Stop the Comparisons! Share Experiences and Positive Talk


Don't compare yourself to others

“I would appreciate it if you did not compare me and my situation to that. We are different people.”

My daughter uttered these phrases to me. She dropped a truth bomb that was hard for me to swallow. She had valid points.

Dang! I was comparing my child and her situation to another one that is entirely different and unfair to her reality.

Why am I doing that? I always hated being compared to someone else when I was her age.

Who am I kidding? I loathe the comparisons now as a middle-aged mom.

Every person and every situation is uniquely different. My experiences from the past helped shape me, but my daughters are different. I’m not the same parent that my mom was. My kids are not me. The whole world is different now.

I didn’t live through a pandemic as a kid. I had chickenpox, and that wasn’t scary.

I didn’t have lockdown drills at school. We just had fire drills.

I didn’t have a cell phone to track my movements. “Come home when it gets dark,” was my verbal warning (app).

Why do any of us compare ourselves and our situations to other people?

banana, apple, avocado and lemon

Why should we stop comparing ourselves to others? I can think of several reasons:

  • On social media, we get glimpses into other people’s lives. And those things may not be factual.
  • When we compare ourselves to others, we can affect our self-esteem negatively. It could result in feelings of worthlessness or conceit.
  • When we compare ourselves to others, we put more worth in one area or person than what should likely be there.
  • All interests and abilities are significant and varied. We can’t all be alike.
  • When we compare ourselves to others, the result can lead to resentment. By comparing my daughter, she became bitter toward me rather than us talking openly about relationships and fostering communication.
  • When we compare ourselves to others, that comparison stays with us longer than we want. Feeling not good enough stays longer than moments of success and happiness too.
  • When we compare ourselves to others, we feel forced into a timeline or benchmark. Instead, we must remember that we all learn things and do things at our own pace.

What can we do instead of making comparisons? We can share our experiences and focus more on the positive.

When you find yourself beginning to compare or judge, take a moment to pause. Then try the following things instead:

Focus on the story, your child’s (and yours) own story and experiences.

Remember that they are unique to you with your individual background, environment, and people who surround you.

I later told my daughter, “Well, when I was your age, I did ___ and acted like ___, but I know your situation is different. Still, I wanted to share that I felt similar and how I feel now.”

Admit your mistakes and celebrate your successes.

We should take time to learn from things we may have messed up on and realize how far we’ve come and the goals we have achieved. Try to use a compliment while you may be thinking of a negative thought.

When I fall short of my deadlines or a personal goal, I may fall into a pity party state of mind. But I only let myself stay there for a short while. I feel disappointed and then remember how much I’ve achieved even if I didn’t meet the full goal. And I remind myself that I can still work at it and keep going.

Point out what went wrong but also talk about what went right. End discussions positively whenever possible.

Even when I have to scold my children, I try to end more positively at something they are really great at to let them know that even though they made a mistake, they are still great people. Be kind to yourself, too, and remember that you’re amazing and doing the best you can.

I’m a big fan of the singer, artist, and mom, P!nk. One of her earlier popular songs is entitled “Don’t Let Me Get Me.” Her lyrics struck me many years ago and still resonate with me today:

“Don’t let me get me
I’m my own worst enemy
It’s bad when you annoy yourself
So irritating
Don’t wanna be my friend no more
I wanna be somebody else.”

We should avoid comparing ourselves and our children to others, especially when it leads to resentment and negative thinking.

Life is not a competition. We only need to make efforts to be better than the person we were yesterday.

Be uniquely you and teach your children to be uniquely them.


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