Why do we want to be like someone else?

Cindy JobsHealth and Well-Being, Uncategorized

“Never compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides.”

Anne Lamott

Have you ever caught yourself thinking . . .

  • “I want to be like Susie, she’s so organized.”
  • “I want to be like Kathy, she has great hair.”
  • “I want to be like Janet, she is an amazing cook.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the meditation app Headspace not just for the guided meditation, but the daily introspection I’m exposed to through the pre-meditation primers.  The other day Andy (the meditation and mindfulness expert behind Headspace) made an interesting statement that I will paraphrase:

When we compare ourselves to others, we take away not only from ourselves, but the others we are comparing ourselves to.

Hmmmm.  After I processed that for a bit, I wholeheartedly agree.  When we compare bits and pieces of a person, we are only seeing a segment of the whole person.

For example, if I say I want to be like Susie and I’m only focusing on Susie’s organizational skills, what other parts of her am I ignoring?

If I want to be like Kathy with her great hair, what other amazing qualities might Kathy have that I’m not giving credit to?

And, what if Betty has ten other things she does as well as cooking?  What am I missing?

Not only am I focusing on only a small fragment of the whole person, but I am also discounting my own qualities and assuming I am less than whole because I do not have that one trait I am focusing on.

We are not less than whole, we are just different.  Much like a pine tree, apple tree, oak tree, and palm tree are different, they each contribute differently and are still whole.

Although I’m pretty organized, I will never have great hair, nor will I be an amazing cook.   But I am still whole.

A shift in perspective:

  • “Susie is so organized. I wonder where she learned that.”
  • “Kathy has the best hair.  I’m going to ask her what product she uses.”
  • “Janet is an amazing cook.  I wonder where she gets her recipes from.”

When I focus on the outside image I see of others, I am potentially overlooking other remarkable qualities about that person and at the same time overlooking all of my remarkable qualities.


Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

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Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

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