When I was trying to figure out how to start this article, I looked for quotes that capture the essence of why comparing yourself or your child to other people works against you. Most of the quotes start off with you should never compare yourself … and the rest follows.
It seems tough and complicated to apply this in our lives, but it is really not. It’s almost like a switch in your mind. Once you realize how fundamentally different human beings are, it becomes a lot easier to move away from the idea that someone else is doing better or worse than you or your child.
Every individual has their own journey, their own dreams, aspirations, fears, and needs. People may be similar to each other, but never the same; even twins are different from each other, despite the genetic similarity. We expect ourselves or our children to match up to excellence all the time, but that may not be possible all the time. Some skills or conversations your child may have may seem mediocre to you, but it could also be the reason for achieving greatness, if it is allowed to flourish and bloom, in an open, positive and safe environment.
Bill Gates said “Don’t compare yourself with anyone on this world, if you do so, you are insulting yourself”
I loved discussing this quote with my students because its such a beautiful way of saying no one else can do what you can. Each person brings a handful of things, perspectives, beliefs and ideas to the table.
Can you imagine a world where every person is exactly the same as you? I have tried to imagine it so many times, but the thought of it makes me crazy. I know that I have a lot to offer, a lot of different ideas and notions, but if I were to be surrounded by a million people who are exactly like me, life would be so boring.
There is so much diversity in the world, you must encourage your child to add their views and perspectives to the world, encourage them to freely explore different experiences, ideas and activities.
The ideas that your child puts forth will not be like anyone else’s, it may be similar, but never the same. This gives children a beautiful platform to interact with people and learn from them. Your child will end up teaching other children and the people they encounter.
Being humble enough to surrender and say I will listen and learn from you is extremely liberating. The conversations you have with your child will bloom because somewhere they will understand that you genuinely want to hear them out and take lessons for yourself. It makes it easier to have a conversation with them if you take what they say seriously despite the difference in age.
Your child will observe how you communicate with them, which will then have an impact on how they communicate at a later stage, with themselves and with others.
What you say to them is how they will talk to themselves in the future, make sure they understand that you are proud of your child and satisfied with who they are. Having said this, it doesn’t mean that when your child’s unwanted behaviors are encouraged.
Compare your child to standards that they set for themselves, show your child that it is very healthy to keep working towards being the best version of themselves, by improving themselves every day. By comparing your children to others’, you are telling them that they are not good enough.
The intention behind comparing yourself or your children is essentially to see what you can do to improve or become better at what you are doing. then intention behind this is positive for sure, but to compare your abilities with that of others is a recipe for low confidence, because someone else may not be able to do what you do. It is an unfair fight.
What would be fair though, is for you to see what you are lacking and work on it, you are in competition with yourself to reach new heights. Don’t you think this would be more effective, productive and positive?