“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Comparing yourself to others is as human as any other emotion and can quickly become a dangerous habit that is hard to break. It’s important to remember that being inspired by an individual is not the same as comparing yourself to an individual, inspiration fills you up, comparison empties you.
I am the perfect example of someone who used to spend far too much time using other people as a benchmark for my own happiness. It started off quite innocently with small comparisons that I’m sure we have all made at some point. While I was in school I would compare my appearance, academic achievement and possessions with others. When I graduated I added career choices, travel and relationships and once I became a parent I added parenting styles, houses and money into the mix so I was quickly falling down an endless rabbit hole of comparisons.
When you focus on what other people are doing you will virtually always end up on the losing side of the comparison because there will always be someone who has something that you want. Not only do these comparisons steal your joy but research has found that it creates feelings of envy, low-self-confidence, and depression which was exactly how I was feeling. The below tips have really helped me turn my daily struggle of comparing into a sometimes struggle and I hope they can help you too!
Tips to help break the habit of comparing.
- Identify your triggers – Write a list of situations that cause you start playing the comparison game. My number one trigger was social media (mainly Facebook) so at one point I deactivated my account completely. I immediately felt a sense of freedom from the curse of comparisons and didn’t feel the pressure of checking what others were doing that I wasn’t.
- Realise you can’t see the whole picture – We all know how much control we have over what we share with others whether it’s on social media or face to face, yet we take small snippets into other people’s lives as an assumption of their entire life being that way. You don’t know what’s really going on underneath the surface, or behind closed doors so stop wasting your time focusing on them and focus on you!
- Count your blessings – “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah. Commit yourself to practising gratitude daily and you’ll be less vulnerable to comparison.
- Don’t knock others down – Criticising and judging others to make ourselves look or feel better is a destructive path and has absolutely no benefit. Focus on self-improvement rather than one “upmanship.”
- Embrace being perfectly imperfect – What even is perfection? I’m sure that my idea could be totally different to yours and if life went perfectly the people in my previous post would never have found success.
- Take control – Comparing yourself to others is not only an unhealthy way to evaluate your worth but is also totally inaccurate. There are billions of people in this world and each of us have gotten to where we are in our own way and on our own path. Make the choice to redirect your time and energy to building a future that makes you happy. Be compassionate to yourself and others and the picture you paint will become your very own masterpiece.
Thanks for reading and make sure you share your smile with the world today ☮