We’re all guilty of it to some degree – it can be so tough to stop comparing yourself to others when we should focus on our own stories. Whether it’s our careers, belongings, friends – it’s easy to do, especially if you’re having trouble with accepting yourself and who you are.
Everyone learns to accept themselves at different times in their lives. Sometimes it takes well into adulthood to see yourself clearly, without focusing too much on everything else around you. What is it you want out of life? Who do you want to be? What mark do you want to make on the world? These are all questions that you’ll eventually be able to answer on your journey of self-discovery, and I mean an actual journey to a foreign place.
You’ve probably heard of the book “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s about a woman who had everything a woman her age should want – the career, the husband, the home – only she didn’t feel happy or fulfilled, so she set out to explore and discover herself through her journey to India, Italy and Bali. “Eat Pray Love” has become an iconic bestseller and has inspired and empowered millions of people across the world because it so successfully conveys the journey of self-discovery.
The story may sound too extreme for your lifestyle, but sometimes that’s what it takes to really find yourself. You must step outside of your comfort zone, and I can personally attest to the fact that in doing so, you will discover things about yourself you never knew.
So, while your friends may be married with children, but you’re not, don’t let it drive you and your personal goals. Write your own story on your own terms. Stop comparing yourself to others. I find that my most prominent moments of self-discovery have come from travel. It gives you a chance to step outside of your comfort zone, immerse yourself in something new, and ultimately it forces you to find your own way. Read on for three important things you’ll learn from traveling on your own.
When you travel on your own to an unfamiliar location, you don’t know the people or your surroundings at all. This leaves you vulnerable, but in a good way. You’re left to find your own way, in your own way, without following a script. This script is often created from the comparisons we make to our friends and other people around us. Stop comparing yourself to others, and use your energy to focus on how you can become the best version of yourself.
I love not knowing anyone because it helps me to feel comfortable in my own skin. You don’t know their stories or their lives, so there’s less temptation to compare. Once you see that people will love you for who you are, you will stop constantly comparing yourself to others.
Comparison often leads to jealousy because naturally, we want what we can’t have – or can we? Understand what drives you to feel like you aren’t enough. If social media is the root of all your insecurities and doubts, stay off it or at least limit your time on it. You may seem concerned about material things, having the best career and the perfect family because you see your friends with these things, but you should be focused on your own well-being – not theirs, so stop comparing yourself.
When I travel alone, I see more of the things that really matter. I don’t worry about having the best or being the best, and sometimes – depending on where you go – you’ll see that there are people out there who have little to nothing but are happy. You can be too. When I travel, I don’t bring very little because I find that I don’t need things to be happy. It’s experiences, relationships and my journey that truly make me happy.
Focus on reasons you should be happy, and don’t get caught up in reasons you shouldn’t –the ones that come from constant comparison to others. If you still feel inadequate, figure out healthy ways to make positive change. So, you feel like your best friend is more successful than you? Brainstorm ways you can become more successful. Your brothers and sisters all have kids, but you don’t. Focus your energy on getting yourself to where you need to be to have kids and the other things you want in life.
Whatever it is you do, take the focus off of everyone else, and bring it back to you. Everything will happen when it should. Turn any jealousy you feel into opportunity, otherwise, it can poison your life.
I always find when I travel alone I’m better able to refocus any negative energy I have on the good things in life or things that need work. There are fewer distractions and more time with myself. I like to use this time to reevaluate things to make sure they are where I want them to be.
We all have our own sets of goals and dreams, but it’s easy to lose sight of them in times of stress, anger or sadness. It’s during these times that we begin to pay too close attention to the things around us, but not ourselves. We all go through peaks and valleys in life, but don’t let the valleys define you. When you find yourself in the valley, change your mindset, perspective and approach to life, and change your “have tos” to “get tos.”
A complaining voice will only hinder your growth, but a grateful heart will help you see each day as an opportunity to make it better than the last. Whether you realize it or not, your journey is an important one, and it’s in your hands.
Comparison to others is inevitable, and we are all guilty of it. Learn how to recognize the condition so you can stop it in its tracks. What others do, say, have, etc. doesn’t matter. What does is yourself and your happiness. The sooner you realize that you are where you’re supposed to be, the better off you’ll be.
Everyone has their own story. Own yours and no one else’s and live in your truth. If you’re having trouble finding that truth, go on a journey to a place where you don’t know anyone. Watch yourself grow into who you really are. Time with yourself is the best way to learn to accept who you are and stop comparing yourself to others.