“Other people’s lives seem better than yours because you’re comparing their director’s cuts with your behind the scenes.”
― Evan Rauch
Comparing yourself to others is a disease.
It wears the robe of self-doubt and says: “You just aren’t good enough.” Speaking from personal experience, it’s so not true.
Do you know why you compare yourself to others?
It’s quick judgment, more like low-hanging fruit.
Comparing yourself is so easy because the option is right in front of you. You won’t see your journey, but you’ll definitely see how someone like you is living a much better life.
That’s where people usually go wrong.
Comparing yourself to others based on what you’ve seen is like touching the tip of the iceberg. You don’t know all the details about their life so why judge them how they got there, right?
Your journey only has to make sense to you. No one else. Remember that. Let it be unique so that you learn a thing or two and spread it around.
Now that you have a basic idea of what comparison is and what it can do, let’s look at how it’s bad for you:
1. Comparing yourself to others is
When you focus too much on what others are doing, you slowly let your productivity slide away.
Action takes energy, and do you really want to spend all your energy trying to compare? Get over it and focus on yourself. It’s too precious.
Also, you lose time. The time to do better for yourself and improve your shortcomings. Comparison usually leads to a downward spiral which is a dark place to come out of.
Be aware and focus on yourself. That’s the only game that matters in the long run.
2. Comparing yourself to others is
Bad for your confidence.
The confidence in your abilities is based on your hard work, practice, and dedication. The moment you start comparing what the other person is doing, your confidence goes for a toss.
It becomes volatile. You lose sight of your capabilities. You are probably living on the edge when you indulge in comparisons and, I don’t mean that in a good sense.
You are on a high when you do better than your competition, or a terribly low one if you don’t.
The black & white space that comparison holds is a dangerous area because the greys are wiped out. In real life, it’s all grey.
Don’t blur the lines so much that the only thing left is winning or losing. If it’s only all in or nothing, then you are in a very emotionally volatile place. Don’t be that person. Be practical, and try to be better than who you were yesterday.
3. Comparing yourself to others is
Unfair for competition.
A comparison by design requires similar traits, to begin with. You can compare products or services by listing pros and cons, but the same is not the case with human beings.
Every individual is different. It sounds cliche but, it’s true. You cannot judge the ability of a fish by the way it climbs a tree. The same way, you should not compare yourself to someone based on a popular metric.
You are a student who loves playing music. You have a friend who’s an academic wizard-topper level stuff.
The question is, “who’s the better student?”
The answer is not that simple.
Is it the music one or the academic one?
Is it both, or is it none?
Comparison suffers from a lack of context and, that’s where the problems begin.
Most people don’t realize this. You’re a better student for music, and he’s better for academic things. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t compare on a popular belief, not now, not ever.
4. Comparing yourself
Leads to unrealistic expectations.
When you start looking at others, you tend to forget that no one’s journey is exactly the same. You are chasing the good things but, you forget that the bad things can be much worse for you.
What I mean is not every high is that high and, not every low is that low. It could be more or less but never the same.
Comparison sets you up for expectations and, we all know how expectations rob us of joy. It sounds poetic but, it’s so true.
Both of ’em are unrealistic and fail in striking a balance. As always, it’s black and white with no greys, and that’s not a good place to be.
Here’s what you can do instead of comparisons:
Accept imperfections: It’s easy to say none of us is perfect but, it’s a hard pill to swallow. Your failures allow you to feel what mistakes are like and how to get better at bouncing back. Accept your flaws and try to focus on your strengths. Be self-aware.
Less Judgement: Judgement is inevitable but, the only goal is to do less of it. The reason is, it forms opinions based on half-baked information.
Most judgments come from the information we’ve only seen, not observed. The next time you try to judge someone, start with yourself because you only know the best about yourself.
Give gratitude a shot: Most comparisons are a sum of deep-rooted insecurities. One way to tackle insecurities is the feeling of abundance and gratitude. Look around every once in a while to see how much you already have. The more abundant you feel, the less likely you’ll try to fill the void by comparison.
Shift your perspective: If you can’t help but compare then, the least you can do, is change the lens from which you look. Turn your comparison into inspiration.
Look for people who are already where you want to be and observe their journeys. Try to observe, not from a place of competition but improvement.
Change your environment: The internet and social media play a big part in comparisons. It’s only a matter of time before you contemplate your life by looking at someone else’s. What’s funny is, it happens without any previous information.
It can happen to anyone, so don’t sweat it but, now that you know the cause, take a detox or fix a time for social media. If you feel like social media affects you a lot, it probably does. Fix a time for social or cut it out from your routine altogether. Whatever works for you.
You will compare yourself no matter what you read or consume. That’s the first level of self-awareness you need. The next is to do as little of it as possible. Sprinkle some postie inspiration in the side and, you got yourself a great recipe for success.
If you want the grass to be greener, work on it. The grass isn’t going to be greener by looking at the other side, even though it may seem so.
The more you force your journey to be like somebody else’s, the more likely you lose your tracks. Walk your own path and create a life you love by being the first one.
It’s a long and lonely journey, and the comparisons will only rob your joy. Don’t let them do that.
The next (practical) steps:
- Make a goal sheet,
- Practice gratitude every day by journaling,
- Use social media sparingly,
- Talk to your mentors and people who are successful in their crafts,
- Reward yourself and take timely breaks, and finally,
- Stop with the negative self-talk by seeing the results of others.
Do you suffer from the disease called comparisons, or are you normal?
Let me know in the comments below