“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel “
– Steven Furtik
We are all guilty at one point or another of comparing our lives to someone else’s. Sizing ourselves up against our friends or neighbors in a private game of who’s better.
We live in an outrage culture where someone is continuously offended, insulted, or pulling to see others fail. As a society, we no longer look at the underdog to rise to the top. Instead, we revert to telling them they’re wasting their time trying to start the business of their dreams. “It will never work; no one wants to drink craft beer and ice skate.” Um, I kind of do. It doesn’t make you feel any better when you display this kind of behavior; in fact, it makes you feel worse and gives your self-confidence a real punch in the gut. I am as guilty as you are now and again, and I’m not proud to admit it.
The prevalence of social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram have made things even worse. We now know every exotic location that our friends visit, what they ate and the fabulous clothes they wore. How did we ever know what good food looked like before Instagram? It can be devastating and depressing to see all these highlight reels when our own life seems bland and mundane day in and day out. What are we missing out on that all these other people have?
The actor Johhny Depp said it best when it comes to money, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it buys you a big enough yacht to sail right up to it.” I think at one point in my life I’d like to give this “extra money” thing a try and see how the other half lives.
7 Ways To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
What are the best ways to stop comparing yourself to others? Here are a few tips that I have found to be useful:
Become more self-aware of what triggers you to have thoughts of self-comparison. Social media seems to be the biggest for most of us. If this is the case for you, limit the amount of time you spend on social media or stop following those that seem to be constant bragging offenders. Try to avoid putting yourself in situations that trigger social comparisons. Don’t go clothes shopping with your friends in high-end stores if you can’t afford the clothes or can’t be happy that they can.
Some of these feelings of comparison can come on quickly. One minute you’re okay, and the next moment you see a nice new sports car and remember that your car most likely won’t pass inspection next month. Write down your triggers so you can be aware of them in the future.
The time to reflect on what you do have and be grateful is when you begin to experience feelings of comparison. More often than not, the outward appearance of a situation is not what’s going on inside. My wife and I have often noticed couples who seem to be doing well in life with large homes and fancy cars but come to find out they are miserable at home and have terrible marriages. Remember that most people are putting their best life forward on social media and in public, but when you pull back the curtain, you reveal a different story.
You never know what is going on behind closed doors, so be happy for all that you have even if you feel it doesn’t measure up to others.
Stop the thoughts!
I’ve already discussed figuring out your triggers, but the trick is once you do feel comparison coming on, stop the thoughts. Take a deep breath and a minute to pause. Change your focus to the positives and what you are grateful for. Support people’s success and you might find this positive change causing you to succeed more.
Use comparison as fuel to motivate you
Look for healthy comparisons that can motivate you. Is there someone in your life who is the most positive person you’ve ever been around who makes you want to elevate yourself? Substitute negative comparisons for positive ones and become a better person. A critical part of goal setting incorporates striving and working hard for something. It is OK to want a more beautiful car. Make that nice car your goal and have it fuel you to do better and work harder instead of negatively motivating you against people who have more expensive things than you.
Remember, no one is perfect, especially you!
The perfect person doesn’t exist, so stop thinking they do. No one is perfect! You may have the mindset that you need to be perfect all the time, and if you don’t achieve perfection, you feel as though you’ve failed. Keep trying to improve yourself but realize you will never be that perfect person and be ok with that. Imperfection is what makes people who they are and what makes us all different.
Life = Risk and those that risk and step out of their comfort zone often are successful, more rounded people. There is a certain amount of success found in each failure. If we don’t fail in life, we will never succeed.
Love more – hate less
Comparing yourself to others can be eye-opening. When you look introspectively at yourself, you may find that you are judgemental and critical of other people to make yourself feel better about you. This negative way of thinking and acting can force you not to take notice of the postives in your life.
When you focus on the positives of the people you surround yourself with, you will start to feel more positivity in yourself and your life. Be thankful for all you do have, instead of comparing yourself to others and focussing on what others have that you don’t.
Compare only to yourself
Focus on your life and what you want to achieve and what you have already done in your life. Looking at what you have now versus last year can be a real motivational tool. Again, this is where goal setting plays a significant role in our lives. We are all different people and lead different lives. Focus on what you are doing and stop worrying about others. Thinking in this way can help you find areas in life that you need to work on. Where someone else is in life has no direct effect on your life. Only you can control your path in life.
Stop comparing yourself to others. A focus on not “having enough” will cause you to stay in an endless loop of negativity that will never lead to happiness. It won’t matter how many beautiful clothes you own, or expensive watches you buy, you will always want more. Chances are if you look hard enough, you may realize that what you have right now is all you ever really needed. For most of us, all we need is a roof over our head, food on the table each night, clothes on our back, and, most importantly, people who love us.
If you have these things right now, you have enough. Anything more is a bonus in life!
Do you compare yourself to others at times, and what do you do to stop this way of thinking? Let me know in the comments below.