“Comparison is the death of joy.” – Mark Twain
I am guilty of it, you are probably guilty of it too. Even when we don’t intend to we compare ourselves to others as if it is almost a natural process. We know that by comparing ourselves to others we feel as if we are not good enough, and yet we all still do it.
Because it is so easy to compare our ‘failures’ to other people’s successes. Especially as we only see a tiny fragment of their lives and base our judgments on our own lives against these. How do you know they are not thinking the same about you?
In a digital age, it is even harder to not get involved in and feel envious of other peoples lives when we witness so many aspects of them on social media on a daily basis. Incredible Instagram photos, Facebook success updates and hilarious tweets that you will never think of but wished you had.
As a digital marketer, I spend most of my day online, witnessing what others are sharing and doing across the world. I can see how it is so easy for people to become obsessed with comparing the lives of the famous fashion bloggers and fitness campaigners that they follow with their own. We need to remember to instead focus on and value the things we are pleased with about our own lives, what we are achieving each day, and what we really love doing!
The reality is, what we often see, hear and witness online is often just a well-executed marketing campaign for an individual and their life.
Around two years ago, I made a conscious decision to at least try and stop comparing myself to others. These are the principles that I follow to stop worrying about other people’s lives, and focus on enjoying my own.
- Comparing is addictive.
You can always find something to compare about when looking at others. Whether it is their hair, car, luxury holiday or amazing job, the list will never end. Once you realise this, and know that everyone else faces the same situation, it makes it easier to stop and focus more on your own life and goals.
I have seen relationships that are crafted so perfectly online crumble to the shock and sadness of others. Don’t compare yourself to the snippets of others’ lives that you see. There’s always more below the surface.
- Celebrate your successes.
People find it hard to give themselves praise, however it is incredibly important that you realise your potential, and celebrate your successes.
What are you good at? You could be an incredible cook, or a really good friend. You might be awesome at your job, or really good at helping others achieve their goals. Perhaps you have amazing hair, or are really good at Karaoke! Everyone is unique, and we all have our own skills and attributes that are pretty amazing.
Write down what you are good at, no being shy here, and when you feel yourself comparing yourself to others, focus on these instead. It might not stop the comparing to start with, but it will stop the cycle of making you feel bad.
You are living your unique life, they’re living theirs. Of course you’re going to be good at different things!
- Realise that no one is perfect.
In a digital age it is hard to remember this as we are bombarded on a daily basis with perceived perfection.
Models on magazines, articles on how to be as successful as a 21 year old CEO, and videos of people travelling the world to incredible places.
What we don’t see is the hours of makeup that go into creating that one cover shoot, the sacrifices that the CEO had to make to succeed at their career, or the down sides to travelling such as 16 hours on cramped overnight trains with just inches of personal space.
There’s always a bigger picture, and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to the snapshots of other people’s lives that are displayed to us.
Compare yourself to yourself. What have you done today that you are happy about? (makes you feeeeeel proud!)
- Focus on the values that matter.
At the end of the day, think about values make you feel good in the long term. Is it having that new car feeling that diminishes as the car gets older and friends get newer shiner models? Or is it helping others on a daily basis to achieve their dreams.
If you care more about giving, caring, listening and supporting, you will find that you don’t need to compare your material successes to others anymore, as your values have changed.
- Less time on others, more time on you.
At the end of the day, we spend so much time worrying about our own lives, we rarely focus on the lives of others.
It is the same for everyone. So stop caring about what others think about you and start caring about what you think about you. Make your dreams come true.