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How to stop comparing yourself with those who seem to have more of everything.
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
One of the easiest ways to feel bad about oneself is to compare yourself unfavorably to others. When you find yourself envious of what someone else has, and feel jealous, inferior or inadequate as the result, you’re having a negative social comparison moment. Habitual negative social comparisons can cause a person to experience greater stress, anxiety, depression, and make self-defeating choices.
Two interesting notes about negative social comparison:
1. Negative social comparison has elements of narcissism. When we wish to look, be, or have like others, we’re not really wishing for everything about that person, but only the idealized aspects of the individual. This idealized and grandiose perception of another is narcissistic in nature. Chances are, not even those whom your compare yourself with can live up to your idealized images of them. This is why so often when people spend some length of time with their “heroes,” “heroines,” “role models,” or “idols,” they discover that those whom they look up to also have weaknesses, flaws, difficulties and problems just like everyone else.
2. It’s relatively easy to change from idealizing to humanizing. For example, you may wish that you have the perfect career and a lot of money like your manager Shaun, or the good looks of your friend Ashley, or a wonderful romantic relationship like Carly. Comparing yourself with them might cause you to feel somehow “lesser.” But when you look at their lives more objectively, you know that Shaun has health problems and family issues, Ashley is actually insecure about her looks, and it took Carly a painful divorce and many hard lessons before she found a compatible mate. Looking at them from a more balanced perspective, you realize there’s more than meets the eye, and that they’re human beings with their own share of challenges like you.
It is believed that the four conditions in life which cause suffering are: birth, aging, illness, and death. No one, no matter how powerful, successful, wealthy, or fabulous they seem on the outside, can escape these truths. These conditions effectively make ALL of us equal.
What’s left, then, are values which truly make our brief existence on this earth worthwhile: self-acceptance, quality relationships, and a meaningful life’s purpose. For each of these, the answers and our ability to realize them come from WITHIN. No external accomplishments, privileges, entitlements or materialism alone can achieve them. No superficial status, ranks, stations, or possessions are required to realize them.
Every human being has unique qualities, treasure yours without coveting those of others. Your path is your own…enjoy the journey and be grateful of your gifts. Stop comparing and start experiencing joy.