Comparisonitis is, unarguably, a real thing. It is an awful modern illness a lot of us have experienced, you know, at least once or twice a year.
And there is nothing more awful than comparing your wonderfully unique self with another equally wonderfully unique person. I’m sure we all know this. Deep deep down.
But we just.can’t.help.it.
Comparing yourself to the people around you is almost as easy to do as enjoying a glass of Coke. Or five. You know too much of that carbonated drink is not good for your health but you keep chug-chug-chugging on, anyway.
By now, you’ve probably heard this a million times but I’m still going to say it: You get zero benefits from comparing yourself to other people. It never turns well.
And as Taylor Swift once wisely said, Never ever ever.
But I recently came across something on Twitter that you can do instead.
Anoosha is one of the many (many) artists I look up to and she made a thread where she shared her art journey and career path. In it, she cautioned young artists against career comparison and she recommended something mind-blowing instead:
Instead compare yourself to yourself; do you feel any different from last year? Do you feel like you’ve grown, (artistically or just as a person). Focus on self-progress rather than trying to catch up to someone else’s journey when that person has totally different circumstances
— anoosha syed (@foxville_art) April 17, 2018
Reading that, yo, you wouldn’t believe how I reacted. I was just… BLOWN AWAY!
Because to me, that is the perfect way to turn the Comparison Game around. And you can actually do it in the healthiest way possible.
To see that you have grown, one way or another.
And the best thing about comparing your present self with your past self? You’re super focused on self-progress that you have zero time to compare yourself and think about playing catch up with the rest of the world. #Winning!
Here are a 3 things you can compare your present self to with your past self:
1) Your Creative Work
How have you grown, artistically? If you draw, do you have better grasp at anatomy? Or if you’re a writer, do you write better prose? Or maybe even piecing a better analogy?
There’s this meme in the online art community where artists and illustrators share works they did 3 years ago, a year ago and now. It is a super awesome way to see the growth of their art styles. Try doing this in your own creative field.
If you’re a writer, compare what you’ve written from 3 years ago, a year ago and now.
If you’re a photographer, put those three photographs side by side.
This meme is absolutely applicable to almost all kinds of creative field – if not all! – and will visually present to you how much you’ve grown over the past three years.
2) How You React or Respond
Are you calmer and more levelheaded at dealing with conflicts now? Or maybe you are no longer afraid to speak up your mind and are able to disagree with someone’s opinions without being impolite or rude?
Do you say ‘thank you’ more than ‘sorry’? And for my fellow socially awkward potatoes out there, are you slaying those socializing events? (Why yes, actually saying something as coherent as “Yes, it is!” to a total stranger, is huge progress in my book!)
Take some time to self-reflect. Recall a recent experience. Consider how you felt at the time and try to see it in a third person’s point of view. What would younger you have done? Did you respond with more love and respect now than if you faced a similar scenario then?
3) Your Lifestyle
Do you eat more fruits and veggies? Do you no longer wheeze after climbing two flights of stairs? (Honestly, give yourself a pat on the back, that’s great!) Do you no longer give in to your impulsive buying tendencies? Do you make procrastinating work for you? Are you more productive?
I know firsthand that these can be suuuper hard to do. (Especially that not wheezing part.) But it is definitely not impossible!
4.) Your Habits
Are there old bad habits you had that you no longer do? Because omg that’s so great! Bad habits are hard to stop, as they always say. Have you created better habits recently and they now come as easy as breathing to you?
Habits are one of the foundations of someone’s lifestyle. If you have good habits established into your daily routines, this will ultimately define what your lifestyle is. For instance, I used to stay up until 3AM. And so I’d spent most of my commute to and from school asleep. This was kinda okay back in high school, but come college, it was awful. I was perpetually tired and sick. And so I forced myself to go to sleep as late as 10PM so I’d still have adequate amount of sleep. Now, I wake up bright and early and ready to tackle on the day’s work!
Being able to look back on how you were before and comparing it to how you are now helps in boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence. This is proof that you’ve gone so far and have progressed.
And remember: progress comes in many shapes and sizes.
There’s always progress as time flows by. ALWAYS. It’s damn near impossible to be at a total stand still for a year or two. At the very least, a morsel of you have changed because of the things you’ve experienced and what you’ve taken from those experiences. All you’ve got to do is see them for the progress that they are.
What have you achieved recently? Do you have any other tips on how to track your progress?
Share them all below so we can celebrate with you and learn from you at the same time! 🙂