With social media incorporated in everyone’s life and filters that seem to give you an
unwarranted nose job and porcelain skin, comparing yourself to others has become an epidemic
that doesn’t discriminate by age, gender, or race. How can we stop comparing ourselves to the
perfectly tailored and heavily edited photos of our peers and strangers? Well, we can start by
embracing Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “Comparison is the theft of joy.”
This habit might be difficult to break as social media puts unrealistic illusions of what our lives
“should” look like. The truth is, not too many people post their struggles, hardships, and bad
days. Most of the things we view are highlights of people’s lives, the successful stage of their
business, how much money they are accumulating a week, their many vacations, and the list goes
on and on.
Additionally, societal “norms” also play an impactful role in the habit of comparing ourselves to
others. It makes us believe that our lives have specific guidelines and a timeline that we have to
follow to have a fulfilling life. The timeline typically is as follows: go to college, get a well-
paying job, get married, build a family, and buy a home by your early to mid-thirties. This alone
leads to negative feelings towards ourselves, especially when someone we know meets the
“ideal” life requirements before we do. In turn, we feel bad because our life is not moving in the
same place or speed as someone else’s.
What is the result of comparing yourself to others? Self-sabotage. The moment we second guess
our abilities, appearance, and successes due to what we see going on in someone else’s life, is the
moment we begin sabotaging our livelihood. Someone else’s livelihood should not serve as the
determining factor of how we view ourselves, or how we feel about ourselves. The worst part is,
you might not recognize how you’re self-sabotaging! It looks like focusing on the things that you
have not accomplished, playing what-if scenarios in your head, or second-guessing your life
You become blinded by the idea of what your life “should” look. Here’s the truth, you are
exactly where you are supposed to be. The timing of everything that is happening in your life is
going at the correct pace.
One of the more drastic results of comparing yourself to others is that it affects your self-esteem
and mental health. It can send you on a downward spiral if you don’t manage it early on. If you
do have a habit of comparing yourself to others, there’s hope! Let’s turn the negative thoughts
into more positive ones. For example, If you see someone doing something that you have
dreamed of doing or accomplishing, set the intention to make that happen for yourself. If
someone is more in shape than you and want to improve that aspect of your life, start that
journey today. Ask that person what helped them get in shape and figure out what works for you.
If someone just got hired for a position that you want, apply for that position somewhere else.
Find out what the qualifications are and learn what you need to know to be the best candidate.
Whatever the comparison is, look at it from a different perspective to make things happen for
your own life. Challenge yourself today!
Society has trained us to be intimated by others and assume that we have to outdo them because
they threaten our progress, but it’s a lie! Remember that you have a different purpose than
someone else. While we share similar characteristics, traits, and interests, we aren’t meant to
walk the same path. We have different directions to follow and destinies to fulfill. Learn to pay
more attention to your lane and don’t focus on what is happening in someone else’s. You are
your only competition- the goal is to become a better version of yourself to come out better than
before. We should be outworking the person we were yesterday, last week, last year!