“Comparison is the thief of joy”-Theodore Roosevelt
We all do it or have done it at different times throughout our lives: We compare ourselves to others.
I too have struggled with this comparison game. However, in most cases, it has NOT served me well.
It’s unfortunate that our society promotes comparison and competition at its core. If you just look around, it’s everywhere. Our television, magazines, billboards, and social media have become our standards to which we measure ourselves against.
Let’s face it: These standards are completely unrealistic and downright fake. What we are seeing is the best, manipulated versions of life. It’s not real at all.
Sadly, comparison starts at a very young age. Our children are taught to compete with grades and in sports. They are made to believe that the smarter and/or more athletic they become, the more they are worth.
You see it all the time, many young girls have eating and self-image disorders because they want to be skinny and pretty like the models they see posted everywhere.
Adulthood often brings a new level of comparison. That’s when keeping up with the Joneses comes into full effect. Many adults compare their job status, income level, house size, brand of cars, and even their kids.
The bottom line is that comparison can be debilitating. It can create the negative emotion of envy. It can deplete your self-esteem, sometimes to the point of depression.
Even when your intention is to make yourself feel better by comparing to others who are less fortunate, in the end, you are taking pleasure in someone else’s misfortune or failure.
I’m sure that it doesn’t take much to convince you that comparison can be an unhealthy habit.
The bigger issue at hand is trying to figure out how to stop yourself from comparing.
Below you will find 3 effective ways that have helped me to finally stop comparing myself to others.
It’s a Game You Will Never Win
You must realize that you will never win when you play the comparison game. You will never be better than everyone else in every way. Nor do you want to be, when you really think about it.
There will always be someone who is better looking, who drives a fancier car, who has more money, and who has a nicer house.
So, my advice is to just quit playing the game. Simply surrender. This is one of the times in your life where giving up is the best option.
See the Opportunity
Replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
In other words, instead of choosing to be envious towards someone who is “better” than you, why not appreciate their talents and abilities.
Look at it as an opportunity to learn from them. Be grateful that they are willing to teach you their secrets.
In turn, you can incorporate those secrets into your own life.
Compare with Yourself
This is one of the best ways to utilize comparison in a beneficial way.
My motto is to be better today than I was yesterday.
I judge myself based on my own standards, not someone else’s standards.
Two ways that I practice this is as follows:
First, I routinely set personal goals with the intention to continuously improve myself. I track my progress and give myself a pat on the back for my achievements and successes. This is a great way to build up your self-esteem.
Second, I dedicate some time a couple of days a week where I write in my journal about the things that I’m grateful for in my life. Some examples include my appreciation for how much I’ve grown and learned, what I’ve accomplished, and the beautiful family I’ve helped to create.
These simple practices can really help shift your focus away from the detrimental effects of comparing to others. Instead, you focus your time and energy on what really matters: appreciating your life and gently nudging yourself to be the best version of you.
Photo Credit: Image via Gratisography