This is one game we are probably all good at. I’m sure you’ve played it before, probably even sometime this week. It can take forever, and in the end, no one even wins. Know what game I’m talking about? The comparison game.
But this isn’t a game we have to play. Here are a few ways to stay out of the comparison game:
1. Know Your Value
If you don’t focus on your worth and know your value, it can be easy to compare to someone else and forget how unique you are. While it is easy to slip into thinking about what you don’t have, think about what you do have that is special. You may have that talent that barely anyone else has, or a specific feature you absolutely love.
2. Focus On Helping Others
It is very easy to get caught up in what is missing from your own life if you are focusing on what others have or are doing. Instead, focus on how you can help those around you instead of comparing to their lives. Find an area you can use your (previously mentioned talents) to serve in, whether it is in the church nursery or an animal shelter. You can focus on your friends by finding little ways to surprise or help them. Friend having a tough week? Don’t compare to make yourself feel slightly better about your crappy week too. Instead, have a movie night with them to cheer them up or bring them their favorite dessert.
3. Get Busy
Take the day off social media and focus on yourself and your goals. Sure, it looks like that 19 year old is living her best life abroad according to her Instagram. But if you were there now, would you really be chasing your current goals? Probably the answer is no. As someone who is in grad school and does not have the time or the money to spend months abroad, I can confidently say I am right where I need to be, even if sometimes I wish I was somewhere else… like an over the water bungalow on a tropical island anyone? If you need to, write down your own short term and long term goals and keep them somewhere where you can see them and compare to them. Maybe even a 101 in 1001 list?! And a little healthy comparison can even be appropriate there. Do you have a few friends who have similar dreams to you and are constantly pursuing those dreams? These could be good people to talk with more often or follow on social media to inspire you to get busy on your own life.
4. Cut it out
Bottom line is, if you find yourself comparing your life to someone else’s in an unhealthy way that leaves you feeling jealous and sad about your own lackluster life, it is time to cut them out. Hopefully this is someone you don’t even know, but don’t be afraid to slowly create some distance between friend a who are sucking away all your energy and leaving you with jealous thoughts.
As Jordan Lee Dooley stated in her book, Own Your Everyday, “I won’t always measure up to someone else, and maybe that’s okay. Nine times out of ten, I won’t finish first, make it to the top, or appear to be on my A game. Buy guess what? That doesn’t mean I’m not successful. That does not mean I cannot live a meaningful life.”
There will always be someone else who appears to have a cooler life than you or who got that one thing you wanted. But you know what? That’s okay. Just because their life is different does not mean it is better.
It’s time for you to stop stealing our joy, comparison.