Whether you scroll social media and compare yourself to those you don’t know, or one of your friends has achieved a career goal of yours and you’re feeling a little upset that it wasn’t your success, comparing yourself and your life to someone else’s is never a good thing to do.
The famous quote, “comparison is the thief of joy” was said by Theodore Roosevelt over 100 years ago, but it still remains incredibly relevant today.
In fact, it might be more relevant today than has ever been.
Unlike in Roosevelt’s day, we have the ability of being more exposed to the lives of others because of the ever-growing presence of social media - being able to compare ourselves is, unfortunately, more common than ever.
Whether you scroll social media and compare yourself to those you don’t know, or one of your friends has achieved a career goal of yours and you feel a little upset that it wasn’t your success, comparing yourself and your life to someone else’s is, in most cases, not a good thing to do.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at exactly why comparison is the thief of joy, and tell you how you can stop comparing yourself to others going forwards!
Why Can Comparison Be Dangerous?
Although many might claim that comparison can light a fire within us and motivate us to push harder to achieve our goals and get to where want to be, this is a very small positive of comparison - the detrimental side effects of comparison are much more likely to affect us.
The small chance of a positive spark of motivation outweighs the negative effects in most cases, and here’s why.
The act of comparing yourself to others (whether that’s your qualities, your personality, your looks, your financial situation, your job, or your lifestyle), can be incredibly detrimental to your mental health - comparison is almost always synonymous with low self-esteem.
Comparison can’t just potentially cause issues with low self-esteem though - it’s a problem that may take its toll on mental health and wellbeing in the long term if it isn’t dealt with.
If we subconsciously start to buy into a lie that we aren’t good enough, by believing that others are so much “better”, the cycle repeats - we may compare ourselves to everyone at all times, and may lose track of what we used to (and still should!) appreciate in our lives.
So, how do we break out of this cycle and stop dealing with the potentially negative effects of comparison?
How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others - 5 Tips!
Become Aware When You Are Comparing Yourself
The most important thing you can do to break the cycle of comparison is become aware of the moments when you compare yourself. Every time you notice that you compare yourself, in any way, to others, just register it.
Try not to judge yourself for comparing (judgment never helps!), but just notice your thoughts and try to ask yourself why you’re making this comparison and whether it’s actually benefitting you.
Over time, you will likely notice that since you’re more aware of your thoughts and consciously deciding to focus on moving away from comparison, fewer comparative thoughts will pop up in your mind!
Comparison can often block out the parts of yourself and your life that you love and are grateful for. So, the best way to counteract the negativity associated with comparison is to practice gratitude on a regular basis.
Whether you write a gratitude journal entry every day, stop for 5 minutes before the day starts to think about what you’re grateful for, or you actively show gratitude to your life and those around you, every bit of gratitude helps banish comparison!
Use Social Media Consciously
Although comparison may crop up in real life, social media can be a main instigator of comparison. There are three things you need to do when using social media to ensure you don’t succumb to comparison.
Firstly, it’s important to understand and reiterate to yourself that social media is a snippet into someone’s life, and you have no idea what’s real and what’s not. So, don’t get too hung up on it.
Secondly, try not to follow or subscribe to people that don’t bring you joy, inspiration, or happiness in some way. If you are continuously looking at people that urge you to compare yourself, it’s likely best to unfollow them.
Thirdly, try not to spend too much time on social media. Enjoying social media is fine, but try not to get too sucked into the online world - this may cause you to forget about your own life that’s happening right in front of you.
Find Joy In The Success of Others
A powerful way to stop comparison is to actually focus on finding joy in other people’s success. Rather than comparing yourself to someone and putting yourself down, why not find joy in the fact that they’re doing something that you think is impressive? Being happy for others is a great source of joy!
Switching the narrative from comparison to appreciation is incredibly useful - you pull yourself away from a negative habit and replace it with positivity.
Look At Your Own Growth
If you are someone that finds comparison useful to help with reaching goals or evaluating your life, try to stop looking at others and comparing yourself to them and look at your own growth instead!
Although comparison, even in this form, can be detrimental, if you are someone that feels the need to compare for inspiration, make sure you’re only focusing on comparing yourself to a previous version of yourself!
Don’t Let Comparison Take Away Your Joy!
Once you let go of comparison, you’ll begin to find much more joy and appreciation within your own life, whilst also being able to find joy in the success of others from a place of support and not envy.