Updated: Jan 13, 2020
You know it already.
Comparison is the thief of joy
- Theodore Roosevelt
You know you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Yet, that’s often easier said than done.
Job title, income, grades, house, and Instagram follows—the number of categories in which we can compare ourselves to others is infinite. So is the number of people we can compare ourselves to.
Comparison is generally the fast track to unhappiness. It’s a recipe for misery. All it does is keeping you focused on what you don’t like about yourself and your life.
I've learned the hard way that the more I focused on other people's journey, and not my own, the more I lost control. Eventually, I reached a point where I questioned my decisions, my beliefs, crushed my hopes, and that’s when I knew I had to change perspective pronto. Thankfully over time, hope and happiness started to slowly fill my life the moment I learned how to love and accept myself for all that I am.
So how does one stop the vicious cycle of self-hate, endlessly comparing oneself to another and start being happily contented in life?
The good news is, there are a few strategies I've adopted over the years and it has served me well. I'm not saying that I am 100% free from the "comparison trap", because I am only human, and it happens even to the best of us. But the most critical part to bring yourself to a happier state of mind is to understand yourself and the world a little better while using some helpful tips to bring balance back into your life whenever you are thrown off balance.
Learning through video is more your thing? No problem. Then check out the video below.
IS IT REALLY BAD TO COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS?
Very honestly, I would say, if you used someone as a role model to set a healthy benchmark for yourself to achieve, then that is perfectly fine. In fact, I would totally tell you to go ahead, emulate and set away!
But if you see what others are doing on social media, at work, and on television, and start to compare yourself unfavorably with these folks, then, in short, making comparisons with others just sets you up for failure.
These negative comparisons are the path to unhappiness. They make you feel jealous, inadequate, and inferior. They cause you to make poor decisions. They cause you to feel greater stress, anxiety, and depression.
So how can you bring back balance and happiness into your life if you're caught in a deadly comparison wheel?
#1 EMULATE FOR GROWTH, NOT TO CONDESCEND
It is very easy to look at others and see their successes, their wealth, their relationships, and think about all the millions of ways you are a failure in comparison.
But here's the thing, while you are busy comparing yourself to those who you believe are more successful and happier than you are, what about those that are in a less fortunate situation than you? Or those who you may perceive as not as successful as you are? What does that make them?
Stupid? Poor? Idiots?
Is it fair to judge them?
Because each of us is made up of multiple facets of life experiences, beliefs, and values. It's almost impossible to fully understand what makes a person who they are or what influenced them to choose the path that they did. With that in mind, how can we compare ourselves to others or judge another person in a fair manner?
Harsh truth is, you can't.
To add on, many people say social media is bad. I say otherwise. It isn’t bad, it is simply how you use it. Use it to inspire yourself, get ideas, become a better version of you, and you can push yourself to greater heights. Just be mindful to catch yourself the moment your evil side starts to sway you away from your path.
Emulate those who you look up to, learn from them, and set healthy goals for yourself to work towards, but don't hop on the evil comparison wheel and start condescending yourself.
SOLUTION 💡 Practise catching your triggers. Whether it's social media, a place, a person, anything, identify what that trigger is, and either build up your mind power to not fall into the comparison trap before attempting at looking at this person or specific page or, if you find it too overwhelming, then perhaps avoiding it altogether for a while (social media detox) may do you good.
If you do accidentally slip onto that wheel every now and then, remind yourself that if you really wanna compare, then be fair and compare all sides - those you see as above you, and those less fortunate than you. You'll start to see that you actually ain't doing so bad in life as you thought you are.
#2 ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY SURE THINGS ARE WHAT THEY SEEM?
Let's play pretend.
Let's say, you see a well-dressed man, wearing a branded watch, shoes, clothes, slick hair, drives a BMW M5, holds a Senior Vice President position in a big company, eats at fancy restaurants, and has a good looking girlfriend by his side, what would go through your mind?
Most guys might think...
"Wow, that guy is lucky. I'm jealous."
"He has it all. I wish I was him."
Something along those lines, right?
Now, what if I told you that in reality, this man is drenched in credit? What if he had a gambling problem? What if I told you he even asked for thousands of dollars from his girlfriend? And, what if I told you, that girl was me?
To give you a different example, there was a story back in 2018 of an Instagramer that racked up over $10k of debt in an attempt to become Instagram famous. Shocking right?
Furthermore, if you see a person of wealth and status and you start feeling envy, remind yourself that it is not fair to judge yourself being in chapter one to those people who are in chapter 30 of their lives.
These people definitely didn't become an overnight success without lots of planning, hard work, setbacks, and challenges along the way (unless they are alien and have superpowers).
And, above all, as Winston Churchill once said,
Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts
Consistent effort is always needed to maintain anything in life. One day those people may be way up there while you are feeling down and out, and years from now, those roles may just change 180 degrees (which, don't forget about me then 😉).
Moral of the story?
💡Never ever ever judge a book by its cover. Get to know them, their full real story, and then you are free to make a conclusion. But before that, remind yourself that whatever you see through photos and glances of people's lives could just be one big fat lie.
