- “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.”- Iyanla Vanzant
While many of us know that comparing ourselves to others may bring in jealousy and toxicity, we still end up doing it. Sometimes intentionally and other times without even realizing it. The fact is, this behaviour of comparing has become such a natural part of our lives that it seems like there is no escape from it.
But think about it for a moment, if you compare the strengths of other people with your weaknesses, what do you think the outcome would be? Do you think it’d be something pleasurable or enjoyable? While there is no denying that such comparisons can sometimes encourage you to do good or maybe even become a better person, this is seldom the case.
Especially, in this age of social media, it is almost impossible to use comparison for good. From someone’s lifestyle, physical appearance, even the number of followers, or likes they receive on their photos, it can often make people believe that they are just not enough. It is this sort of vicious loop that fails to cease no matter where you are or what you do.
But if you don’t learn how to stop it now, you will keep wasting your mental energy and even money just trying to keep up with everyone. Before talking about effective ways that can help you stop comparing yourself to others, let us first try to understand where this behaviour stems from and what its implications are-
The Root Cause of Comparing
As it turns out, this constant need to keep comparing ourselves has a biological cause. This process of comparison is used by our brain to determine how we measure against others. In other words, it enables us to understand what or who we are, our strengths, and our weaknesses.
In most cases, the comparison loop keeps running in the background, and we don’t even realize it. But problems occur when we start dwelling on others and highlights of their lives, careers, appearance, or success.
As humans, there is an innate need to belong and connect to others. But this behaviour of constant comparison severely impacts this natural need by making us believe that we are not enough to belong or connect. Ultimately, we end up risking our emotional health, confidence, and happiness.
So, what are the most harmful effects of this behaviour? Take a look-
How Comparison Harms You?
The thing with the comparison trap is it can impact people in many different ways. It is not a physical illness that will show the same set of symptoms or outcomes. But to give you an idea, here are some of the most common ways in which this behaviour to keep comparing ourselves can impact us-
- Rumination- The same negative thoughts will keep running in your mind on a loop. Rumination is dangerous for our emotional health.
- Depression and Anxiety- Needless to say, something that impacts your brain and thought process in such a negative manner can definitely intensify anxiety and depression.
- Overspending- It has been observed that people start overspending once they are in this comparison trap to keep up with others.
Here is an experiment you can perform yourself right now- Log into your social networking profile and spend some time reading the statuses of your friends, celebrities, and viewing their latest uploads. Now, log out from the account and focus on your thoughts for a moment.
There is a major possibility that you might not feel as good about yourself as you did before logging into your account. What happened? Even if you were not trying to intentionally compare your life, looks, etc., with that of others on the social platform, the comparison loop is very much active in the background.
Even studies have confirmed that spending time on social media often makes people feel bad about themselves. All of this negativity significantly impacts your mental state.
So, what is the way out?
3 Practical Solutions to Stop Comparing
How do you get out of this loop? Here are 3 ways that can help-
1. Accept What/Where You Are
The first step to initiate this change is to start accepting yourself. Start accepting where you are and what you are. Life is hard, and you’ve done an excellent job to be where you are today. Start accepting every aspect of your life and then focus on how you can make it better.
2. Practice Gratitude
Being appreciative and thankful for what you have will automatically shift your focus from the outside world to yourself. Focus on all the good things you have, and you will feel a sense of gratefulness and positivity. Gratitude brings along happiness.
3. Compete with Yourself
It is high time that you stop competing with others and try to work on yourself. The focus should always be on being the best version of yourself. Think about the ways in which you can improve yourself, be it with regards to your health, career, or finances.
The Comparison Trap Needs to End Now
As long as such comparisons don’t inspire you, you are better off without them. While this sure is easier said than done, you have done more complex things in the past.
Ditching the habit will definitely take some time and effort. But rest assured that there is a happier, content, and more satisfying life at the end of the tunnel. Not for anybody else, but you need to do this for yourself. You deserve it.