The happiness levels in the United States have declined every year since 2012. And much of this decline is thought to be attributed to social media and the comparison game.
If you’re finding that you’re constantly comparing your success (or lack of success) to your friends, coworkers, and the people you knew in high school, now’s the time to stop.
Read on to learn how to stop comparing yourself to others.
Why You Should Quit the Comparison Game
Think about the last time you stalked an old classmate on social media or poured over a friend’s photos of her incredible vacation.
Did you walk away feeling content and satisfied? Or did you feel lacking? Maybe you wondered why you didn’t measure up, or you felt jealous that their lives seemed better than yours.
The problem with comparing yourself to others, if you’re not seeing the full picture.
Here are a few reasons why you should quit the comparison game.
Perfection Is a Myth
The amazing career progression, the perfect spouses and children, and the incredible vacations are just one tiny part of those lives. Sure, it’s true, but it’s only a part of the truth.
Your friend may announce that his novel is getting published, but may not admit that it was rejected 36 times before it was picked up by an agent. Your sister-in-law’s family may look perfect in that photo on the beach, but you may not be aware of the three hours of tantrums and squabbling that proceeded it.
Life’s Not Fair
Unfortunately, some people are born with more advantages than other people. A super-fast metabolism, perfectly symmetrical face, social connections, wealthy parents – these are all a massive leg up in this world.
Yet, when you compare yourself to these people, you’re often beating yourself up for not trying hard enough. But you’re competing on an uneven playing field.
Comparison Creates Rivals
Ideally, you’d genuinely enjoy and celebrate all of the accomplishments and joys of others. But if you’re using those accomplishments as a benchmark to evaluate your own life, jealousy is only natural.
Unfortunately, these feelings of envy will often make it difficult to be happy for your friends.
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
As the saying goes, a comparison is the thief of joy. If you want to quit comparing yourself to others, here are some ways you can make it happen.
If you’re reading this, you’re in the top 1% of the world. Your coffee costs about as much as 1.2 billion people will spend in an entire day.
Cultivating gratitude is one of the best ways to fight the urge to compare yourself to others who may seem to be “doing better” than you. If you won the “uterus lottery,” and you’re living off more than $34,000 over tax, you’re considered amongst the global elite.
So how do you cultivate gratitude? A gratitude journal is a good place to start. Every morning, make a list of three things you’re grateful for. The may be big, or they may be small, but whatever they are, take a moment to really feel that gratitude. It’s tough to play the comparison game when you’re truly grateful for the things you have.
Know Your Triggers
There are probably some situations that cause you to begin comparing your life to others. Once you know these triggers, you can avoid them.
For many people, social media is a big trigger. Or you may have a certain person in your likes to brag or ask pointed questions to make you feel inferior. It could be that windowshopping amongst designer shops does it for you, or driving through an expensive neighborhood makes you want to upgrade your life.
Make a list of these triggers. You may not realize they exist until you actually begin feeling those thoughts of comparison, and then you can note down exactly when and why those thoughts occurred.
Find Your Purpose
When you’re actually content deep down inside, you’re less likely to care or even notice what other people are doing. People who have a sense of purpose are less likely to be influenced by social media. That doesn’t mean that they don’t notice all the comments and likes, but they don’t use them to feed their self-esteem.
So what’s your purpose? What were you put on earth to do? What lights your fire? Comparisons will automatically be less relevant when you’re busy pursuing goals that you find worthwhile.
Use Comparison as a Form of Motivation
Wanting what others have is usually a waste of time. Unless they have something you truly want. In this case, ask yourself why you feel the need to compare your life.
Is it because you think you’d love to do what they do for a career, you’d also love to live by the beach, or you really want to travel more? Some of these types of things can be controllable. If you’d like to spend more time exploring different countries overseas, maybe you can find a job that allows you to travel. Or if you’d like to live somewhere warm, maybe it’s time for a change.
Focus on Your Strengths
Comparing yourself to others means you’re looking at your weaknesses and their strengths. Instead, make a conscious effort to focus on your own strengths. Consider how you can use these strengths to move your life forward, instead of compensating for your weaknesses.
So what if your best friend is amazing at math? Your writing abilities may lead to the next great American novel. Cut out the noise and focus on your own personal goals.
By using the above tips, you’ll know how to stop comparing yourself to others- so you can truly enjoy your life. By being grateful for what you have, recognizing your triggers, and staying in your lane, you can make the comparison a thing of the past.
Use comparison to motivate you to work hard, and you’ll be able to increase your success.
Need some help? Get in touch for one-on-one coaching.