Wednesday, May 31, 2023

It’s a Trap: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

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As everyone’s lives are prominently displayed on social media in a culture where doing and achieving is of prime importance, it’s easy to feel bad and find ourselves dissatisfied with our own lives as we compare ourselves to other people. This is a bad habit that can strip us of much-needed contentment and joy. It’s so easy to feel like we aren’t doing enough, or that we’re missing out on so much. Becoming aware of this tendency and working towards avoiding it and having a healthier relationship with yourself can do wonders in improving your own mental health.

Here are some ways on how you can avoid falling into the comparison trap:

Understand what triggers you to compare

Are there experiences that move you to compare yourself to other people and feel dissatisfied with your life? Maybe you were scrolling through Facebook, or looking through an online store selling luxury items. Note these down, and explain to yourself why these things aren’t worth your emotional bandwidth. Perhaps your tendency to compare may have been rooted in childhood experiences or trauma. A therapist can help you work through the roots of these thoughts and help you cope better with triggers.

Limit your time on social media

This doesn’t really need further explanation—people are showcasing the highlight reels of their lives on social media. Perhaps an old classmate’s job update may have led you to start questioning your own career choices, a friend’s photo with her partner may have left you feeling unhappy about your own relationship status, or someone’s vacation photos may have left you feeling green with envy. The reality is, you don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes. Never use other people’s social media presence as a way of measuring how you are doing with your own life.

Transform envy into empathy

It’s easy to put other people on a pedestal, especially if you don’t really know who they are. Understand that people’s lives aren’t always as great or perfect as you might perceive them to be. You don’t know what is going on in other people’s heads, or their lives, because most people will only let you see what they want you to see. Perhaps their apparent success and happiness are facades for deeper issues or problems, and they are likely comparing themselves to others as well.

Be grateful for what you have

Gratitude always works wonders when nothing seems to be going right. Always take stock of what’s good in your life. If you find yourself in another emotionally debilitating comparison trap, remind yourself of what you’re thankful for.

Imagine the best version of yourself, and make it your goal

Only compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Identify your own goals—what you want for yourself, and not what you think others want you to be, and measure yourself against that. There will always be someone who can do things better or worse than you. If you always use them as a measure for your own capabilities, you will never be satisfied.

It’s also good to check in with yourself every time this happens, asking yourself, “Do I want to change for myself, or do I want to do it because I want to impress other people?”

Use it to your advantage

On another note, comparing yourself to others can be healthy when done the right way. Think about what you like or admire about others. Perhaps you have a friend who has gone through a lot in life and has shown extraordinary resilience. Maybe you know someone who is generous, kind, and always has something good to say about people. Then, consider how you can use their positive traits as inspiration to become a better person.

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