Stop Competing and Set Yourself Free

“With nothing to compare yourself to, aren’t you perfect?”

I have never liked competition. Every time I compete, I feel pressured and disconnected from others. I love harmony, peace, collaboration and win-win situations, kind of like “me happy, you happy.” I don’t need to watch another person lose the game to feel good about myself. I don’t need to dominate or put someone else down in order to feel superior and worthy.

In some cultures, competing is perceived as a sign of ambition, power and strength. Most of us grew up hearing constant comparisons, which turned into a habit during our adult lives:

“Do I look better than her? I want to be slimmer.”

“How much is he earning? I want more.”

1. Stop competing with others.

Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self. Iyanla Vanzant

Our society often encourages competition. There are some circumstances when we have no choice but to compete; however, there are situations when we make the rules and the choice is entirely up to us. We can live our own lives and mind our own journey, or we can choose to compete with others over who’s more attractive or more successful. 

Here’s what I’ve learned: Everyone is on their own path, and we all do what’s right for ourselves, in our own time. I believe we live in a supportive Universe where everything unfolds perfectly—at the right time, in the right place. Comparing ourselves to others is an infinite source of stress and frustration, and it doesn’t serve anyone well. It makes you feel bad about yourself and even worse about the person you are choosing to be in comparison.

When we see another doing well, first we should celebrate for them. If they are doing something in their life that you feel inspired by, spend some time there and discover if you should or could integrate it into your life. Once we can cheer for those who are doing life well, only then can we begin to see how we can succeed as well.

2. Stop competing against yourself.

“Doing your best is more important than being the best.” — Zig Ziglar

Perfection is nothing but pure fiction. It’s also a learned practice. Most of us were raised to constantly strive to improve ourselves, but if we’re not careful that can lead to focusing only on our flaws and perceived limitations while taking our strengths for granted. 

While we are all learning from our experiences and mistakes, we also need to be aware of our gifts and talents. We need to celebrate our uniqueness and detach ourselves from the toxic habit of comparing ourselves to others.

Yet here I am, in my forties, still reading about infinite ways to become a better human. With so much focus on the need for improvement, particularly in the personal development industry, I wonder when I am ever supposed to turn into the best version of myself and find peace.

Here’s what I’ve learned: I’ve stopped competing with myself. I refuse to fight against myself so that I can reach the end of the tunnel, and I am no longer waiting for the magical day when I will become perfect and faultless.

Why turn my life into a never-ending competition? True friendship is not about competing against each other. It’s about support and collaboration. Why act as my competitor when I can be my own best friend?

As the Chinese proverb says, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

Life is all about experiencing things as they come. It is a journey of self-discovery, not self-improvement.

If I am to spend my precious time waiting to grow into the best of myself, there will always be something to change, add, fix, or transform so that I can finally feel whole and complete. Life doesn’t have to be such a daily struggle. I don’t have to fix myself because I am not broken.

I embrace the entirety of my humanity with love and compassion. I choose not to be a “work in progress.” My desire for growth is about taking each day as an opportunity to learn more about life and myself.

That’s how we discover who we really are and what brings us genuine happiness and fulfillment. By releasing old patterns and limiting beliefs that don’t serve us well, we get closer to our authentic human essence. 

Since I changed my perspective, I’ve stopped beating myself up. I now talk to myself kindly. I treat myself with dignity and respect. I know I am worthy of the best things life has to offer. My happiness is nothing to compete or fight for.

Let’s choose to see ourselves as perfectly beautiful and beautifully imperfect. Celebrate our mistakes as much-needed opportunities for growth—after processing the disappointment. Revel in both success and failure because this is what makes us wiser. Treat every life experience as an opportunity to learn new things about ourselves and other people.

Furthermore, I’ve learned to forgive myself for my mistakes in the same way I forgive others, knowing I am also human. As a student at the school of life, I will sometimes rise and sometimes fall, and that is okay. I no longer strive to become the best version of myself. Instead, I always do the best I can. When I know I’ve done my best, there’s no room for regrets. Whenever I know better, I do better.

I am enough and worthy, so I don’t need to prove myself to anyone—not even to myself. Newborns and babies do not compete against each other. They love and approve of themselves as they are. In our competition-oriented society, we need to remind ourselves more of our true nature, which is balanced, loving and peaceful.

As mothers, when our children do their best—no matter the result—we are proud of them. We cheer them on in the success of their attempts. When we live in the space of living without competing with ourselves and others, we teach them to do the same in their lives. We help to code their minds for a life that is successful AND contented. 

I believe the world needs fewer competitors and more givers, peacemakers and soul nurturers, and it also needs more compassion and less competition.

The day I stopped competing against myself and others, I set myself and my children free.

Tiffany is a University of Louisiana at Lafayette design graduate. She resides in the heart of Lafayette with her husband and their two children. She loves her family, living in the Deep South, and spending beautiful days outside. Tiffany spins a lot of plates as a professional graphic designer, triple-certified placenta encapsulation specialist, holistic birth doula, and also makes organic, home wellness products with her husband like elderberry syrup and colloidal silver. She believes in your inner strength and that you can accomplish anything, including but not limited to the birth you desire. She loves encouraging other lady bosses working their hustles through the hard knocks, while together growing stronger, smarter and more successful. Check out her work at tiffanywyatt.com and lafayetteplacenta.com.