To be competitive is a human trait. From as early as we are able to walk and talk we look up to people, we admire certain things about them, and then, as we grow up, we aspire to be like them.
This is not necessarily a bad thing; after all, we need to find our inspiration somewhere. Many young children aspire to be sporting heroes after watching their favourite player on the pitch; musicians hear or see someone playing an instrument or singing and aspire to be like that; writers may read someone’s novel or poetry or blog and want to be able to write in that way. And as that aspiration grows, so does our desire to be the best at what it is we want to be, and that’s where the competitiveness begins.
And with competitiveness comes comparison. Because being able to be like someone is suddenly not good enough. If we feel they have something we don’t, then our need to compare can take over, and then it becomes a cycle of the destruction of our own confidence.
Sometimes it’s possible to do things which will improve our own abilities. If you want to be a footballer you might have to practice more. Similarly if you want to be a musician or a writer or speaker, or any other of the things which we aspire to.
But some things can never change, because they may be physical or personality traits which are unique to every one of us, and as such it is not possible to become attractive like X or outgoing like Y, or clever like Z. it doesn’t mean that you’re not those things, just that you don’t compare to others in the same way, because actually, you’re not them, you’re you.
As a young girl growing up there was always a desire to be pretty. After all, we live in a society where physical attractiveness forms the basis of acceptance by others, or so we are led to believe anyway. Except as a young girl growing up I was told that I wasn’t. I have a clear recollection of waking up on a bus when I was sixteen and hearing a group of girls talking about me. They made the statement that it was incredibly sad that I was probably destined to remain single for ever due to my lack of esthetic appeal.
I would like to say that I was completely unphased by this, but as an impressionable sixteen year old that just wasn’t true. I wasn’t affected enough by the realisation to go and find the best way to enhance my non existant beauty, however, I did question why it was that I didn’t compare to my friends who were always being told how attractive they were. This encounter wasn’t the first one, and it wasn’t the last. But as time went on I realised that I was many other things which those I had spent so much time comparing to were not. And that actually, even if I had been able to change my exterior in order to fit the standard which society would have liked to have me conform to, it still wouldn’t change the person I was. And actually, did it really matter? in truth it didn’t.
Sometimes we are so busy thinking about who we’re not that we lose sight of who we are. And in reality, how many of us who spend our time comparing ourselves to other people would really want to be them?
There will always be people who are better at the things we aspire to be good at. But ultimately we shouldn’t be aspiring to be like them, we should be aspiring to be the best at what we can do in our own right, because what happens if we reach a point where we feel we have equalled or bettered that which we have saught to compete with in someone and then someone else comes along who is better? Then our confidence becomes eroded again to the point we then need to start again and aspire to be like someone else now that we’ve equalled or bettered our original target. And therein lies a never-ending cycle of self destruction, and what does that achieve?
Ask yourself, who are you? And why would you want to be like anyone else when you are already yourself?