(Photo by Charles Deluvio)
We live in a world where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. This causes us stress, anxiety, and conditions of worth. As someone who used to often fall victim to the toxic comparison culture of today’s world, it took me a long time to overcome this flaw and to develop a healthier approach. Here are some things that have helped me when it comes to comparing myself with others:
1) You never know what people are truly going through.
There was a guy I used to look up to. He was a great guy and he had a lot of money. I had a phone call with him once and he told me how much his health was suffering. He told me he would give up all the money that he had if he could only be healthy again. Sometimes we look up to other people without realizing that it’s really not a competition, and that there may be some things in our lives that they are desperate for. Social media is a highlight reel. Sometimes people might be suffering greatly and just not sharing that part of their life.
2) The present is all that exists.
The past and the future are fake. They’re illusions. The only thing that is real is now; this present moment. The present is all that matters. Why spend time focusing on someone else’s status and achievements? It’s pointless.
3) Human history is nothing but a tiny speck on the timeline of the Universe.
Everything we see around will cease to exist one day. Everything. All those great historical names, all your colleagues, everyone you look up to, everything. Your lifetime is nothing but a microscopic speck of time when taking into account all of the Universe’s history. Don’t spend your valuable and finite energy and time on comparing yourself to others.
4) Everyone’s process is different.
Whatever the people around you are going through, that’s their process. That’s their genetics and environment creating a situation that is unique to them. Focus on yourself. What can you do to get a little bit better every day? What is it that you truly want in life? Go at your own pace. Enjoy the process and the present moment; it’s all you got. Even if you go slow, that’s okay. Your life is unique and unlike any other life.
There are people in the world who would kill to have some of the things you have. There is a saying that goes like this, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”. If you’re healthy, if you live in a good environment, if you have your arms, your senses, and your feet, if you have a decent head over your shoulders, it’s all you really need.
Your feelings are valid. As someone who used to constantly compare himself to others, I understand that it can be hard. I went from being someone who hated seeing my peers become successful to someone who wishes great success for everyone.
Part of the reason we sometimes compare ourselves to others and get jealous and envious is because our soul is trying to tell us something. Maybe we’re unhappy about our current situation. Maybe there is a project that we want to work on. Maybe we just need to do something to make ourselves proud. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious and with wanting to level-up in life. With that being said, it’s important to balance ambition with some of the principles I’ve laid out in this post.
We can be anything we want in life, but we can’t be everything we want in life. It’s often better to ask ourselves what we are willing to suffer for, than it is to ask ourselves what rewards we want. The process is more important than the destination.