By Conor McCormick
How often do you compare yourself to others? Do you ever see someone succeed and wonder why you haven’t pushed yourself enough? Have you seen the beautiful relationship your friend has with their partner and felt inadequate with yours? Have you ever passed a homeless person and thought “Aren’t I lucky to have a home?” How have any of these situations helped you to improve your life? I don’t mean made you feel better or worse in the moment but how have they helped you to improve your life. These scenarios only serve the purpose of making you feel better or worse than someone else.
Jealousy has been around since the dawn of time. We get jealous of looks, success, money, relationships. We get jealous of those we love and those we hate. This freezes us in time. The time we spend wanting what others have is time we aren’t using to better ourselves. We also live in an age where comparison to others has become the foundation of our being. As cliche as it sounds, there is only one you, your experience on this planet is unique. Sure, it may be similar in many ways to the lives of others but you can’t compare apples to oranges. Their experience is not your experience.
Social media means people live off likes and comments. Why else do we share pictures and stories? A “like” validates your experience. What happened to living your own life? Say you’re having a great day at the beach with your family. You take pictures of it and then put it online. Why? To see if other people think you had a great day. Why? You may have your own story in your head as to why you’re putting this information online but this is what it boils down to. Validation from others. Why should your great day be dependent on other people saying it was great? People take multiple photos, pick the best one, edit it, attach a well put together caption ensuring the best possible scene has been painted. This is not even your reality. This creates an in-congruence with your actual life. All you’re doing is hating yourself and making your happiness dependent on others. Do you have any idea how much mental space this takes up?
Why do I want to compare my life to my high school friend Amy anyway? Why aim so low. Is it because it’s relatable, they’re achievable comparisons because you grew up in the same town and had a similar education? Why don’t you compare yourself to the greatest minds of all time? Sure, your life might be great compared to that of your second cousin Alfred but why aren’t you comparing yourself to Elon Musk? To J.K Rowling? If you’re going to use comparison as a means of inspiration, compare yourself to someone worthwhile.
There’s only one person you need to compare yourself to, this may surprise you, it’s YOU! You’re living your life. What works for someone else may not work for you. Their relationship is not your relationship. Every day you wake up, you get this blank page to fill with your life work, your name at the top of it, not someone elses.
I can’t change how you think, you need to do what you need to do but ask yourself how are these comparisons serving you? If you want a fulfilling life, comparing your life to that of others will never fill that void.