Probably the biggest mistake that’s killing your confidence

Siblings comparing their presents. The girl is happy with a big gift box while her bother having a small one is very upset.

Last week we began a discussion about not comparing yourself to your mates. It’s worth looking further into this theme because it has a massive impact on our confidence levels. Comparing yourself to others is an easy trap to fall into and can be tough to stop for those fail to recognize the consequences.

One thing teenagers often ask of their parents and teachers is, ‘Please don’t compare me to others’. So consider this… if you don’t like being compared to others by someone else, perhaps you should start by not comparing yourself to others.

Are all comparisons bad?

Comparisons can be good when they inspire us to improve. You might have heard something like this… ‘He’s faster than me over 1500m. So I’m going to train harder to see if I can catch him up, and maybe even beat him’. There’s nothing wrong with this mindset. This comparison becomes a call to improvement that’s free from self-criticism. Equally, ‘We’re both as good as each other’, is hopefully true and certainly positive.

Comparisons become damaging when they are negative

Unfortunately, lots of people compare themselves to others in negative ways that unnecessarily demoralize and defeat them. Comparisons are particularly dangerous when they make you feel anxious and helpless. For example:

‘I’m gonna have to study 24/7 for the next year, and I still don’t have much chance of getting close to the grades my sister got.’

Or…

‘It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I’ll never be as good as my sister.’

Neither statement is true, and both are likely to drain you of your self-belief.

We all make mistakes

Victoria Beckham’s son, Cruz, was recently compared to Justin Bieber after his mother posted a clip of him singing on Instagram. It’s a cute clip, sure, and he holds a great tune, but publicly comparing him to one of the most successful singers in the world based on a 20-second film isn’t helpful.

Cruz may or may not get more views and sales than Beiber, but that’s irrelevant. He’s a unique human being who should be given the freedom to explore his own unique talents without the limiting comparisons of others.

Get a positive perspective

When people make comparisons, they’re often comparing apples with oranges. That’s utterly futile and a complete waste of emotion because they’re two completely different things.

Here’s another way of looking at this… Two people are given presents. One is very large and one is very small. That’s all very nice but that doesn’t tell you anything about the value of the gift inside it.

We are all uniquely brilliant individuals with a unique set of strengths and talents. Irrespective of whether you’re aware of your unique gifts yet, it’s silly to compare you to others because they don’t have your gifts and they don’t have yours. As such, it makes sense for you to ignore comparisons and to stay focused on creating your own unique life, just the way you want it.

Only for those teenagers who want more confidence and success…

If this all rings a bell with you, here are two books that focus on taking a positive approach to everyday issues:

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The long title is; Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls and Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity and More: Everything You Need to Know about … Love, Identity, Empowering Yourself & More, but don’t let that put you off. This is a thorough look at teens’ relationships and how they develop. It arms you with positive methods of self-assessment rather than compare-and-criticize.

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This journal invites readers to put their thoughts and feelings on paper. This can help to develop a deeper understanding about who you are and help you discover your own voice. Written in an easy-to-read question-and-answer style, it takes the principles from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by the same author and turns them into simple yet insightful exercises for personal fulfilment. Let off steam, figure stuff out, and stop negatively comparing yourself to others.

UT is a neg free zone! Constructive criticism and useful feedback is welcome, but bullying and abuse of any kind won’t be tolerated. This is a happy place so keep your posts positive! :-)

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Want to ask Kevin a question? Got an inspiring story you want to share?

Please email kevinmincher@unstoppableteen.com