Updated: Jun 27, 2021
What I have come to realise the older I get is how detrimental it is to compare ourselves to others. When we compare, we can feel as though we’re behind. But how can we be ahead or behind in our own life? It doesn’t make sense. We’re exactly where we need to be. We are unique which means we simply can’t compare.
But yet we do. Whether that’s at school, work, the home we live in, the money we have, our lifestyle or in our relationships, we feel the need to judge ourselves and progress against others. We forget that our experiences, our past, our beliefs and fundamentally who we are, are tied up with what we have and where we are at in life. Again, with all those differences, how can we compare?
Every day we could find someone who we perceive to be further ahead. If we let it, this can lead to feelings of inadequacy. But the reality is there will always be someone who has more money, is in better shape, has more qualifications or a more exciting job. So, when we are focused on what’s going on outside of us, all that happens is that the external noise takes us away from what we can be in charge of, which is our life and our future. Comparison plays out as a distraction from following our exclusive path.
Also, we need to remember that most people tend not to share their problems or the things in their lives that aren’t working. We are therefore potentially viewing their life through a lens, or simply seeing the overview of the best moments. It’s as though we’re flicking through their highlights and images on Facebook or Instagram. This is dangerous.
So, what’s the best thing to do?
As often as possible, try to remember that the only person to compare yourself to is YOU. Who were you a year ago, six months ago, last week? How have you grown? What have you learnt? Are you a better version of yourself? If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re doing well and should pat yourself on the back. That’s all you can do in life. Work towards being your best version at any given moment and learn from your mistakes, which are an inevitable part of being human.
The other thing to be mindful of is that we are constantly bombarded with messages of not being enough through social media. But regardless, we can still take responsibility for tuning out, filtering and not taking this stuff on as our own. When we do this, we’re less inclined to compare and feel disappointment within ourselves.
So the next time you feel the need to judge yourself by other people’s standards, stop and ask yourself. Is this fair? Is this true? Challenge your own thinking and remember to put your energy into you and your life, not everyone else’s. Good luck!