In fact, a person dressed in simple clothes, eating at an easy-going cafe, might just be more loaded and more successful than those who show-off. Why? Because these people know that there is no need to show off in order to feel happy. And anyway, showing off only attracts the wrong kind of attention which a smart person wouldn't want.
So... what were you jealous about again?🤔
#3 STAND FIRM BY YOUR MORAL VALUES AND COME OUT A WINNER
If someone tells you you need to go get bigger boobs because that’s what everyone else is doing, but that’s not what you want, simply smile and walk away. You don’t have to change to be accepted or loved. You don’t have to do something to please people to blend in.
News flash: It is IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone all the time. If you really wanna please someone, please yourself.
I spoke about this in my video about How To Overcome Social Anxiety.
Reality is, you will never be able to please everyone. It is a futile mission, so why shoot yourself in the foot?
Let me give you a couple of examples:
Back when I was working as a cabin crew, I don't know if it is still applicable now, but back then, the senior crew liked to carry Louis Vuitton bags and wear a very specific Tiffany & Co bracelet and somehow, the junior crew more often than not, followed in their footsteps and bought the same things. Now, I have nothing against it. If someone likes a specific thing, then be my guest and have it.
But what I couldn't understand is, why did the junior crew always tend to follow the senior crew and buy the exact same things that they did? Was it in hopes to be accepted? Just to blend in?
But the thing is, though many of them seem like they're wealthy and life is great, but I've also heard of some of them sometimes having serious financial issues.
Here's a different example, when I was working in a fitness company, many of my staff liked to spend all their money on buying Starbucks coffee and expensive meals right after receiving their pay for the month. When one staff did it, another staff thought it was cool, or they might feel jealous about them enjoying such indulgences, and so they followed suit. Then by the middle of the month, they would start to stinge on themselves and not eat food or drinks that were too expensive (sometimes even skip meals). Interestingly, these staff always had money issues while I had none. One of them even wanted to steal company money to buy baby milk powder for her babies at one point.
I'm the total opposite. I was always very financially stable since I started working at the age of 19, and that's all thanks to my ability to control my spending urges and manage my finances well.
Above all, I've learned that just because the majority of people are doing or buying a certain thing, doesn't make it good or right.
I am not a shopaholic, and I only spend when necessary. My mentally is more to save for a rainy day whenever it happens, and splurge only occasionally as an act of self-care or maybe as an act of love for my family and friends. This is how I was brought up and the values that my parents taught me, and those are the values that I am proud to stand by firmly no matter what others may say or think.
I understood that though those fancy things or expensive food were nice to have, but they weren't a must. I could live perfectly fine and happily even without them.
SOLUTION 💡There is nothing wrong with standing by what you believe in and in doing what makes you comfortable. Bending your beliefs just to please others only results in hurting yourself.
The choice is yours: To please others or yourself?
#4 TAKE MOMENTS TO BE THANKFUL
When you focus on what you have, your brain has lesser space and energy to focus on what you lack. This is the beauty and the power of our left prefrontal cortex. Research has shown that the more you activate and train this part of your brain, the more well-being you welcome into your life.
When you train your mind to focus on and be thankful for your blessings; the people who love you, the job that you have, the roof on your head, the food that you eat, the things that you own, it is then programmed to seek more of these blessings and doubles them. In essence, practicing gratitude leads to abundance.
The same theory goes for if you focus on what you lack. By doing so, you’ll repeatedly attract a feeling of lack in your life, and nothing will ever be enough.
A heart filled with gratitude has no room for comparison; the thief of joy.
There is always an opportunity to see positivity in any circumstance provided you initiate the effort to see it.
How can you learn to live a life filled with gratitude?
SOLUTION 💡 It doesn't take hours to practice gratitude. Just take 5 minutes in the morning, or before you sleep (or both), and think about 3 things that you are truly grateful for. Personally I do this every night before I sleep when I pray and give thanks to God for the people and things that I'm blessed with.
A life of gratitude is simply living while being present in the moment (mindfulness), having a thankful heart, and take nothing and no one for granted.
Once you’ve watched or read through this article, I’d love to hear from you.
What steps have you taken to help you in making life-changing decisions? Do share your knowledge and experience in the comments below.
Share as much detail as you can. Many lovely souls come here for insight and inspiration. Your story may be just what someone else needs to have a major breakthrough.
I really hope this helps. I hope you've come to see that there is no benefits to your life to compare and condescend yourself. Focus on your path and where you'd like to be years from now. Invest your time and energy into making the best out of this beautiful life you have been blessed with and blessings will start to unfold right before your eyes 😘
Thank you so much for watching, sharing, and adding your thoughts. Now let go of your fears and know that there is always a choice.
Live strong, and have the courage to create a life you love because your happiness matters.
With SO much 💖,
P.S. Have a question you’d love to ask me? Do give me your Q on my page Ask Trish Anything and I'll personally get back to you with some empowering steps to help guide you through your challenges. I look forward to serve and help you towards a brighter future, a future you've always dreamt of. Do give me your Q here.
Knowing when to ask for help and guidance is not weakness. If anything, it's a strength.
P.P.S. **BOOKS I RECOMMEND TO HELP YOU LIVE A MINDFUL, THANKFUL, AND HAPPY LIFE**
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