In this time and age, with multiple social and professional networks it is easy to ‘check-up’ on old and new friends (and even foes), see what they are up to; their new Job, new house, new car, new degree, new child, recent trip… the list is endless.
What happens after this ‘check-up’? Do you begin to sulk at how much life has been unfair to you? Hate yourself for not being good enough? Wonder why you can’t keep up? Regret some choices you’ve made?
If all these sound familiar to you in any way, I have good and bad news for you. Bad news is “you are indulging in unhealthy comparison and it may eventually ruin your happiness”. The good news is “just like every bad habit it can be consciously tossed away”.
There are so many negative effects of comparison but I have taken time to list out the common ones;
- Downplaying ones achievements: You have just achieved a milestone worth celebrating but you overlook it because it is not as good as the recent achievements of one of your friends or someone you recently stalked~. You constantly remind yourself of how you deserve all the things they have.
- Envy steps in: Comparison and envy are an inseparable duo. The moment you begin to compare yourself with someone else, you find yourself asking “why always him/her? You begin to wish for things they have and most times wish them bad.
- Loss of Motivation: Questions like “what’s the point of working hard anyway when Jane gets it all?” comes to your mind more often than not. You lose interest in working hard because you conclude in your space that life is unfair to you.
- Moody and sad demeanour: Since you find it hard to accept that people have unique timing, you spend quality time sulking and wishing your life was perfect. This exposes your flaws more and keeps you stuck in a world of self-pity. You concentrate on what you want (that they have) rather than what you have.
- Inferiority Complex/ Low Self Esteem: After sulking and wallowing in self-pity you create a “maybe-they-are-actually-better-than-me” theory. And you begin to harbour inferiority complex and low self-esteem. You end up settling for less and you take in all possible crap from those you perceive are better than you.
If you are struggling with any of these (which is not abnormal) here are some things you might want to consider to help break this habit:
- You are Unique: this is one thing that keeps me going. We are all different and beautifully unique. Each of us have our different timing. Maybe it’s the other person’s time for harvest while your seeds are still trying to mature. Don’t let your anticipation for better things stop you from enjoying the beautiful things you have. This is in no way advocating for complacency and mediocrity. Good things take time, they will eventually come.
- People always display their best: The fact that your friends always put up pictures of the beautiful things happening to them doesn’t mean they don’t have struggles. A great mistake we make is comparing our everyday lives with our friend’s social media lives. The two are totally different. People always show their best side. Remember how many picture you had to bypass before you settled for your current profile picture, we often display our finest on social media. I have read some articles that suggest social media depresses you, oh well…, I just say be moderate about using social media, Live your life, work hard, stay positive and you’ll be just fine.
- Learn to be genuinely happy for others: Rather than worry about how messed up your life is when your friend uploads a new picture with their new car, be happy for them. Call them, share in their joy and share their joy. Nature has a way of rewarding hearts like these. Attend their wedding, house warming, birthday party and be genuinely happy for them. Don’t spread negative energy
- Make your own yard-stick: don’t idealize anyone’s progress. Set your standards and make out plans to achieve them in a timely fashion. Be nice to yourself and don’t let anyone’s progress do anything but inspire you. Make the move to ask them how they went about their achievement. Seek their advice if needful but do not idealise anyone’s success. Work daily to improve yourself and set SMART goals and be a better you, for you.
- Count your blessings (Keep a gratitude list): Since we don’t want to downplay on our achievements anymore, it is good to keep a record of all the beautiful things that happened to us. No achievement is small. irrespective of how insignificant it looks, celebrate it. This gives you a heart of gratitude and makes you want work harder to get lot of things to stay happy for.
Please stop all forms of negative and unhealthy comparison, it keeps you unhappy.
One of my resolutions for 2017 is to be happy and stay happy (…and yes I still made New Year resolutions, it still works for me). I have spent and I am still spending a reasonable amount of time on things and with people that make me happy while I keep away from those things that rob me of my happiness. You should join me!
“Comparison is the thief of Joy -Theodore Roosevelt”
Stay Happy and remember you are unique! Don’t try to stop being you.
Nonso (Rock Lover)