to stop comparing. On the outside I try to appear confident, but on the inside I’m insecure, and I’m always comparing myself to others. I think I compare myself to ones I love the most, like sisters and friends. I hate to say it, but my confidence is very low. I’m working on it though! That’s why I wanted to read this article and I’d like to thank all who posted a comment and Roni for posting this article, THANKS!

  • Toni

    I compare myself all the time…it make me feel like”crap”. I recently saw someone who I new had it worse than me..in terms of finances, housing, car, etc….I compared myself to that person….I knew I had it better in all categories…….I felt like “crap” again….but I learned that looking for validation using these methods does not work. In other words I had it better than this other person and still had this emptiness. It proved to me that it has to come from within yourself…..

  • http://Roni Yvonne

    I tend to compare myself to others as well. This is one of my downfalls.

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