Why You Should Never Compare Yourself To Others

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It often comes up in my sessions with my clients that they are constantly comparing themselves to other people.  They compare themselves to how successful other people are, how they look compared to other people and what their weaknesses are compared to others strengths.

 

In an interview with Joe Buck, Kerri Walsh Jennings said,

 

“I don’t want to be better than you or her or him-I want to be better than I am right now.”

 

Kerri goes on to tell this story about how she was participating in a running event and she was behind another runner.  Her family was yelling at her to catch up to the other runner ahead of her and she said that she “had nothing left in the tank.”  She ended up finishing third in the race and her family asked her after the race, “why didn’t you run harder?”  Her response to them was, “I gave everything that I had.  I wasn’t worried about him.  I was just doing me and I’m okay with that.”

 

She also said in the interview, that she figured out that to compare herself to other people got her nowhere and in fact it made her miserable and it made her feel weak.  To her, success is that internal satisfaction that she did her best.

 

What Kerri said during this interview resonated with me because in my opinion, she is one of the top athletes in the world and she has been so successful as an athlete.  I’m always telling my clients (athletes, performers, students, etc) not to compare themselves to others because it isn’t helpful rather to compare yourself to yourself.  Set your own personal goals and expectations and be proud of yourself when you accomplish those.  It will be a lot more helpful to do that than to compare yourself to other people because you are setting yourself up to feel bad about yourself which ultimately negatively affects how you perform.  If you try to only compare yourself to yourself then you will most likely find it to be significantly more helpful and you will feel much better about yourself in the long run.  So, next time you find yourself comparing yourself to others, try to stop that thinking and start thinking only about you and what you want to accomplish.

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Kimberly Wagner, Psy.D. PSY 25460
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