If we really take an honest assessment, there have been times when we compared ourselves to others’ successes, accomplishments, or newsworthy achievements. Perhaps, unconsciously, we compete against them. But what about when you compete with yourself—is that even possible? Global women’s leader, ministry and marketplace influencer, and author of Finally Me, Jasmin Sculark discusses self-competition and how it affects us in various ways.
“Your true self-worth has nothing to do with the job you have, house you live in, or car you drive. The struggle is not competing with others, but rather competing with you own self,” advises Sculark.
She explains that the obsession to “outdo” our earlier or previous efforts can be unhealthy. Sure, we can use our past achievements as a foundation for which we venture into the unknown. However, this compulsive drive to compete with our former selves could be the result of low self-esteem or a constant need to prove to others—even to the point where our new or next-level successes can somehow feel like they’re still never enough.
So why is it that people tend to compete against themselves? Sculark shares three reasons why:
1. Driven to Outdo Our Own Expectations
There’s nothing wrong with having expectations. We all should have them.
2. Showing Others That We Are Capable of Meeting “Their Expectation”
This is an unconscious need that resides within us. People can and will place false expectations on us. And, consequently, we compete with ourselves because we unconsciously need to show them, although their expectation may not even be realistic for us.
3. Accepting the Wrong Identity That Leads to Low Self-Worth
The primary reason that we often compete with ourselves is self-worth. It doesn’t come from any external event, person, or experience. It comes from within.
Ways to Not Compete with Yourself
Sculark offers these solutions and defenses to remedy against competing with oneself:
Be Patient With Yourself
Don’t be so hard on yourself. This is unfair. OK, you may not have achieved it or missed a goal. But look at where you are right now. There’s still so much to be thankful for, and grateful for. Nobody “arrives” overnight. It’s a process. Chill out. Relax. Take a deep breath. Let your hair down. Live your life. The struggle is always thinking that there is something or somewhere that you have to get to. Who said that you were supposed to be further along? Who said that you were supposed to accomplish this or that by a certain age? Who told you that?
Celebrate Your Progress
How many of you out there have made some progress this year, this quarter, this month or perhaps even this week? Be glad that you’re not where you were in your 20s, or 30s, or perhaps 40s. It’s called self-awareness of your progress. Celebrate that. Hey, you’re not as jacked up, or broke, or broken as you used to be. Celebrate that. Pat yourself on the back. These are the moments that you have earned the right to do your private happy dance.
Master Your Motives
Successful efforts are what you considered or deemed more than good enough. They need to be evaluated from an external perspective. They may not satisfy our inner judge who drives us relentlessly. Some of us are hard taskmasters on ourselves. In order to maintain balance, we have to learn the art of patience even as we strive to obtain the highest vision of who we are. Whenever we feel drained, tense, or unhappy in our goal pursuits, it may be that we are pushing ourselves for the wrong reasons—so we have to check our motives or what’s really driving us.