By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service.
Sometimes comparing yourself to others, especially famous people or very successful ones, is a surefire way to make you feel like you are not enough. If you compare yourself to some poor unfortunate soul living in a cardboard box under an overpass, it could make you feel like you’re doing okay, but it still won’t make you feel better about yourself. On the other hand, going to that underpass with a bag of groceries will surely make you feel like you have done a good deed, and that’s the kind of feeling that counts.
There will always be slackers, and there will be others who are wildly more successful than you’ve ever dreamed of being. You have your own special blend of secret sauce, and once you perfect the recipe, the world will be begging for more. Comparing yourself to others just confuses what really matters.
I have always envied guys with great hair, as I have very little. Years ago I even bought a hairpiece, thinking that it would make me better looking and therefore more appealing to other people. But it never felt right, and people who have known me forever kept looking at me more closely than was comfortable. The new look lasted about a week, though I’ve kept the hairpiece safely stored in a box under the bed (I wouldn’t want to scare my housekeeper).
Yes, there is always someone with more money and a bigger house, someone more popular and better looking (and they also probably drive an awesome car), but there is so much more to life and to who you are. Your good qualities will outshine anything the rich and famous could buy. People love you because you are a nice person, not because you buy them things or take them places.
Who you are is enough, but if you don’t feel that way about yourself, you need to find a way to get there. Being there for those who are less fortunate will make you feel great about your life, and it’s a great place to start.
Another idea is to ask the people in your life who love you to take the time to chat with you about what they like about you. I know it sounds like a strange conversation, but hearing from others that you are a good person, that you are smart, lovable and attractive can make a difference in how you feel about yourself.
If you continue to compare yourself to others, it will be hard to feel good about yourself. If you dwell on what others have and what’s missing from your own life, it may even send you into a depression. It’s better to remember the compliments you have gotten in your life and repeat them to yourself. This little exercise can really give you a lift. If you want to make the exercise even stronger, write down these compliments and also write down the things about yourself that you like.
Accepting that you are more than good enough is a powerful step in moving your life forward, because it gives you the confidence you need to tackle new tasks and create what it is that you really want for yourself.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” )