Competition is fun isn’t it? It makes things more enjoyable and pushes you to work harder and strive to be better. It can be a fun rivalry between friends, family members, or coworkers. Competition is what makes sports so fun to watch or weight loss challenges so successful. Everyone is aiming for one thing and one thing only, and that is to win.
I am such a competitive person with pretty much everything I do, well except for trivia (I would just rather not embarrass myself). In all other things though, I always want to be the best. I am competitive with my husband when we run, well and with pretty much everything else. We compete on who has the most cavities (I win), who our dogs listen to more (he wins with Huck, I win with Sawyer), or how fast we read a book and who finishes it first (he usually wins at this one too because I get too distracted to finish...surprise, surprise). I get competitive with my Fitbit friends daily with my steps or with my family or friends playing boardgames. When I go to the gym, I am secretly competing with the people in the exercise classes to be the one who is working the hardest. When I am running beside someone on the treadmill, I secretly want to be the one who is running the longest. The truth is I hate to lose. HATE IT. Don’t we all though? Ohhh the struggle.
Sometimes we get so caught up in competing that it is like we are never happy with who we are or where we are in our lives. Instead of being happy for the people who tend to be better at some things than we are, we want to be better than they are. This is something that I have really struggled with and still do daily. Social media does not help either. In a world where everything seems to revolve around how pretty your pictures are on Instagram and how many likes you get, I start to think “How on earth am I supposed to compete with all these smart, beautiful, creative people out there?”. It seems impossible. Pinterest makes it even worse with the sensory overload of so many creative people out there with all these amazing ideas and then you realize you have not thought of one of them.
The reality though is IT IS OKAY! It is okay that you don’t get the most likes on Instagram or that you aren’t creating all of these clever ideas on Pinterest (Pinterest is there for you to steal all the great ideas anyways, right?).
Competing leads to comparing...comparing ourselves to other people and their talents. God gave every single one of us different talents and skills. He created us to be different so that we can all work together with our unique abilities, teaching others and learning from one another.
We aren’t all created to run a marathon, be a fitness model, do motivational speeches in front of thousands of people, create a software database, or be an actress on the big screen. Most of these are pretty crazy to even think about and all of these ideas pretty much scare the crap out of me, except for maybe the first one.
So what do I do to stop myself from turning a healthy competition into a comparing battle on my mind?
1. Step Away From The Social Media
Social media is a great resource to connect with others and to also learn from them. The problem is that if you are not in the right mindset, it can really affect your self-esteem. We have all been there. That moment you are scrolling through your newsfeeds and see all the best parts of everyone’s life unfolding, watching people eating healthy and working out, all the while you are still sitting in your pajamas chowing down on some donuts. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has a day of pantsless grubbing it’s just that nobody usually posts about it. STEP AWAY FROM THE MEDIA and have a reality check.
2. List All Your Best Qualities
Sometimes we need a reminder of how great we really are. While you’re away from Instagram and Facebook, write down a list of all the things you are great at and all the things you have accomplished! Maybe even ask your best friend or husband what you are great at or what qualities they love best about you (because sometimes it is hard for us to talk ourselves up). Remember to stay confident in the abilities that you have.
3. Choose Praise Over Jealousy
One of the most therapeutic things I do when I start to compare myself to others is to be supportive instead of envious. If ever I catch myself getting a little jealous on social media, I start to go a little “like” crazy to people’s photos. It is way easier to be encouraging and admire these people than to try and find something negative about them.
Let’s all remember that we are all made to be different. We are all experts at something but that does not mean it has to be the same thing. Remember how great you are in all your uniqueness and try and be supportive instead of envious of those who may be a little more talented than we are in other areas.
"Be yourself; everyone else is taken” -Oscar Wilde
BUT SERIOUSLY....BE YOURSELF! Stop trying to be someone else or be better than someone else. Stop turning a friendly competition into World War III on your mind because you drive yourself mad trying to compare yourself with other people. Comparing steals our joy and it is time that we quit letting it. BE YOU and be proud of it!