Why comparing yourself to others could ruin you

10/17/2017


We know that social media plays a big part on our cravings. The "lifestyles" displayed tell us that the clothes we have are not nice enough, the car we drive is not new enough, and the phones we have do not give us enough options. We are told that our neighbours have more than we do, that women on the gram have bodies we should envy and try to achieve, and that we would be so much happier if we just bought this or did that or had this job. 

When we start to look at all these things that our neighbours and friends have—the things we do not have—we begin to feel inadequate. Little by little, we start to feel cheated. Life starts to feel unfair. Envying begins.

With all that is happening on social media, it's so easy for us to get distracted from the things we are supposed to be focusing on. 

I remember while trying to navigate my way through the many rejections as a freelancer, I kept myself motivated by reading other women's success stories. I remember this particular woman I used to admire. It started off as “looking up too her,” but it eventually became envy. I compared my own progress to hers and wanted to fast-forward my career and be at the same place as she was in! And my comparison was always dominated by insecurity and shame. All that it did for me was to make me feel less and incapable, and I didn't want to feel like that at all.

I had to train my mind to stop with this self-sabotaging thoughts. Now what I do is go out and find service opportunities when I got into the “other people have it so good” mindset. I also remember that they have their story and I have mine" and I rejoice in this awesome and adventurous story that I get to live. This makes a big difference in my life. It also helps to have some good girlfriends who are “real” and will be the first to say, “I can’t afford a R6000 handbag”. 

Don't get me wrong, there is no shame in wanting to better yourself and to desire to have good things in your life. The problem starts when you think that someone, somehow, stole your life or that there is not enough of the good life to go around. Believe me, the pie is big enough for all of us. There will always be great opportunities for you to find happiness and success and they don’t have to come at the expense of others.

And you will always have a horizon, i.e. a place you'd like to be but are not there yet. There will always be someone better that personifies your horizon; you will always try to compare your progress to theirs. Having people to look up doesn't have to be bad at all. 

The problem is that we often take the good things in our own lives for granted and we start nitpicking, dissecting those parts and weighing them against other people. Sadly, comparing yourself to your target will always yield a negative and discourage your efforts. 

Studies on happiness show that truly happy people are not necessarily wealthy, powerful, or famous. They have simply made a choice to be happy by paying attention to the good things around them. When you have the proper perspective, you can actually look at your needs clearly, without being swayed by what someone else has. 

The comparisons are still bound to come up. So the next time you catch yourself envying someone’s success take a moment and count your blessings. 

Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others and how do you deal with that? 

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