On the book tour, I’ve found that A LOT of women are struggling with comparing themselves to others. They keep asking me what to do about that.

Here is my take: comparing ourselves to others isn’t the problem. It’s an indication of the problem. It’s a consequence of the real problem, which is that we have turned away from our own path in some way.

When we’re comparing, it’s because we aren’t doing the things that pull us into an intoxicating romance with our own life. And therefore we have time, and room, to focus on what others are doing.

I usually find when I’m comparing one of two things are going on with me:

1. I’m not practicing my passions, the activities I love, love, love to do, the activities that give me juice and fill me up. I love to write. I love to dance. I love to create – creating a beautiful party or creating a course or creating a vision for the year ahead. Those things – writing, dancing, creating – are my highway to joy. Your list is surely different – maybe you love to paint or ride horses or organize details or write code.

When I’m not practicing my passions enough (and sometimes just a little of one is enough, sometimes more is needed), my life gets less alive. I’m not in my own romance with those loves. I’m not following the mystery of where they take me. I get cranky and bored. And then, and only then, I start looking outward to what others are doing and comparing myself unfavorably to them.

2. I also start comparing myself to others when I’m denying a calling – a project or endeavor that I feel a longing toward. I really want to do a particular project in my business but I’ve convinced myself I can’t yet for this or that reason. Or, I have a long-held dream that I’m refusing to accept is a real dream of mine. That kind of thing.

The beauty of this is that life has given all of us this cool warning system, this system of checks. If you find yourself often comparing yourself to others, it’s time to ask yourself, “What important activity that I love am I not doing enough of in my life?” and “What callings am I ignoring?”

Embrace your callings (find out how to identify them in this post), and pursue your passions, and then you are on your path. And it will be so damn intoxicating, joyful, and scary that you will become absorbed in it. You’ll have less time and energy and need to look outward, but when you do, you will experience everyone else’s accomplishments in a very different way – in a much lighter, not-loaded way.

That’s what I believe. We can’t stop comparing ourselves to others by trying to stop. That won’t be enough. We need something to turn our gaze toward. We need to answer the calls in our hearts. We need to bravely reclaim those long lost passions – even if we think we don’t have time for them or our inner critics talked us out of doing them long ago.

When I was writing about writing and dance and creativity just now, I got choked up, with tears of gratitude.

We each get granted a few passions, a few special practices that bring us joy and centeredness and that sense of home, and they are among the greatest blessings we receive in this lifetime. We all receive them – we just need to discover what ours are, or remember what they are, or trust the inklings about what they are, and then give ourselves the gift of doing them.

Life loved us enough to give us this gift, but we have to love ourselves enough to receive it.

And when we do, and feel that joy move through us, we glimpse how deeply Life loved us, to give us this.




photo credit: Cristina Gottardi

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Thank you for this, Tara. You hit the nail on the head. Twice.

    And sometimes, knowing what’s causing the discontent is almost as good as alleviating it … because once you know why you’re feeling unmoored and cranky, it’s SO much easier to address it head on.

    I appreciate you bringing this bit of common sense enlightenment into my Monday.

  • Maggie says:

    Hello everyone…on this fine Monday morn..this might help;It’s Great To Be Unique’,….I mean don’t get me wrong..comparison is good, because it helps us to fit into the norm, a little bit anyways..there are times to fit and blend..but not the extreme, when I heard the phrase,’STEP out of the Box’,that Life sometimes put us in, I was always excited of what was outside of it., which is Individualism, Creativity, and a Love for one’s Self. Rather than feeling the uncomfortableness of those extreme individuals, I started to turn back around and face issues and discover why they were different and embrace those differences. I compared it too, like wearing two different colored tennis shoes, painting your nails different colors, mixing prints like stars and stripes for a shirt and a pair of trousers. This has become the essential of my life and sometimes with fabric choices I’d set a fashion trend.
    It Is ‘Ok To Just Be You’, and run through Life with it. If you constantly have to refocus on how you look, or whether you fit in..you would wear your self out. Just Be You,..Go With the Flow and Don’t Look Back to reexamine if anything is wrong..we can fix that later, because it does get done…what I’m really trying to say..Don’t sweat the Small stuff, because bigger more important things will come along…remain True to You

  • Mimi says:

    Great insight and explanation, Tara. Great post. A keeper!
    So worthwhile, esp. in light of social media that is frequently viewed, too.
    Generally, I am hoping to impart some of the Playing Big big concepts to my daughter, age 13, that I have come to embrace over the last year. : )

  • Melissa says:

    YES!!! Exactly what I needed to read this morning.
    I’ve allowed comparison to steal my joy for far too long!
    Thank you for sharing your passions with us! ❤️ Melissa

  • Laura Toller Gardner says:

    Blessed be! The cult-of-perfection, proliferated by social media, feeds the comparison monster. Thank you Tara!

  • amber w says:


    I always look forward to your emails. It helps me stay centered. The email regarding feedback was so influencial to me I have it hanging on my office wall. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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