Comparing yourself to others is an established social structure, that is as much as a poison that you are probably taking. Daily.
Let’s face it: the whole education system is based on the comparison.
The fact that you are now a living person, has at its origin, an innate comparison of strength. It means that, by comparison, that specific spermatozoid that has managed to fertilize that egg of your mother, was faster and stronger than others that were on the competing run.
Comparison exists from conception. You are compared with your siblings, compared with your cousin, with your colleagues from school, with your co-workers, with other women, with other men…
It doesn’t end.
If comparing, the competition, it’s part of nature, if it's kind of in your bloodstream.
You can ask yourself now: how can it be a poison?
Well, let me give you a tip: your stomach produces hydrochloric acid to process the food that has been ingested. Inside the human body, if it’s regulated: it’s vital to protect the stomach from dangerous bacteria.
Hydrochloric acid is also used in household cleaning and surface treatment of metals: due to its highly corrosive properties.
If there is external contact with the human body, Hydrochloric acid is highly toxic. It is toxic and causes severe burns.
And so can be social comparison. Can be toxic and cause severe burns.
2. Where Does It Come From, This Thing of “Comparing-To-Others”?
Where does it come from?
Well: from nature. Is a natural activity. Even animals do it to decide which potential food to eat. Cave-men did it when hunting or looking for food in nature.
But one thing is comparing elements A and B - external to you because you might need to make a choice.
Another thing is comparing yourself with another person: who are you going to choose? I believe you’re stuck with you. You better choose yourself.
So: comparing yourself with other people is not that natural, after all.
But don’t guilt yourself up for comparing yourself.
But you do have the moral obligation to stand for yourself and to protect yourself from it becoming a self-poison.
Although you can’t control others from comparing you with third elements, and that’s with them, you should and can control the impulse of comparing yourself with others. Just remember that “comparing” it just might work as hydrochloric acid: poisonous, toxic, and with high potential to burn.
Because it can actually condemn your self-esteem.
It is kind of Thumbs down on yourself. It’s a real danger to self-esteem when you’re constantly comparing yourself with others.
Is as if you’re almost abandoning yourself.
3. The Risk Of Abandoning Yourself. Damages To Self-Esteem When You’re Constantly Comparing Yourself To Others
When you're constantly comparing yourself to others is actually a trap: the trap of self abandoning, feeling down in self-esteem because everyone ( those you’ve chosen as everyone) is better than you.
- How many times you’ve seen social media about other people's success: in relationships or financial success and you felt …envy?
(or “I wish I had a girlfriend/boyfriend like that” or “I wish I had as much money has she/he has?)
- How many times you’ve got to know of some former colleague or even a relative and you felt…resentment?
(or “I wish I had made the same choice he/she made”’)
It’s very common. Especially with people we know: the neighbor next door, the co-worker, the sister or brother…
That’s the start of the drinking of your own poison. Because you’re comparing your car, your professional path, your looks, your relationships….
Let me get this straight: ambition is good. Money buys experiences and commodities. But that’s it.
Mark this, because it can be said, that if you get your ambition spiked: it can be healthy. And we wouldn’t even call it "to envy", but mostly stimuli.
"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is wonderful in others belong to us as well."
The problem comes when comparison actually happens: “why does he/she have it and I don’t?
You see that beautiful couple on the Facebook page: women with perfectly balanced curves, nice expensive outfits, handsome boyfriends, glamorous movie scene parties, dreamlike holidays on that Pacific Island… And there comes resentment.
And then rises The feeling of not being enough. Not enough smart, not enough good looking, not enough curves, not enough muscles, not enough rich, not enough liked, not loved enough.
A lot of “not enough” and a larger amount of frustration, another large portion of anxiety, maybe even depression.
It doesn´t end. Unless you do. Unless you wise up.
You're going into a toxic relationship with yourself. You are your own bully. Putting yourself down like that. Perceiving yourself as “Not enough”.
But then you decide you don’t want to be envious and resented: you want to be the envied one, let other feel resented.
That’s a much more comfortable reference point and you are a fighter, going to get a lot of money, it will attract a gorgeous partner, and you are going to live those Pacific Island holidays, post those pictures on social media, buy a yacht maybe…
And there you are happy forever on social media.
