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  • Sharon Borland

#38 Comparison – Swim in Your Own Lane



Is it time to embrace the incredible, unique individual you are? Swim in your own lane and enjoy seeing others swim well in theirs.


If you spent time on the suggestions from the last blog you might have noticed that you compare yourself to others quite often and that at least some of the time, the consequences can be unhelpful for you. If you’d like to take more control over comparisons that have a negative impact on you, here are a few considerations and suggestions that I’ve personally found helpful.


Comparison may be driven by fear, insecurity, sadness, anger, or something else. It can be tempting to consider or talk about comparison quite loosely, but it’s likely to be much more helpful to examine the specific circumstances in which you seem more prone to unhelpful comparison. For example, there might be particular social or work contexts. Or there might be certain people you either compare yourself with or who are around when you notice you’re comparing. And those people might be the people you’re comparing yourself with, or it could be that you’re more focused on the comparisons that others might be making with you. Whatever the context and circumstances, being in an enquiry is likely to begin to give you insights into what’s fuelling your comparison.


When we compare, we may be dealing with facts, but there are likely to be far more assumptions and interpretations. Many of those are unexamined, unquestioned, and untested, yet they fuel and feed decisions we take about ourselves and about others. Those decisions about ourselves are often about who we’re not. What if we started to focus on who we are – an extraordinary, created, unique and beautiful creation. Around us are other extraordinary, created, unique and beautiful people, but so much of our beauty is our uniqueness. I was never going to be a world high jump Olympian. At 5ft 3”, I would need springs on the bottom of my shoes! But even if I had been taller, I have no desire or passion to commit myself to becoming an Olympian. So, I celebrate the uniqueness of those athletes, without comparing myself. I am unique. You are unique. Comparing two unique things (people in this case) can get a bit tricky – for the very reason that they are unique.


Comparison can be seductive and devastating all at the same time. I can be seduced into believing that if only I was like ‘them,’ my life would be so much better. But I can never be them – back to our uniqueness – so I’m setup for a devastating trap. And they can never be you. You might be surprised to find that other people compare themselves to you and find themselves in the same trap. What if you focused on your uniqueness and created possibilities for your own life, not some version of ‘them’? What if you could start to notice and remind yourself how extraordinary you already are? Social comparison kills countless possibilities and dreams, and some of the source of that might be social media. What if you started to choose more intentionally what you looked at and who you followed? What if you started to see social media as a very small window into other people’s complex lives? Lives that are not always what they seem to be. There’s nothing wrong with seeking money, fame, social standing and popularity, but it seems to me that those things will never satisfy in the long run.


I’ve found that spending time being thankful for what’s good in my life can be really helpful. Try doing this regularly and write it down. Intentionally bring it to mind when you notice you’re being triggered by comparison. Find reasons to be grateful for having the people in your life who you were comparing yourself with. Ultimately, you have choice, but it’s likely you can introduce more choice in this area. It’s been my experience that the more I practised some of these things, the easier it started to be. You are incredible just as you are. You are chosen, loved, unique and beautiful. Why not start living from that foundation and leave behind the crushing disappointment of comparison.

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