Confidence in Spite of Comparison

Confidence: one of the most important qualities in determining our success, yet feels like the hardest feeling to accomplish daily. Why is that? When we are confident, a certain kind of energy is given off to those around us that enforces their confidence in us. But we live in a society where being confident in oneself is something to strive for. This is not something we try to accomplish when we are young. We are born believing we are the most amazing being on this planet. We show off how fast we run, how high we jump, how great we dance, how beautifully we sing the ABC’s, and every single thing we’ve learned in our fresh lives. Interestingly enough, this is a key part of our psychological development.

According to Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial development, it’s not until ages 6-12 that we begin to compare ourselves to our peers and see how we measure up. This is when we begin to see if we’re greater than or less than and it pierces our once impenetrable confidence. When we compare ourselves to others, we tend to diminish our own strengths. All of the sudden if our accomplishments don’t align with those of others, they are not worthy of praise. Our great-at’s turn into okay-at’s and eventually we lose all sense of confidence in our qualifications. As Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote goes “comparison is the thief of joy” and ultimately it’s in our own hands. Now let me state that I am not naive enough to believe we as a society can just stop comparing ourselves to others completely. You can’t just eliminate something we have been conditioned to do by class ranks, gold medals, and a winner-takes-all mentality. What we can do is try and be more mindful of our comparisons.

Is the person you’re looking up to giving you a healthy inspiration to strive, or are they making you feel inadequate and ashamed? At the end of the day our confidence is in our power. You can choose to love every bit of yourself, embracing your strengths and accepting there are some thing you will not be the best at. You can have confidence in all that you are and know that there is always room to learn more. Don’t compare yourself, simply believe wholeheartedly in yourself and you capabilities. You are an amazing being who has developed throughout your life and accomplished so much, there is no way that could ever be inadequate.

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