“Comparison is the death of joy” – Mark Twain
I consider it to be the biggest insult to yourself as possible. Comparing yourself to others, diminishes you to just a handful of human traits. Traits that include looks, finances, health, relationships, homes, cars, knowledge and more.
Logically…we are so much more than that.
Our generation is swarmed by a culture of comparisons now more than ever thanks to the advent of social media. With the likes of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Myspace (just kidding), we are bombarded with social information. We are treated to status updates, photographs and videos of the friends and family sharing the highlights of their lives.
Their wedding photos, their promotion at work, their vacation, eating delicious food, photos of their body in great shape and generally living a super awesome life.
All the while you sit on your couch staring at the screen in your hand scrolling down waiting for something good to show up.
It is a slippery slope towards feeling inferior.
You begin to ponder about yourself.
“What am I doing with my life? Why am I not doing exciting things, why am I not married or in a relationship and why am I not LIVING like these people?”
Perhaps we do all o
f this because it’s an evolutionary trait of some sort. Men and women comparing themselves to one another in order to determine who has the superior genes and thus gains more mates, recognition and status.
The recognition that has changed from the tally of how many women we’ve clunked in the head with our club and dragged back to our caves, but rather how many LIKES we can get based on what information we choose to present to the world.
Or perhaps we simply do it so we can attempt to form an evaluation on our life. To make assumptions of where they went right and where we went wrong.
But this is the WRONG method of doing it.
It is not fair to yourself to nurture comparisons to others and here are a few reasons why:
1.) It damages your self-worth
The effects of comparisons to others is entirely detrimental. It fosters feelings of low self-worth, high levels of envy and creates an overall feeling of depression. Comparing ourselves to others robs us of our joy, dignity and even our passion to achieve more in this world.
It also takes the focus off the most important person in your life, YOU!! You are the only person that can change yourself for better or worse. Do not waste your precious thoughts on others. Save your thoughts for the more important things in your life like your goals and becoming a better person.
2.) It damages your relationships
Jealousy creates animosity among friends and family. Instead of finding it in our heart to be happy for the ones we love for their accomplishments, instead we resent them for it. We stand to lose them in our lives should our attitude towards them spill over into their line of sight.
3.) It is a WASTE of time
Read about the value of time here .
Seriously, your time on this planet is priceless. You have an unknown amount of time to spend with the ones you love, to see all the pretty places you see in photographs, to accomplish amazing things and to help as many people as possible. Why on EARTH are you wasting it comparing your journey to somebody else?
There truly are more important things that can be done with your time…like reading my blog.
4.) You are TOO different to be compared
I may be the only person I know who can devour up to 20 pieces of sushi, feel ill, and then ask for more sushi. I am clearly very different and so are you.
You have your own strengths and weaknesses and you are on your own path to happiness, disappointment, love, heartbreak, success, failure and all the other beginnings and endings life has to offer. Your world is in YOUR hands. Do not bother with the worlds’ of others, focus on your own and make your own life an exciting adventure.
Do not dampen it by looking at others and wondering what you are doing wrong. Because there is no right and wrong when it comes to walking your path. It is yours and you must do the best you can while walking it.
5.) What scale are you even using?
How can you compare your looks to someone else? Looks is entirely subjective is it not? There is no ‘sexiness’ unit of measurement. If there was one, I’m sure there would be an SI unit for it while the USA uses a different unit because…reasons.
Many things in this world cannot be measured and therefore CANNOT BE ACCURATELY COMPARED.
What is a little to one man may be a lot to another.
Be thankful for what you have in your own bowl and only look into your neighbours bowl to make sure he has enough.
6.) Do not judge others
Comparing yourself to others works both ways.
You feel resentment to those who you perceive to be having a ‘better life than you’. But what purpose does it have to look at someone you perceive to be ‘below’ you and cast a downward glace upon them.
We see people smoke and think to ourselves ‘I’m better than him because I live healthier by not smoking’. Nobody cares. Really…nobody cares and neither should you.
The only thing this leads to is stress and frustration that others are not like you. And you are not perfect either. Nobody is.
Instead of judging them, attempt to understand them. Sometimes make an effort to put yourself in to somebody else’s shoes and attempt to see things from their perspective and thus allowing yourself not to judge them but to understand them and accept them for who they are no matter what.
7.) The ‘reality’ presented…IS NOT reality
The photos you see on Facebook is merely one moment of people smiling. Hardly a true reflection of the entire experience of them all bickering moments before the photo, the stress of getting to that place and the 100 photos they rejected before deciding on the one to post online.
The status your friend made about being happy in a relationship. Perhaps that one moment was good, but he/she would never post the feelings of insecurity they may have, the feeling of possessiveness and the fear of having their heart broken. Nor would they dare mention the silly fights they have over the other person having watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones without them.
The family member that posted a status of a new job promotion never talks about the thousands of working hours put in towards this. The late nights, the studying, the criticism, the fear of not being good enough etc. The end result did not reflect the journey.
We are only seeing the highlighted moments of peoples’ lives. The parts they want us to see. They control the illusion by showing you only what they want you to see. And you begin to compare your ‘behind-the-scenes’ with their highlight reels which leaves you…well…reeling. We do not have all the information to feel anything towards that single moment other than the mere face of something much larger than what we see. Do not take things at face value. Try to look beyond it or better yet…don’t bother looking at all.
Start becoming AWARE of the thoughts that enter your mind. Notice and STOP yourself when it’s thoughts of self-comparisons because you need to be in complete control of your thoughts. Stay away from things that trigger you if you truly are struggling. There is no shame in leaving Facebook or Twitter just to get away from it all. It’s your life and you are in the driver’s seat.
Besides reminding yourself of all the reasons why you should not compare yourself to others, there are only TWO things to do when the thoughts arise:
1.) Be grateful for what you have.
Read more about it here. When you find yourself wondering why your friend got a brand new car in his garage, remind yourself of all the blessings in your own life. Remember the simplest of things in your world to be grateful for from the people in your life who love you to the fact that you have a roof over your head. And remember the big things in your life, the big successes you’ve had on your own terms. The list of things for us to be grateful for is truly endless. Remind yourself of what you have instead of what you don’t have.
2.) Compare yourself only to YOURSELF!
“There is nothing noble in
being superior to your fellow man, true nobility is being superior to your former self”
There is nobody better or worse than you in the world. We are FAR too different to be compared with each other. We need to realize that we are all walking our own paths and are on our own journeys in this world. With that knowledge it would be foolish to compare your progress in certain aspects of life with other people who are walking a different path. There is no measuring stick among the population. There is nothing for you to be concerned of if your neighbour is in a different position in life than you are.
Focus on the bigger things in life.
Nobody is perfect anyway. We all have obstacles to overcome in life, focus on yours and find happiness in knowing you are conquering your life.
If you must look towards others, look for inspiration from them and not comparisons. Admire their traits and look to build from that.
Focus on trying to make yourself a little better every day and eventually the only person that will be relevant to compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.
Your life is your own.
Forget the rest…focus on YOU.