Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt
I’ve been a Comparison Junkie for almost my entire life.
I think it began when my little sister was born. While I was shy, reserved and scared of my own shadow, she was outgoing, fearless and had the gift of the gab I so desperately craved.
Growing up, she was the one with a lot of friends. The one being invited to all the birthday parties. The one who got the good grades because having to speak in front of an entire classroom didn’t trigger in her a panic attack that prevented her from uttering a single word.
Even our parents wished I were more like her. If only I could talk a little more, be a little more outgoing, make more of an effort to play with other kids rather than staying in my bedroom reading a good book…
As I got older, I began comparing myself to other women, too. Women who were thinner than me, got better grades, had better jobs, wore more expensive clothes…
Comparisonitis is natural. We all do it. But, it’s a choice that steals all the joy out of your life. It makes you envious of other people and resent their accomplishments.
I know that, as much as I love my sister, for years I resented her simply because she has a different personality than mine. It coloured our relationship, creating huge cracks we’re now trying our best to repair.
I don’t want the same to happen to you. So, how do you break this nasty habit and stop comparing yourself to others? Here are 5 things that have worked for me:
1. Remember That Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy
When you find yourself having an attack of Comparisonitis, think of all the ways it has screwed you up in the past. It is a thief that:
- Ruins your relationships with your loved ones: once they’re broken, fixing them isn’t so easy.
- Makes you waste time: even a second spent comparing yourself to others is a second you’re never getting back. Is this how you want to spend your time?
- Is an unfair judge: you’re assuming that the other person is perfect and you’re worthless. Nothing is that black and white.
- Dumps you into a black hole: you could compare yourself to everyone and everything. When does it end?
- Makes you focus on the wrong person: you only control your life, not other people’s. So take control of it.
- Adds nothing to your life: seriously, girl, has comparisonitis ever done anything good for you?
2. Don’t Put Other People On A Pedestal
It’s easy to think everyone else has got it together. Just go on Instagram. Everyone has the perfect house, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and goes on holiday every week. You? Your house’s a mess, you’re still shopping at Primark and can barely afford a trip to Bath once a year.
Just because it seems that way, it doesn’t mean it is. People only put their best stuff on Instagram (after they’ve photoshopped the heck out of it). Just like they only show you their better side when you meet them in person.
No one wants to admit we don’t have it all figured out. That we’ve just cleaned a little area of our living room to take that perfect, polished shot or that our smiles are just facades hiding the fact our loving relationships are hanging by a thread.You don't know what anyone else is going through. Don't assume they have it better than you if you can't see the full picture.
3. Know Thyself
Just like other people aren’t the perfect heroes you think they are, you’re not as worthless as you think yourself to be, either.
You have qualities, gifts and skills no one else in the world has. You’ve achieved plenty of things in your life already. Just think back on all the things you never thought you could do that are now second nature to you.You already have everything you need to achieve all your dreams.
Go out and do it, girl!
4. Be Grateful
Step back and take a moment to appreciate everything you have achieved. Your qualities and values. The awesome people in your life. The positive contributions they’ve made on your life.Gratitude forces us to recognize how blessed we truly are .
5. If You Need To Compare, Compare With Yourself
Rather than striving to be better than someone else, strive to be the best version of yourself you can possibly be . Strive to be a little bit kinder, a little bit sweeter, a little bit friendlier than the day before. Commit to trying to do your best every day. Along the way, stop to celebrate your successes. They don’t just benefit you. When you’re doing your best, you’re having a positive impact on everyone around you, too.
Comparisonitis doesn’t do anyone any good. The sooner you quit the habit, the sooner you’re free to pursue your own dreams and live your life on your own terms. It’s not going to be easy. But it’ll be worth it.
Over to you, now. How has Comparisonitis screwed up your life and how are you trying to break this nasty habit?