‘Comparison is the thief of joy’.
This quote couldn’t be truer. The more time people spend focusing on what others have, the less time they have to appreciate what it is that they have. There is no doubt that comparing leaves people feeling worse, yet why does it happen so often?
We grow up in a competitive world. From a young age we are compared to our peers. Whether it is our social, physical or emotional development – it is all looked at next to our peers. And unfortunately this theme stays with us through to adulthood.
People often compare themselves to others in a variety of ways – perhaps in terms of looks, success, wealth, status or even in terms of relationships. Social media heightens such comparison. Pictures and posts of how well people are doing in variety of areas only add to others feeling inadequate in some way or not good enough.
Groups that people belong to – whether that be long term friendship, parent groups, colleagues, fitness classes etc. Where ever you go there is a sense of wanting to fit in, wanting to belong and needing to feel accepted.
If someone is feeling low, or lacking in self-esteem, then the pull towards comparing can be heightened. They are likely to see only the positives in another person’s life, and to create an image that isn’t reality. An image that ends up making them feel so much worse about themselves and their life.
The reality is that people mainly share the positives about their life. Post the things that make them feel better about themselves and display the side of them that they think people want to see. This leads to others tending to do the same thing.
And so it goes on.
The pressure is there – to be good enough. To look good enough. To achieve, to have what others have and to conform to the expectations around us. People end up getting drawn into complying with social norms and losing sight of what it is that makes them truly happy.
Strip it away for a moment – take a step back.
Does it matter what someone else says? What car they drive? Or what house they live in? Does it matter how someone else looks? Or how they live their life? Is it really an issue if they exercise more or less then you? If they go out more or less then you? Does it truly matter what job they have? Is it important what relationship status someone else has? Or how many children they have or want? Is their opinion on your life really important?
If you are truly honest with yourself – it doesn’t. It really doesn’t matter. Every one of us is totally unique and different. We all approach things in a different way and we are living our lives the way that we would like too. Or at least aiming to do so.
Remember the more you look around you, the less you look in front of you. Just for today, step back and look at what you do have. What makes you happy? What makes you feel good? Who is in your life and what is in your life? I am sure there is a lot of positive, and where there isn’t, there is time for things to change or improve. Life doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s a work a progress. But I promise you one thing. The more you start focusing on you, and the less you focus on others – the better you will feel.