Ever heard of the popular words, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’? This phrase couldn’t be more accurate. Comparing yourself to others around you will not only kill your happiness, but also affect your career, confidence, and even self-esteem.
The comparison habit is not easy to detect by just looking at a person. However, lots of people struggle from it. It starts manifesting itself as soon as you begin making progress. You shift from focusing on yourself to looking at what others have achieved or are doing. And what was once new and great becomes difficult and unexciting. Comparison is a trap that many of us get into without knowing. But with these tips, you can overcome it.
What Is the Comparison Trap?
Desiring better things than you currently have is okay. However, when you want to have a better house, better shape, or a better job than one of your colleagues, family member, or colleague, then you’ve most likely fallen into the comparison trap. The comparison trap is when you are unhappy with what you have because it does not measure up to what other people around you have. The several types are:
- Talent. It happens when you compare your abilities to another person’s gifts. Therefore, you don’t notice your uniqueness and get disappointed when you can’t do what another person can do.
- Financial resources. This is where you start comparing yourself to others in terms of financial capabilities.
- Career comparison. Here you compare your success to someone who has been in the industry for more years and is, therefore, more successful. Or a person who has just started their career and has achieved more than you.
- Social influence. Involves comparing yourself to someone who has more friends, followers, or subscribers online.
- Personal stories or journeys. This is where you feel inferior to someone else because their personal or career story is more exciting or inspiring.
Comparison at work wastes your time, lowers your self-esteem, distracts you from what’s essential, and breeds resentment. Read on to know how to beat it.
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Become Self-Aware
The key to stopping self-destructive thoughts is to figure out where they stem from. When comparison feelings creep in, find out what triggers them. Do you feel this way when you see your acquaintances succeeding faster than you? Are these successes about careers, romantic life, or academic accomplishments? What is the cause of the problem exactly? While these questions may be hard or painful to ask yourself, knowing why you feel the way you do can help you to identify the right actions to beat the comparison trap.
1. Keep Yourself and Your Social Media in Check
Social media is one of the most popular uses of the internet. According to Pew Research, about 74% of Facebook users log on to the site daily, and 51% several times a day. Among young adults (18-29 years) on social media, 77% said they used Snapchat daily, and 76% used Instagram every day.
But social media is a culprit of comparison and envy because everyone shares the best parts of their lives. Few, if any, will share their hardships, struggles, disappointments, or painful aspects of their routine. So, you can easily get sucked into other peoples’ lavish lives and start feeling resentful because your life isn’t as eventful and luxurious as theirs.
If you are always feeling awful when you log in to your Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram, it’s time to switch up your feed. Unfriend or stop following people that make you feel inadequate to overcome social media comparison. Leave groups that contribute to your making comparisons. And change your advertisement setting so that you don’t get suggestions for things that make you feel under accomplished or unworthy. If you use it in the right way and limit your time on it, social media can contribute positively to your life.
2. Evaluate Current Individuality Against Your Past Self
When you constantly compare yourself to others, you will always feel like a failure. So, if you have to compare, the only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself. That’s right, if you want to know if you are doing great today, compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Think about where you are now and where you were a year, a month, or a week ago.
Measuring your accomplishments to those of others isn’t positive. The only person it’s fair to compare yourself with is yourself. Have you achieved what you wanted to six months ago? Are you an improved version of your five years ago self? When you stop comparing yourself to others, you’ll feel more content with your life.
3. Be Empathetic Towards Others
The person you envy also has struggles, setbacks, and insecurities. You just don’t see them. See, you know yourself inside out (strengths, weaknesses, everything), but when it comes to other people, you only see things on the surface. By practicing empathy, you feel and understand what another person feels from his or her point of view.
Empathy is an essential quality even at the workplace, with 96% of employers saying that it is a vital employee attribute. Remember, unless you are the other person’s confidant, you can’t judge his or her life by just your outward view. So, appreciate that everyone’s life is complicated and don’t compare yourself to others.
4. Set Rewards for Your Accomplishments
Comparing your life to others prevents you from feeling the happiness and pride of success. The comparison trap makes you feel like your accomplishments are less worthy than someone else’s. Encourage and motivate yourself by rewarding your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Goals are achieved one step at a time. And rewarding your milestones can help keep you on the right course. In the end, what other people accomplish will not matter when your mind is fixed on a prize.
All that said, remember that gauging yourself with other people will always make you feel like you do not measure up. Create a clear vision of who and where you would like to be and set goals that will lead you there. Keep working towards your goals, and you will soon reach where you want to be.