Note: This is a guest post by Enoch Li
Most of my friends had always admired me one way or another, and thought I had my life so together – a corporate job, good pay, opportunities to travel, multilingual and all.
On the face of it, I was pretty accomplished and happy. Yet, I’ve always felt inadequate regardless of how others envied me.
I have never really had much confidence in myself despite the portrayal of a strong image in front of others. I always felt like I should be doing more or working faster, until a friend asked me one day, “Noch, why do you always have to compare with others?”
When I was in primary school, I wanted to be the student with top grades and so I checked my friends’ grades and was unhappy when mine were lower.
In high school, I benchmarked my basketball skills with other teammates and got very jealous when I wasn’t chosen as captain, thus jeopardizing a friendship as a result.
In university, I compared myself with everyone else who had more awards or scholarships. At work, I asked around other similar level executives to see who had a better performance rating.
Even as I was sick and in the course of recovery, with writing as my therapy, I started to wonder why no one read my blog, and why other sites had more traffic and subscribers, and I became gloomy, thinking that my blog was worthless.
My friend was right. I was always comparing myself with others, and as a consequence, I shattered my own confidence.
Everything I had or achieved, I’d find a way to discount the results and focus on the people who had more. Therefore, I stressed myself out in my quest of over achieving, for only by achievements was I able to assure myself that I was worth something, and I’d feel less miserable. Yet, such reassurance is only ephemeral.
I lost sight of what I did have, and what I had achieved. I jeopardized my own self-confidence.
I became jealous and bitter, and disregarded my own accomplishments.
Indeed, how constructive can comparisons possibly be? It is one thing to have a benchmark and motivate ourselves to improve, but another to be obsessed about everybody else.
So this needs to stop, for it is inhibiting my self-confidence. Here’s how I’ve approached this bad habit:
1. Realizing and admitting I’m jealous
I was in denial for quite some time, and finally recognizing to myself that there is an ugly side to my character was crucial to any changes I make. Realizing that something needs to change is the start.
2. Reviewing what I have every day
Literally, every other day now, if not everyday, I write in my journal things that I possess and milestones I have achieved, however insignificant I hitherto thought them to be.
3. Giving myself a pat on my back
Tthere is no need to beat myself up for not reaching a goal I had set for myself as quickly as I wanted to, the simple fact I had reached it should be cause for celebration; it is important to give ourselves a break too and be proud of ourselves for who we are.
4. Chanting to reassure myself
I devised a little phrase for myself, that whenever I feel myself judging others, calculating what I haven’t done as well as others have with a creeping sensation of resentment, I chant: “I’m me, and that’s enough… breathe…”
This will bring my jealous sensations to my awareness, and for me to catch myself and try to stop the feeling. Also, it gives me a renewed sense of confidence in myself that what I want to do will happen in time.
Perhaps you can find your own chant that works for you and share with us?
5. Being happy for others
Unfortunately sometimes still my initial reaction to an achievement someone has is “oh, I wish that was me.” Nevertheless, I will it into my consciousness, that every time I feel like this, I say to myself:
“Even though I wish that was me, I am still very happy for so-and-so for accomplishing this, and I wish so-and-so the best of luck.” Gradually this mentality seeps into my head and take a stronger grounding than my jealous comparative thoughts.
Sometimes, you just need to look within and give yourself a chance to be satisfied with yourself.
Do you have ways which to remind us how to stop comparing ourselves, and be confident with yourself and who you are?
Noch Noch worked in banking as an international executive for the last 7 years and had to quit her job last year due to major depression and severe migraines, and now reflecting on different recovery methods and how to be true to herself at “Be Me. Be Natural.” NochNoch.
Note from Diggy: I want to thank Enoch for this contribution about self confidence and I want to remind all of you about my guide to guaranteed higher confidence in 30 days flat: The Confidence Black Book