We live in a world where other people’s triumphs, successes, and even their vanity are constantly in our faces. Digital influencers and social media make it seem easy to look perfect and feel amazing all of the time. Even your friends and family members might appear to having more success, happiness and fun.
If you stop to think about it, you can probably list off a handful of people you have compared yourself to in the past last week. Maybe a co-worker got a promotion at work, or maybe your friend has just flown off on vacation. Maybe someone you have not seen in years posted a photo online that made you envious of their lifestyle.
When you start comparing yourself to others, it is easy to lose your sense of self-esteem and self-worth. If you let your guard down, you can fall into the trap of chasing after other people’s lives and not appreciating who you are and what you have achieved.
Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. How true those words remain today – perhaps even more so!
How can you stop the endless scrolling, or looking at the lives of people you know and feeling like you’re somehow less important?
Let’s look at a few tips and techniques that can help you to stop comparing yourself to others.
Know Your Triggers
Maybe a co-worker getting a promotion doesn’t affect you, but a friend getting married does. You might be single or recently divorced. Or, maybe you have been in a relationship for a while but your partner doesn’t want to get married. As a result, you start comparing yourself and the things you want to what someone else has. The things that cause you to compare are your “triggers”. Sometimes, you might not care whether someone has more than you, but other times it can really sting and make you feel low.
Understanding your triggers and accepting them will make it easier to stop making those comparisons. First, you can avoid triggers as much as possible until they do not impact you as much. Maybe cut down on your social media usage. Do you pick up your phone out of habit and constantly refresh your Instagram feed?
Perhaps get into the habit of keeping your phone out of reach and taking a social media fast from time to time. As you work on that, try to think about why comparing yourself in those specific situations is a waste of time. Once you convince yourself that it is “no big deal,” you are less likely to be triggered.
Remind Yourself That It May Not Be Real
Because of the social media-saturated world that we live in, it is easy for everyone to make their lives seem better than they are. No one is going to post a photo that doesn’t paint them in a positive light. Even in the real world, everything is not always what it seems. Your friend getting married? Maybe they are struggling with something else, like a health condition or money troubles. That co-worker that seems to get all the credit? Maybe they are going through relationship issues at home.
Most of the time, you will only see what people want you to see. You never really know what is going on beneath the surface and behind closed doors. So, when you start comparing yourself to someone else, pause for a moment and remind yourself that no one’s life is perfect. You don’t know what other people are going through, and you may actually be doing better than they are in other areas of life.
When you compare yourself to others, you lose sight of everything you have and everything you can do. Practicing gratitude each day is a great way to stop making comparisons. Think of at least five things you are grateful for every morning to start your day on a positive note.
Alternatively, carry a small notebook around with you and write down something that you are thankful for every time you think of it throughout the day. The best part about this method is being able to look back on your gratitude moments, especially if you are feeling down. It serves as a wonderful reminder of the wonderful things in your life.
Use it as a Motivational Tool
Sometimes, comparison can be a healthy thing. If the thing that you “want” is something that you can work towards, you can let your comparison motivate you to get it. For example, if someone in your life is incredibly kind and charitable, why let their generosity make you feel less important? You do not have to be extremely wealthy to give back.
Try volunteering, or donate what you can. If someone at work seems to be getting all the glory, use that as a motivational tool to work harder and get your achievements noticed too.
When you start to work toward the things that make you admire others, it becomes less about comparison and more about who you really want to be. When done “correctly,” comparison can actually push you to be the best possible version of yourself.
So, don’t waste anymore time scrolling through social media and wishing for a different life. Don’t feel sorry for yourself because you think you will never have as much. When you use comparison in a negative way, it will make you feel negative and envious. Instead of comparing yourself to others, let certain people inspire you to do more, be more and achieve more.