Have faith in someone like me; an identical twin who is compared to at every coffee shop, at every family get together, and at every social gathering. To an extent it’s nature, twins are undeniable comparable. I majored in International Relations, her in International Business. I play defense on the soccer field, she plays offense. Not to mention the frequent:
“Who is taller?”
“Which one is smarter?”
“Who has a better job?”
“I’ll just call you by your last name, so I don’t confuse you”
As someone who could have easily fallen into the trap of comparing myself to my twin and my peers, I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t. Before I outline why comparisons should be avoided, I’d like to mention that they are ok in moderation. Some people find motivation in comparisons, and others find reassurance. What becomes unhealthy is comparing yourself in extremes, or comparing yourself in a negative state. Sometimes we jump to compare when we see someone around us succeeding or when we see ourselves failing. It’s inevitable, but these five points are here to help you when you fall into the comparisons trap.
You’re losing time on yourself
Comparisons are inevitable. Of course, it will cross your mind that your best friend has the dream job or that your cousin has moved abroad for work, but pondering on these comparisons won’t save you any time or sense of mind. Invest this valuable time in your work, your relationships, and your goals, rather than wasting time dwelling on what you have not yet achieved, or who you have not yet become. When you fall into this dangerous trap, the only time and energy you are wasting are your own.
You only have control over your life
You cannot control where the wind blows, just as you cannot control what the people around you do, say, or become. The only bit of control you have is over yourself, so focus on the world around you, but focus more on your contribution to the world.
These comparisons may be inaccurate
Imagine you feel yourself sinking at work, while you see your peers soaring. Not only may your perception of others be false, but so too may be your perception of yourself. Next time you think of comparing yourself to someone else, re-evaluate the situation and acknowledge that you may not have all the information.
Comparisons often lead to resentment
Comparisons in moderation can benefit you. However, if you excessively compare yourself to everything around you, you may end up resenting your surroundings, and yourself. Humans tend to shy away from admitting jealousy or resentment, but we all feel it. Make the effort not to compare, so as to avoid feelings of resentment.
Things aren’t always fair.
Have you ever felt that some things simply fall into people’s laps: exotic vacations, new jobs, or unexpected opportunities? To your dismay, I cannot deny this reality. Very often, life and circumstances come down to privilege. Equally often, those with such privilege tend to deny its existence, but the reality is that some people are born with advantages that you may never have. Once this reality is acknowledged, you can more peacefully come to terms with it, and understand that though you will put in work, you may reap the benefits at a slower rate than some of your peers.
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