I just started my new job, but I am already unhappy with it, I don’t like my boss, my coworkers – it’s just not how I imagined it would be. But somehow, everybody else around me seems to be getting the most out of their lives. They feel happy, joyful, self-accomplished, while I feel left here in the dust.
Who knew this job could be so hard? I thought I had it! The skills, the knowledge, the experience… I thought I knew what I was doing! I guess, not so much. Everyone is progressing while I sit here without the skills that got me this job. How’s that even possible?
It’s surreal that she is the one who was hired! How come that they didn’t even call me for an interview??? My CV is so much better than hers! I cannot believe everybody around me is able to find a decent job and I sit at home wasting my life when I am perfectly able to work for NASA. I must be doing something wrong or I just don’t have what it takes to get that job.
How many of you have experienced and did this? Well, maybe not everyone, I’ll agree. However, your confidence has surely taken a blow at some point in your life as you saw someone else is doing better than you in school, at work, in your class, family, or community. It might have even caused that some of you doubt if you’ll ever manage to straighten it all up and get your life together.
Comparing ourselves with others is an inevitable natural tendency. We all do it. Moreover, we often use it to question our own capabilities, accomplishments and self-worth. Although, it’s not just us who do this. It often happens that as we progress through life, we are constantly being compared with others by others – our parents, teachers, coworkers, and friends.
But, why do we do all of this? Why do we ignore our reality and focus on other peoples’ realities? Why don’t we just appreciate for who WE are? Isn’t our life interesting, fun, messy, complicated, demanding enough for us to direct our energy to all those things?
One of the first persons to study the phenomenon of social comparison was American sociologist Leon Festinger in 1954. He defined comparison as a biological urge to calculate our own worth based on how we stack up against others. Festinger believed that the desire to compare ourselves with others is as strong as any other urge i.e. hunger, thirst, etc.
Comparison mainly arises from our own insecurity. We invest a lot of time and energy in looking what the others are doing, desperately trying to be better than them. However, what we often do not realize is that we will never succeed if we go down this road, because we will never manage to explore and reach our full potential. On the contrary, it will lead us to unproductivity.
Comparison also has the element of self-destruction in it because it fills us with excuses and denials on the road to justifying ourselves and our current situation. But, there’s a way to turn it all around!
It’s about you
Instead of letting others distract you from yourself, you do the evaluation of your own actions and perceptions. Stop ignoring your qualities and strengths. Instead, nurture them. Be aware of your weaknesses. Have your own definition of success instead of letting others define it for you. Love both your soul and your body. Use it to enrich the lives of others, not just yours.
It’s about positivity
Have a positive attitude to life. We’ve all had ups and downs and it’s something we cannot change. What we can change is our attitude because positive thinking takes a huge part in helping us face our problems. Instead of feeling upset, appreciate all those things, people and help around you, which you didn’t appreciate before. Don’t let yourself become frustrated because of someone else’s success. In the end, it could just be an illusion (especially if we are only taking a look into other people’s lives through social media). Focus on your journey and the road you’ll take, as those are far more important than the end result. Enjoy it! Allow yourself to discover yourself.
It’s about learning
Grow your mind using other people’s success. Make the best out of their stories and their experiences and implement it in your own life. Try to figure out their method, adjust it to your personality and your situation and use it as a lesson learned.
It’s not about others
You have to understand life does not revolve around competing with people. That’s just a recipe for unhappiness and dissatisfaction. You don’t have to be the best, smartest, most successful, richest, prettiest person in the universe. By accomplishing things at your own pace, you will not be wasting time catching up or trying to be ahead of others. If it’s meant for you to be THE FIRST, don’t worry, you’ll get there.
Remember, there is a saying “be careful what you wish for, it might come true.” People believe that the universe somehow acknowledges your wishes and wants you to have what you truly want. But, if we put too much focus and emphasis on others and spend way too much energy into resenting them or what they have accomplished, we block our own opportunities. Instead of putting the focus on people around us, we ought to seek within ourselves the ways to become our best and highest selves.
In the end, comparing yourself with others is more about the actions not the YOU in you. And we are all diverse when it comes to delivering stuff; the same things do not drive us. So, we should not let knowing that someone is doing better than us be a problem. If that happens, then we’re doing things wrong.