“Comparison is the theft of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
In the age of social media, we are bombarded with posts of how successful our friends, celebrities and even strangers are on a daily basis. It is normal to compare — humans have been doing it for decades — but it’s also important to limit just how much you are comparing yourself.
It is hard to remember that what people post online are essentially highlights of their life at the moment. We see all the awards they are getting and the new opportunities they receive, but we don’t see their struggles to get there.
While for some, it may seem like they didn’t actually work to accomplish these achievements, we don’t actually know. So why dig deeper? It’s just a waste of energy to figure out whether they did or not.
As humans, we like to compare our lowest qualities with someone else’s greatest qualities, which warps our perception of how we view ourselves.
So how do we stop this? Here are some ways to stop the cycle of comparison.
1. Limit how long you spend on social media platforms
Yes, I know it’s hard to not mindlessly scroll through social media all day, but it is the best way to limit what you can compare yourself to. Here’s what you do: go on your social media apps and unfollow people who cause you to compare yourself. It’s okay if it’s a close friend or family member; you’ll have a better relationship when you aren’t wishing to be them.
I personally deleted all my social media apps besides one that I decided to use for contacting. This allowed me to find better ways to spend my time and made me more willing to start conversations with strangers. Instead of scrolling through Instagram while waiting for my classes to start, I would talk to my classmates or read a book while I waited.
2. Figure out your triggers and how to avoid them
It’s important to write down accounts and situations that cause you to be depressed or disappointed in yourself. Create a list of people you compare yourself with and what thoughts come up when you do. Use this to gauge how you can limit yourself from interacting with them.
3. Look at what makes you different
Everyone is born different. None of us have the same voice, laugh or personality, so why should you compare yourself to someone completely different?
Create a list of what you like about yourself, whether it’s your smile or your style. Then, put it somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Let this be your reminder of how special you are. You should look at the list and be proud of the person you are. It’s okay to be confident with yourself, there’s nothing wrong with knowing who you are and loving it.
Comparison is not necessarily a bad thing to do. You can use it for motivation to become better. It should also be recognized that the only person you should be comparing yourself to in the first place is yourself. Focus on becoming a person you are happy with, not what you think others will like. It’s up to you how you want to change.
There is no race in life that determines whether you’ll be successful if you win it, you just have to experience life for itself and all of its ups and downs. If you continue to compare, you’ll be wasting precious time worrying when you could be doing something that makes you happy and grateful to be you.