It might work.
If you are accomplishing what makes you fulfilled, what makes you gratified, what at the end of the day, makes you feel that life is worth it.
It works if you're Doing it For Yourself and not for others. Not for being approved by others, or for just to be the envied one this time…
Because if you set your goals focused on the external, on others, you’ll l get there if you are determined enough. But you will also get that feeling of emptiness or the “Rolling Stone Syndrome”: I can’t get no satisfaction. And yet, you have everything or almost.
What is missing there?
Even with everything or a lot more than others have? And you still feel unhappy? What happens is, that your needs aren’t being met.
So before you begin to want whatever other person has: make sure those needs are really yours to be met and fulfilled.
Make sure That the center of Your universe is you. And work, as well as you can, on a sustainable relationship with yourself. An this has nothing to do with narcissism.
So, instead of trying to be the best man/woman in your street – compared to others - work on being a better man/woman than you were yesterday.
In sum, the real dangers of constantly self comparing with others are basically focus on your mental health and problems with low self-esteem (identity, appearance, status)
- Low self-esteem
You are literally comparing other people's sunshine with your shadow. Most people want to look good on social media. So they post their best. Even if their best is just the smile. You don’t know what mountains and cliffs they had to climb to carry on with that smile.
There might be a lot of battles behind in their path: want to have that too?
Or might just be photoshop of a moment of a horrifying life: want to have that too?
Either way: you might not want the whole package (that you absolutely ignore) along with the gorgeous smile.
- Might follow into an estate of distorted perception of your own self: maybe because you perceive the spotlight of others as too flashy and it doesn’t leave room for you to appreciate your own strong features, your own overcome battles…. Maybe it leads you to underestimate yourself.
- As you become your own self bully, your most demolishing critic get to talk very loud: it’s kind of hard to love yourself when the only things you highlight are your least appealing features;
- If moving deeper into that path of low self-esteem and lack of self-love: you will certainly face high levels of anxiety of not being enough: beautiful, rich, successful, attractive, whatever…
- And if you continue down that road, you will eventually face the continuous hell of frustration and a probable depression….
Ugh… That sounded like a very dark scenario, right?
You got to have some light after, but let’s expose this opened wound to a little more salt.
You have to accept these simple facts:
- There is always someone better looking than you;
- There is always, someone richer than you;
- There is always someone smarter or better at something than you are, at least at a future point in the timeline.
Accepting those facts should ground you to earth and then, you can be ready to fight the (not so natural and bad) habit of comparing to others.
4. How To Fight The (Not So Natural and Bad) Habit Of Comparing To Others
- Pass less time on social media
- Practice gratitude for whatever good you have: your but curve, your eyes, your smile your hands, your sense of humor, your versatility, the people you love, the people who love you, your professional activity…whatever, no matter how mindless it seems, learn to be grateful for the little and the big things.
It doesn't mean you have to settle for less: it just means you acknowledge it.
And you start where you are, with what you have and you’ll do what can: to get to the next phase.
- If there’s something you like about others, instead of feeling envious ask yourself what can you improve on yourself so you can deal better with this – some lack that you perceive in yourself. Is not about THEM. Make it bout YOU, what you can improve in yourself;
- Make sure that what you want is to meet a need that is yours yous - and not a need that would be met to impress others;
After having this honest chat with yourself and realized that the need is really yours: go ahead, make it a goal, and fight for it!
- Make sure you engage yourself in activities that bring you long-term satisfaction too – the ones that meet your real and deepest needs. Don't limit yourself to small shots of adrenalin, which lasts a few hours, and the next day: frustration is invited in again.
- Man up ( or woman up!), roll up your sleeves and understand that some things need working: you can’t just go to the mall, buy it, and feel fulfilled. You need to work on yourself, your skills, your things, your goals.
Brave enough to find what are you made of.
Brave enough to be yourself.
Brave enough to be common and incomparable at the same time.
The Goal Is To Get Better Every Day!
Hey! I'm Eunice Veloso and you'll find more about me on my About Page
Antoine Lavoisier, 1789
The Law of the Conservation of Mass