Does comparing yourself affect your confidence?

I was at Swiss Ball class this week in an effort to keep fit. I've been doing this class for nearly 2 years now and, although we change our exercises on a weekly basis, I've got to know most of the exercises over that time. I don't think it's an easy class: I'm huffing and puffing, and usually the day afterwards my core stomach muscles are aching from the work I've put in (and that makes me feel all virtuous and like I can eat cakes for the rest of the week :-D).

So this week we were doing an exercise that involved doing a plank with our feet on the Swiss Ball. We then had to bring our knees into our chest before pushing them back out whilst doing a press up. I wasn't quite sure I'd got my rhythm right so I asked the instructor. She confirmed I was doing it right and asked "do you find it easy?" to which another lady in the class said "you make all the exercises look easy”.

How are you comparing yourself - a blog post about improving confidence by Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Coaching and Consultancy

Now, it's interesting to hear that that's the perception other people have but I don't feel that those exercises are easy - in fact one of them I find it nigh on impossible to do. The reality is that I have been going to the class for some time and I also do Pilates which helps with my core strength. Combining the two seems to work well for me. Maybe to the outside eye that looks as though I'm doing it well but I know how hard I find it​.

I think there are a number of reasons why we are constantly comparing ourselves:​

  • We want to make sure the progress is what we would anticipate given the amount of effort that we have put into something
  • We're generally trying to find feedback on ourselves. We're trying to find the most successful route through life and we try to understand our successes or failures - or assess whether we will be a success or failure. Now, we could just ask for feedback, but that's not something that most people do or give on a regular basis, and you might not like what you're going to hear so you compare yourself to others to try to work out what your feedback would be
  • We do it to stay on track - and I think that's about staying safe. Going back to cavemen times, if you stayed doing the things the same way that other people did them for generations you would stay safe because you fitted in with the tribe and you didn't risk being cast out and eaten by wild animals. I think that's where an overwhelming desire to stay in your comfort zone (and away from risk!) originates

But comparison can turn sour....

Most people at some point in their lives will have experienced people being cruel; people putting them down, and I think that comes from comparing ourselves. When that happens, it can be about jealousy or envy, and a need to bolster a fragile ego by crushing another. It can be active bullying, constant belittling or snide remarks heard.

If you've experienced the negative downside of comparison, it can be very easy to believe that there is something wrong with you, and not just in relation to the original incident - in many other areas of your life too. Now, depending on your personality type, that could drive you to ignore it, or compete to be even better.

Does comparing yourself affect your confidence? - a blog post by Gillian Lewis, Confidence Coach

But it could cause you to question yourself and your capabilities, and subsequently make you self-conscious and reduce your confidence so that you keep a constant focus on what you are doing and whether you're doing it right, or doing it as well as somebody else is apparently doing. Even when they might have been doing it for longer, or practice more, or have a greater natural aptitude, it can be easy to beat yourself up that you're not as good as somebody else.

When you feel like these thoughts are overwhelming you, just ask yourself what evidence you have to believe that you're not good enough when you compare yourself to other people - and the reasons why that could be the case.

What evidence do you have to believe that you're not good enough when you compare yourself to other people?

#selfimage #coaching

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In my situation, ​I know that the lady who made the comment to me at the Swiss Ball class will not be beating herself up about how quickly she is progressing because she is an accomplished endurance athlete, but another type of person could be put off attending because they didn't feel they were good enough after a couple of classes - and that might influence them to decide they wanted to drop out because they felt they *had* to be as proficient because in reality they're comparing apples and oranges.

Do you compare apples and oranges

And that comparison could lead to a life less lived.​

If this resonates with you...

I have a limited number of free sessions that I offer to help you take the first step to build your confidence so that you don't spend so much time comparing yourself to others