Do you often catch yourself comparing to others? To a family member, friend or someone famous from social networks? If the answer is Yes – welcome to the club. The sad fact is that comparing is the daily routine of many.
Social comparison starts at a very young age. Children quickly realise that not all live the same life or have the same opportunities. They notice when a friend of theirs has more toys or better clothes, or lives in a bigger house.
When those children grow up and become teenagers, the comparing doesn’t stop. It often becomes more frequent and turns into negative self-criticism. The thoughts like: “I am not good enough”, “I can’t do anything properly” or “I will never succeed” start to emerge. These negative thoughts can be the cause of anxiety and depression.
On the other hand, social media is on the rise and plenty of material to compare ourselves to is available. That’s why it is important to think of the poor use of others as reference values for our own value.
Comparison is the thief of happiness
Surely you have at some point felt how the comparison is a thief of happiness. It is important to be aware that this saying is actually true. Comparing yourself to others only makes your life harder, and besides pain and dissatisfaction, it brings nothing. Instead of comparing, use others as motivation to improve in a particular field.
If you spend your time thinking about the success of others, while comparing yourself to them – you won’t accomplish anything. Direct your energy towards the realisation of dreams and goals. Don’t waste your precious time thinking of others, when the reality is – they don’t think about you at all.
You aren’t comparing yourself to a realistic image
What most people present to the world is a false image of themselves. When you see an acquaintance and engage in small talk do they say: “My wife is absolutely driving me crazy, my job is horrible, I want to quit but can’t” or do they simply say “I’m good thanks, and you?”.
That is due to the fact that people will rather hide negative emotions and answer insincere, than admit to others that they have problems and thus weaknesses. It often happens that people overestimate the happiness of others or fail to see their dissatisfaction when it is obviously present. So next time you start comparing yourself to others, remember that you aren’t comparing yourself to a realistic image – but only to conclusions you made yourself.
Comparison is not helping you fulfill your goals
Thinking about how someone else looks better, has more friends or is more successful than you, not only takes time but is utterly inefficient. When we’re too harsh on ourselves, we decrease our motivation and chance of success.
If you want to lead a fulfilled life, you must direct your energy and time into your own values. To truly focus on that, ask yourself the following questions:
- When you think of yourself in old age, what accomplishments would you count as most important looking back?
- What kind of person do you want to be?
- What kind of relationship with others do you want to nurture?
- What do you want others to remember you by?
Use these personal values as a barometer to compare, not as achievements of those around you.
Perfection is an illusion
Nobody is perfect – in theory we all know that, but in practice we often feel bad when we don’t reach perfection. You have to understand that you are not perfect and that perfection cannot be achieved. I certainly am not, and I learned many years ago to be okay with that.
Of course, you should always work on yourself and keep improving, but don’t think that you will become a “perfect person”, because absolutely nobody is perfect and that is okay.
There is always someone better
It may sound harsh, but the sooner you understand this, the easier it will be for you. At some point in your life, someone will outrun you in the race for goals. You can’t always win everything. All you can and should do is work hard and persistent to achieve your goals, and everything that should happen will come to you at the right time.
Although it is very easy to think that others lead an amazing life without obstacles, know that this is not true. Every individual on this Earth has problems and challenges throughout their life. No one is spared of this. Some people are just better at hiding problems than others. So the next time you compare yourself to a friend or neighbor, remember that you probably don’t know every detail about their lives.
Compare yourself to yourself and work on improvement!
The only person you should compare yourself to is yourself. Compare your achievements with previous months or years, break your personal records and set new ones. In this way, you will push yourself forward and achieve many goals along the way
You will notice very quickly how liberating it is when you stop feeling the desire to compare and you will feel satisfaction and fulfillment instead. Always remember that you are good enough.