“Comparison is the thief of joy.” - Theodore Roosevelt
I’ve always considered myself a confident person. Without being cocky, I never questioned my self-worth while growing up.
My brutally honest Vietnamese parents always pulled me back into line whenever I’d compare myself to others, whether it was wanting the same clothes as another girl in my grade or going to school camp just because everyone else was allowed to go. My family moved to Australia when I was in year three after my parents had spent all their savings getting us here, and spending money on expensive school trips or fancy threads was far from my parents’ list of priorities.
In my early 20s, I remember suddenly realising I wasn't the happy go lucky person I used to be. I was spending too much time wishing I had other people’s looks, relationships or even family. It was exhausting.
Realising my issues were stemming from a toxic relationship, I decided it was time to put an end to it. I liked the idea of going back to my old self.
I remember suddenly realising I’m not the happy go lucky person I used to be.
Looking back at the experience, I realise the importance of knowing your self-worth and how comparing yourself to others only hinders happiness. There are endless ways to compare ourselves to others so it’s best not to do it at all.
Here are reasons why you should stop comparing yourself to others.
Perfection is an illusion
Thanks to social media, we’re constantly bombarded with photos and posts from friends and strangers who seem to have it all. It’s easy to look at them and wish we could be as successful, good looking or put together as they are. But it’s important to remind ourselves that the snippets of people’s lives we’re seeing have been heavily edited and it’s not the whole story.
A study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people are more likely to reveal their positive emotions than negative emotions on social media. The study also found that we're more likely to underestimate the negative feelings in others, so our comparisons are unintentionally biased to begin with.
Comparison breeds resentment
Comparing your own life to others, whether it be your friends or complete strangers, will make you resent not only them but also yourself. You start to see them as the reason for your unhappiness when in fact they aren't even thinking about you.
It’s a losing battle
There is always going to be someone whose achievements seem better than yours. When you stop getting bogged down with the negative thoughts associated with comparing yourself to others, it allows you to be happy for them and celebrate their talents and wins.
It's unfair to compare yourself to someone else unless you know their entire past and how they think.
Comparisons are always one-sided
To accurately compare yourself to another person, you need to know absolutely everything about them. It’s impossible. It's unfair to compare yourself to someone else unless you know their entire past and how they think. So what you’re comparing yourself to is only based on whatever little information you know about them.
You’ll have more time to celebrate your wins
Sometimes we get so lost in what others are up to that we forget to celebrate our own accomplishments. Instead of being jealous of a friend who just got a big promotion, why not focus on how well you’re doing in your own career?