We’ve all been there—wishing we had someone else’s life and thinking that it would make our lives that much better. I think intuitively we know that comparison is a happiness killer but it doesn’t stop us from wanting what we think we need. I’m definitely guilty of this, so in order to preserve my own mental well-being, I’ve had to talk myself out of the comparison rabbit hole by remembering the following things:
You are comparing your insides to other’s outsides
You have no idea what it’s like to be someone else, all you know is your experience of someone else based on what they choose to show you. If someone is styled to perfection, for example, it doesn’t then mean that their life is right out of a magazine. It helps me to disassociate from my thoughts and recognize that just because I think something, it doesn’t make it true. Thoughts are passing ideas that mean nothing unless you identify with them, so next time you compare yourself to someone else, actively step outside of your feelings by labelling them for what they are: ‘a jealous/insecure/anxious thought’ and move on.
Everyone goes through peaks and valleys and your time will come too
It’s hard not to compare yourself to someone who seems to ‘have it all’. But it’s important to recognize the possibility that you might be seeing them at a high point—and what goes up, must come down. It’s kind of like a karmic balancing of the universe; everyone goes through peaks and valleys and your time will come too. I think one of the best but perhaps hardest things you can do for yourself is to celebrate in other people’s happiness because when good things come your way, you’re going to want the same treatment—and let’s face it, you actually feel better when you can selflessly be there for other people.
What you are jealous of is an indication of what you could be working on
If we truly want to be happy, we owe it to ourselves to try and fix the thought patterns that aren’t serving us. This means understanding what drives us to think we aren’t enough exactly as we are. Often what we focus on in other people are the qualities we feel most insecure about in ourselves, but instead of letting that bring us down, use comparison as inspiration to make positive changes. If you are jealous of someone’s success, for example, brainstorm ways to bring in extra income, start exploring new opportunities or set some tangible goals in your job so that you have something to work on. In short, take the focus off of other people and bring it back on you.
Focus on your own shit
Whenever you find yourself in a negative headspace, take a time out and identify 3-5 things you can be grateful for right now. When you practice gratitude, you focus on what you have, instead of what you don’t have, which automatically shifts your energy to a more positive place. Next, from that grateful mindset, compare yourself with where you are now versus where you came from—have you overcome adversity? Did you learn an important lesson? Have you made positive changes? When you can take stock of what is good in your life now and compare yourself against you, it is easier to accept that what you are struggling with today is temporary because you will continue to grow and change.
Comparison is an inevitable condition of being human but that doesn’t mean we have to suffer for it. If we can see it for what it is, a tool that gives us information about ourselves, then we can leverage it to make ourselves better, wiser and happier.