Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” We do it every day. We do it at work. We do it watching TV. We do it scrolling through Facebook. We do it in class. We do it lying in bed late at night. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other people, diminishing our self-worth and putting ourselves down. “I wish I had his job.” “If only my body looked half as good as hers.” “I wish I could afford a new car.” “I wish I was engaged.”
Enough is enough. You are slowly killing yourself.
The truth is, even the most confident people in the world compare themselves to others from time to time. It’s a normal occurrence. Even that person with the seemingly perfect life has compared themselves at one point to someone else.
But do you let yourself get out of hand? If so, it’s time for you to make some changes.
Step 1: Practice self-acceptance
There is always going to be someone out there who has something that you admire and/or desire. But if you are constantly focused on a facet of someone else that you wish for and are dwelling on personal dispositions that you don’t have, you are spiraling down a dark and dangerous path, my friend. Not to mention that you are completely blind to seeing how special you are. Comparison is another word for insecurity; it’s time to accept yourself for who you are and to beat that insecurity. You deserve self-love, and you owe it to yourself to embrace what makes you beautiful and unique, both on the inside and out.
Step 2: Be happy with what you have
When it boils down to it, comparison stems from the process of being unhappy with what we don’t have. We always want MORE; whether it’s a better car, more friends, more money, or heck, more people to like us. We easily get jealous if we see that somebody has something that we don’t have, and we think that we are not as good as that person because of it. Once we start focusing on what we do have rather than what we don’t have, we are one step closer to self-acceptance. Sooner than later, you won’t CARE about what others have, because you will be happy with what you have. Your confidence will radiate and people will naturally be attracted to you because you are so happy in your own skin.
Step 3: Focus your energy elsewhere
What is causing you this unhealthy addiction? Find the root of the problem and steer clear from it until you feel that you are strong enough to make some personal changes. Perhaps you may need to cut yourself off from Facebook for a few days, or possibly weeks. Maybe making these changes includes distancing yourself from people who focus too much on what other people think. Whatever the cause, focus your energy on something more positive. Do things that make you feel GOOD about yourself. Plant a garden. Re-furnish your house. Take your kids to the park. Stop thinking so much about things that really don’t matter! Which brings me to the next point.
Step 4: Surround yourself with people who lift you up
Sometimes the root of the problem is that we forget our self-worth for the time being. Surround yourself with people who will make you feel good about yourself. Your family and true friends will love you no matter what you look like, what your job is, and how much money you have. You need these positive influences to keep yourself grounded when you have these negative thoughts circling in your head. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded by those who love us of our self-worth.
And lastly, but most importantly…
Step 5: Love yourself, flaws and all
Realize that you are never going to be perfect, and that nobody is. Love yourself for who you are. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break at times. And above all, remember that there is nobody quite like you in this world, and that’s what makes you so beautiful.
I know that this journey is easier said than done. To assure you that everybody compares themselves to others from time to time, I’ll share with you a personal example of my struggles. When I was in college, it took me 4.5 years to graduate. In reality, this isn’t a long period of time at all. But when all of my friends were graduating and I had to wait another semester, it seemed like the end of the world. Friends all around me were accepting their first “real” jobs, getting into med school, getting into Master’s programs, buying a brand new vehicle, and buying homes. I pitied myself and was bitter that I was still stuck waitressing, could barely afford groceries, and wondering if I would ever get the hell out of college so I could make some money.
When I was comparing my life to others, it stole more happiness of mine than I should have ever let it. I found myself jealous of friends, which made me feel like an absolute jerk. I knew that if I truly wanted to be happy, I needed to change my frame of mind and stop comparing my life to others. Since I have made that decision, I have been so much happier. But I am also human. I get insecure at times and I let these insecurities get the best of me. But despite these roadblocks, I know my self-worth. I try to stop myself when I realize that I am comparing myself to others and think of a characteristic that I have unique to myself that I love. This has been a continuing journey and not something that has always easy for me.
I truly believe that I have come a long way, and I know that you can too.
Stop the habit. Break the cycle. KNOW YOUR SELF-WORTH. I believe in you all. But do you believe in yourself?