The well known saying:
“Comparison is the thief of joy” is true. You will either feel superior when you are better off than some and inferior when you are worse off than others. Neither is a good place to be. How we feel about ourselves should not be based on where we stand in relation to others. We should not be using others as our yardstick because then we risk the danger of making them our idol.
As a teenager, around 15 I had a friend who I idolised. She was confident, pretty, popular, academic and creative – basically everything I was not. I would watch the way she spoke to peers with ease whilst I struggled socially, generally preferring to speak to people on a one to one basis. She knew how to push herself forward and remain visible whilst I stayed very much in the background. I tried to become more outgoing and it lasted all of a week. I did not know it then but I was an introvert, preferring solitude and a lot of time alone to gather my thoughts. I was also ridiculously shy. I cannot remember exactly when but it may have been the first year of college when I stopped comparing myself with this friend. I stopped beating myself up that I was not more like her and began to accept myself. Making new friends at college also helped.
Unless we are very close to someone, we only see what they present whether in person or on social media. People still hold back on parts of their lives they do not wish to share (me included) and this is fine. It would therefore be naive of us to believe we know the ins and outs of someone’s life when really we only see snippets here and there and rarely the whole picture.
Comparing ourselves with others brings no benefit. Admiring others who inspire us is healthy but going on to weigh up their life with yours is unhealthy and will lead to discontentment. Resentment can trickle in unbeknown to the other person who is busy getting on with their life as should you
What are your views and experiences of comparison?
Many are plagued with doubt and the inability to trust their own judgement. This could be due to low self-esteem, past failures, or criticism. When we doubt ourselves and our abilities it is difficult to step out into new opportunities. Doubt can hold us bound, causing us to second guess ourselves. Have you ever been in a situation where you begin to question your actions when there is no evidence to suggest you are in the wrong or made an error? I have – it was crippling and chipped away at my self-confidence.
I have learnt not to yield to doubt by ensuring where possible that I have enough information to hand when starting a task or project. I tend to doubt myself when I am not well informed. Unfortunately I cannot control every situation I find myself in therefore I must learn to deal with my attitude towards doubt. It always serves me to remember that no one person knows everything. No one person has the answers. Many succeed through trial and error as they are not fearful of making a mistake.
Look at the entrepreneurs of their time, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs – they did not arrive to success without failing along the way. They also took risks which meant having the confidence to push forward with their ideas and plans.
When we doubt ourselves, others will do the same. When we are bold in our actions it installs confidence in those around us. People will struggle to believe in you if you do not believe in yourself.
Tips on dealing with doubt:
1. Accept that you are doubtful- you cannot deal with an issue if you do not first acknowledge it exists
2. Stop underestimating your abilities and note down your skill set – we take many of our skills and expertise for granted as we do them daily. They become a part of us.
3. Take on the new opportunity/project and decide to master it as you go along.
To round up, doubt can hinder you if you allow it. The feelings of uncertainty will come but you can choose to take a step in the right direction.
How do you dealt with self-doubt?
How would you encourage others who struggle in this area?
Forgiveness is a touchy subject as many have endured terrible experiences in which they have suffered hugely. There are acts people have carried out that are truly abhorrent and in my eyes there is no coming back from. However, I do not have the right to dictate who should forgive and who deserves to be forgiven. In my life I have been on the receiving end of cruelty by words and actions. I too have dished out harsh words and carried out actions which have hurt others.
Choosing to forgive is more about you than the other person. In some circumstances the other person has no idea you are even holding anything against them. They are getting on with their life, oblivious that the words they flippantly spoke ten/twenty years ago are impacting on you. Even if they are aware of their actions, you can choose not to be bound by the past. You are unlikely to feel like forgiving and will find reasons why you are within your right not to. Forgiveness starts with intention. It must be deliberate. If we allow our feelings to lead the way, we will fail to do so.
I have had to forgive in order to move on with my life, not for the other party but for me. I no longer wanted to be bound by the past and remunerate what was said, what was done, how I felt – it was exhausting. In some circumstances I took years to forgive and the journey was long and hard but I arrived at this point. On reflection I can admit the unforgiveness ate at me, it made me resentful, angry and miserable. I spent years asking why my life panned out as it did. I was deeply unhappy throughout my teenage years because of several situations I has no control over. I smiled and laughed but inside I was broken. I learnt to hide it – probably far too well which affected me emotionally.
When we are betrayed, hurt, abused or overlooked we should not dismiss the emotions as they are real. Deceiving ourselves will not bring any form of healing. I believe we have a responsibility to remove ourselves (where possible) from the company of people who mean us harm. We must look after ourselves and our well being.
To round up, forgiveness will bring you freedom in your mind and loose you from past ties. It will enable you to live in the here and now rather than the past. It will enable you to shake off the old you and embrace the new you. It will enable you to have an element of joy and peace.
Do it for yourself even if not for the other person.
Do you struggle with forgiveness choosing to hold onto it or do you easily forgive?