I Became Happier After I Stopped Comparing Myself to Other People

We are all in the same storm but we are not in the same boat.

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Person A

They lost their job during the pandemic because business was bad. Now they’re struggling with mental health issues as a result.

Person B

They’re leaving their job voluntarily because business is booming. They’re struggling to cope with the increased demands of the job and it’s having a negative effect on their mental health.

Which would you rather be?

That’s not a fair question. There should be a third option. You wouldn’t want to be in either of those two situations. The third, ideal option would be: earning a good living in a booming industry and whilst enjoying a balanced healthy lifestyle without mental health issues to deal with.

I used to spend a lot of time making comparisons. I was fortunate to have a mother who did not allow herself to get caught in that web. One of the things she would say was –  Be yourself. That’s hard when you don’t know how.

Comparing ourselves to others seems to be in our DNA. We do it because it helps us assess how we measure up against other people.

We compare ourselves with people who we believe are better than we are in life or a specific area. These people are also the ones we usually choose as mentors because they are where we want to be. This is called “upward social comparison.”

Other times we make comparisons to determine where we are on the social ladder. In this case we tend to compare ourselves with someone we consider as worse off than we are. This is called a “downward social comparison.”

The Negative Consequences of Comparing Yourself to Other People

There’s a downside of comparing yourself to other people.

  • You will feel depressed.
  • You may become resentful of those who are seemingly doing better than you are.
  • You become insecure.
  • It can paralyse you into inaction resulting in your life stagnating.

The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. – Steven Furtick

How to Stop This Harmful Habit

  • Focus on what is going well in your own life.
  • Practice gratitude daily.

Someone once said – Be the standard by which others will be measured. When I finally grasped this truth I stopped comparing myself to others. I’m a lot happier as a result.

Final Thoughts

Recognise that you are the super hero in your life story. There’s no Superman, Batman or Black Panther hero coming to rescue you. If you’ve locked yourself in your own mental prison it’s time to break out. Super heroes never run away from villains, or give in to them. Instead, they face them, then erase them.

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