Do You Compare Yourself To Others?
Comparison and competition are a primitive fact of life - no matter how sophisticated we like to think we are!
We're all wired and programmed to compare ourselves to, and compete with others – in fact our very survival used to depend upon it.
If we were challenged to a fight or tribal battle we'd need to immediately assess how likely we were to win – then we have the fight, flight or freeze response!
We're still programmed to compete for food, shelter and a mate. No matter how sophisticated we've become we still carry that primitive conditioning, and we feel envious of others whom we see as doing better than we are.
However, it's what we tell ourselves about how we match up, and how well we're doing against any competition that matters.
Our bodies release the feel-good chemical Serotonin when we feel dominant and superior, and we are motivated to keep feeling this way.
On the other hand when we feel inferior we increase our levels of the stress hormone Cortisol – which is harmful to the mind and body if it's around for too long.
Remind yourself that as a mammal your brain is making these comparisons as if your life still depended upon it – but it doesn't nowadays!
Everyone you know is also a mammal and comparing themselves to others too.
When you notice that you are comparing yourself unfavourably to someone, simply say to yourself...'Oh, this is my primitive brain comparing me to other mammals - it's not the current reality.'
If people try to make you feel inferior, it's because they need to top up their own Serotonin levels, and they haven't realised they can do that in different ways than trying to be 'one-up' on someone else.
We can give ourselves those lovely Serotonin rewards by realistic self-appraisal of our own positive qualities and talents, our self-compassion, self-forgiveness, and loving self-talk.
We also help ourselves to feel good when we communicate with others in an empathic and considerate way - so that they don't feel put down, patronised or inferior.
If you look for people who have done better than you then you will always find them. You get what you seek and expect.
Don't use that envy to your detriment. Instead use it to inspire you to do great things for yourself!
Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR
www.maxineharley.com - helping women to recover from their childhood experiences and the affects these have had upon their present and future
www.maxineharleymentoring.com - helping women to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours - to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better in their lives!
www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk - a series of 10 online self-help workshops including one called 'How To Be More Confident' - which also covers self-esteem and assertiveness, as this might be affecting the way you see yourself