View this post on Instagram
It’s easy to feel behind, overwhelmed, and distracted in today’s world.
It’s even easier to feel like we’re competing to succeed. We’re busy, we’re fast, and we can see millions of other people’s lives on a daily basis by looking on our phones.
Competition can be really good for us human beings, depending on our perspective and how we position ourselves. When we admire what others can do, it shows us what is possible. It can also stir us to go beyond what has already been done. It can motivate us. Thank you to all the people in the world who have stepped into the unknowns of life—and made things happen!
Sometimes though, we see others as “competition.”. We want what they have. Or we subconsciously (or consciously) think they are better than us. So, we either put ourselves down or we see the worst in them (oh, that green-headed monster).
It’s normal; it is part of being human. Many of us have felt the tickle of jealously or inadequacy in our lifetime! Generally, outside information such as social media or the company we surround ourselves with may be the cause of evoking comparison. But I believe it depends on us–entirely.
Our inner dialogue, beliefs, and how we have been molded from a young age, can influence how we see ourselves, and how we see ourselves compared to other people. Unhealed traumas, negative words and actions imposed on us from childhood, and even toxic (harmful) relationships later in life can impact our confidence levels.
When we continue to look outside ourselves for validation, we may end up viewing people as competition.
We need to address this if we want to live peacefully and flourish, while also having the ability to celebrate others. And yes, it’s possible! Even if we are in the same niche, business, or field.
When we are not worried about what others are doing, we become aligned with our inner being and our lives on a whole new level. It’s a calm, wholesome way to live. And we can serve people in a beautiful, healthy way.
The best part, that fearful, worried for the future, “what am I doing with my life” kind of anxiety—will probably decline.
I remember years ago feeling anxious, as if life was a race. I would never admit to myself that I was envious or competitive with other people because I prided myself on encouraging other people. Until I realised I was always worrying that I was behind.
Even if we think we are not jealous or competitive, because we aren’t acting out like mean girls, it may come out in other ways. Feeling like we are in a race against time, and seeing other people “ahead of us” can cause us to feel competitive.
When we are feeling competitive or behind, we may:
>> Feel sh*t after spending time on social media (could be for two reasons: time wasted or comparison).
>> Feel doubtful in our abilities, goals, aspirations.
>> Procrastinate or be unable to get moving (burnout).
>> Think negative thoughts toward someone who seems to “have it all.”.
>> Think negatively about ourselves.
>> Feel irritated by what they have or what they have achieved.
>> Avoid doing what we need to do, putting off our own dreams.
>> Feel anxiety, anxiety, and more anxiety.
>> Be unhappy or ungrateful for our own lives, what we have, and the people in our lives.
Why comparison is pointless.
When we experience comparison, competition, and feelings of inadequacy, what we’re really doing is racing against an imaginary component. Even if someone is living a lifestyle we admire, there really isn’t any way to fairly compare ourselves. We all have different experiences, families, upbringings, external influences, and other factors to take into consideration.
When studying psychology and comparing data, we would often look for outside factors that could influence results. They mattered because they could tell us whether a result was affected by an external factor that wasn’t part of our analysis.
When we compare ourselves to people, we don’t take into consideration all the factors of someone else’s life. The most important one being: every single one of us is uniquely different.
And our space on earth will be lived and experienced differently.
When we compare, we are being unfair to ourselves first. And then, unfair to those we compare ourselves to.
Again, it’s normal. During our youth, we’re most likely to feel this way while we are finding ourselves. When we feel stressed out, tired, or hormonal, we may feel vulnerable. When we see people “killing it” on social media, we may look at our own lives and think we’re missing out.
But our paths are unique to us.
By honouring our own steps, experience, and the destination we are walking toward, it can mimimise comparison and the feeling of discontentment.
Here some tips for focusing on our own lane and not worrying about anyone else:
1. Frequently visit nature and let the outdoors unravel the stress, worry, and noise.
In the quiet, we can hear thoughts that are working against us. We can also hear our truest selves. Our inner being will be chanting us on saying, “don’t worry about what they are doing.” Walking in nature also slows us down and allows us to appreciate the journey. It reminds us that life is about seasons, and perhaps, we have more seasons and things to learn before we reach certain goals and aspirations.
2. By spending less time focusing on other people, we have less time to compare.
Being committed to our own goals leaves little room to be worried about other people. When we enjoy our processes, and we dive into our lives with curiosity and a desire to learn, it’s amazing how time no longer matters. In fact, we don’t want to rush ahead anymore as the present moment is perfect the way it is.
3. The only person we need to compete with is our past selves.
This is not about viewing our past or old selves in a negative light. Instead, it’s about evolving, growing and sharpening our practices over time. Competition can sound like an aggressive word but it doesn’t have to be. We can compete with grace and kindness. Part of this is leaving the negative self-talk behind, not berating ourselves into action.
4. We need to focus on growth, not perfection.
The process is where the gold is at. The end results are far more rewarding when we have cherished the journey and looked for the lessons in the unravelling path. Often, when we enjoy the journey, we don’t worry too much about the end. Each day is filled with beauty, passion, and wonder. We also allow room for mistakes and acknowledgement of what we don’t know yet. Perfectionism no longer becomes our ultimate goal.
5. We need to be mindful of how much time we spend online.
Too much information and noise can be unhealthy for the soul and brain. It can leave us feeling tired, burned out and uninspired. We live in a “do-more” world but that doesn’t mean it’s wise to work or live this way. Being online or on technology too much, may cause us to feel rushed and anxious in our own pursuits. But it can also affect our productivity levels because the brain has a limited amount of daily power. A fantastic book that talks about our brain and productivity is Your Brain at Work by David Rock. Take a break, and if in need of inspiration, seek from nature, books, exercise, and music, instead.
6. It is okay to unfollow anything or anyone that does not inspire us to feel healthy and grounded.
We don’t need to explain ourselves or feel bad about unfollowing. It’s our life. It is important to be conscious about what we put into our bodies, but we also need to be mindful of what we allow into our minds. Unfollowing content that is causing anxiety or procrastination does not make us weak. When consuming information, focus on value and messages that inspire authenticity, wellbeing (well-being), and steadiness.
7. Lastly, perhaps that person, business, or idea that causes inadequacy or competitiveness is—a good thing!
We need to see others doing well so we know it is possible to break free and to do awesome things in life. Someone who runs ahead of the pack and shows us we’ll be fine conquering unknown territory, the voyages of our heart, the dreams that keep knocking on our door. We can turn that inadequacy and fear of being behind into motivation to move in the direction of our soul. And deepest desires.
Look in the mirror. She’s your only competition.