Comparing Yourself To Others

by Jason

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At 32, I have a seemingly perfect existence.

I’m making just north of $100,000, live in an absolutely gorgeous home, have two incredible, healthy children, a beautiful wife who loves me and is an amazing support system – plus two loving parents and a sister that’s been my best friend all our lives. Oh, and with the exception of my mortgage, did I mention that I’m debt free too?

Yes, life is a blessing for me – does that make you sick?

Does it make you focus on your own shortcomings and feel bad about yourself?

I’m not saying that to antagonize you. I’d like you to take a real, honest look at your thought process and determine if your mind works from a place of envy, jealousy or anger verses a place of gratitude, peace and love.

Please don’t mistake my tone. The last thing this article is meant to represent is some holier than thou attitude. You see, despite the multitude of good fortune that I just listed out above, oftentimes, my own mind operates from this terrible perspective of comparison that builds self-doubt.

COMPARING UP

Comparing yourself to others is one of the most self-sabotaging mindsets and yet it becomes so tempting on either side of the equation.

Speaking personally, on one hand, I’ll relentlessly torture myself about not making enough money. Money has been an ingrained way that I’ve defined success (horrible habit, I know) and it’s an anxiety that I’ve fought for years and years.

It’s also been a major trigger to my anxiety brought by comparison.

The person who makes $40,000 is envious of the person who makes $100,000. The person who makes $100,000 is envious of the person who makes $200,000. The person who makes $200,000 is envious of the person who makes $500,000 and so on.

Money builds its own anxieties and is certainly worthy of its own post. However, it’s a good starting point when we delve into this comparison mentality.

Whether it’s wealth, health, attractiveness, family, relationships, children or any number of the numerous materialist possessions one aquires – a comparison of those who have more than you will always bring about feelings of inadequacy.

No good will come from it. So what do most people do? They look downward towards those who have less fortune and fall back on a sense of gratitude that they have more than those they are “comparing downward” towards.

This, unfortunately, is a big misuse of gratitude and will actually create a negative sense of self-worth.

COMPARING DOWNWARD

My wife and I have seen many couples go through relationship problems. We’ve also seen friends experience terrible tragedies in their immediate families. I’m sure you can relate. In life, it only becomes a matter of statistical probability before you witness tragedy, loss and challenge around you.

The initial response when you hear about a friend getting divorced or another going bankrupt might be to feel grateful that “At least it isn’t me.” Of course you have genuine concern for the person in question. You feel genuinely sympathetic for their grief. But, there’s some selfish part of you, deep in your subconscious, that feels grateful you dodged their particular bullet in the roulette of life.

It’s an ugly emotion to admit but if these kinds of feelings can’t be shared here, then this site is too polished for my liking.

Comparing downward is comforting, yet it’s also a copout.

I know it may feel like gratitude – but it’s impure. True gratitude stands alone – not in juxtaposition of an alternate fate.

I used to calm my comparison anxieties by telling myself – “At least I wasn’t born in some impoverished region of the world with no running water or access to medicine.” That would keep me satisfied with the status quo for a while and keep me from comparing upward. Then I realized that up or down comparison in any form will only further your anxiety. That’s because in any direction you compare, you’re not looking at your true life for what it is.

STAYING IN THE MOMENT

At the heart of it, comparing your life to anyone else’s devalues your own not because they have something that you don’t. It devalues your life because you’re not LIVING in it. Your living in a warped perspective of whats missing.

Focus on the good that you have – internal or external and realize that anything you are not happy with in the moment can be completed by the boundless possibility of life, Don’t look towards that completion though. Just know that it’s there and rest your mind on your gratitude for the moment.

Close your eyes and take a deep long breathe. Pretty amazing right?

P.S. This is how I finally gained enough confidence to just get over it once and for all.

HOW HAVE YOU TACKLED COMPARISON ANXIETY IN THE PAST? COMMENT BELOW AND LET’S MAKE THIS A CONVERSATION

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