Comparisons are a very normal part of everyday life but the effect that they have is (in my experience) far more negative than positive.
I have always been someone who compares every aspect of my life to someone else’s. Whether it’s my figure, my looks, my grades at school and university, my submissions, even my blog posts, I compare all the time. I’ve always known and been told it’s a habit that needs to be stopped, but due to my limited self-confidence, it has proven extremely difficult. and cooped up for three months due to lockdown hasn’t made this process any easier. I don’t think I realised just how negative it can be to a person’s mental wellbeing.
Comparison is purely a recipe for misery and disaster. Instead of focusing on yourself and the goodness in your life, you are concentrating on the aspects you don’t like about yourself. Who wants to feel like that? I know I don’t.
If you use another person’s life as your end goal then I promise you, happiness won’t follow because as perfect as their life, figure, or job might seem, you never know the full story. Their life might be the complete opposite of what you’re thinking and have struggles that they don’t want to make public. You just do not know…and the chances are, you never will.
So, how do we stop? The truth is, there’s no one answer, but there are steps you can take to reduce the amount you compare your life to others. Below are some ideas and tips that I’ve started to use and that I hope will help some of you as well.
Accept yourself, including your flaws
This one of the most important things you can do in life. Loving and accepting yourself is the key to increasing our own happiness. As I said earlier, NOBODY IS PERFECT. Identify the good aspects of yourself but also the flaws. Without acknowledging your flaws, how can you improve on them and achieve your end goal?
Be proud of your accomplishments
If you feel yourself comparing, take a look back at your life and what you’ve accomplished. Chances are, there will be far more than you thought so be proud of what you have achieved and use that as motivation to make new goals instead of looking at someone else’s.
Spend more time on yourself
When focusing on others, we are spending more time on people that we probably don’t know instead of our own lives…but what’s the point? Rather than comparing your journey to someone else’s and attempting to match their life, use that time to focus and care for your own.
Make note of what triggers you
Whether it’s social media, someone you know, or something else, learn to understand your triggers. Not only will this put you back in control but it is also helpful in making sure that you avoid these triggers in the future.
Social media detox
This is something I need to do more of and I cannot stress it enough. Whilst I love social media, I spend far too much time on various apps every day and after five minutes, I’m usually comparing myself to someone. If you’re easily distracted or bored, use that time to do other activities such as reading, a quick workout or a walk around the block. Set a timer each day to check social media and once that timer is up, leave it. I would also suggest that at least once a week, don’t go on social media at all. Give yourself a break and connect with the people right in front of you.
Remind yourself to be grateful
Looking at another person’s life makes it easy to forget about your own. Instead, make a list each day of three things that you are grateful for. Doing this often will not only make you appreciate what you have but will hopefully help you realise what is really important.
Remember that no-one’s life is perfect
I mentioned earlier that people often show you what they want you to see rather than their reality. This is more true than you know. Someone’s ‘perfect life’ on Instagram or in person may not be what it seems. As much as this blog is about me being open and honest, I’d be lying if I said I showed you every aspect of my life because I don’t…and whether you admit or not, you probably don’t either. So next time you want to compare your life to someone else’s, remember that nothing is ever as it seems. There’s no point comparing if you don’t know the full story.
Don’t set time limits to your goals
Just because someone else has reached a similar goal before you, don’t let this sway you from still wanting to achieve it. Our lives are all going at very different rates and believe it or not, there’s no ‘one age’ to accomplish something. Follow your path and your path only. If you want really want something, it can come to you no matter how long it takes.
At the end of the day, the only person you should be comparing yourself with is you. How can you be a better person? How you can improve your quality of life? What will make you happy? How can you achieve your goals?