Why comparing yourself to others will never end well
We now live in a world where it is easier than ever before to see what’s going on in other people’s lives, even people we don’t know or are ever likely to. The rise of social media in the last fifteen years has allowed people to document their lives online, if they choose to do so, but this also ensures that other people view it. Seeing a snapshot of what other people look like, what they are doing, and how they are feeling can be a positive, but the negative impact it can bring of comparing our lives with others should not be dismissed.
Social media allows people to tell their followers and the whole world what they are doing, but people choose what to upload and it isn’t always the whole truth. The people who view such information have the potential to compare themselves to it, and in turn could feel negative emotions towards themselves because of it. Social media is just one, very big, example of how people can easily compare themselves to others, but I think it’s also a human trait to do so. It is the information, thoughts, and feelings from such comparisons that determine what effects it has on that person.
Comparing ourselves to others, I think, shines a spotlight on what we may want to change about our own lives, which could be a good or a bad thing to come from it. For example, if a friend gets a new job, a person may feel as though they wish they could also change their job, or even their career path. Seeing what other people are doing with their lives can help propel others to change their own in any number of ways. However, there is always the chance that it may not, and instead a person may feel down about how they feel in their own job and career path. Rather than acting on such feelings and doing something to change them, they may ruminate and dwell on them, while never even attempting to make a change. I think this is where the difference in perspective lies – on the surface, comparisons can be made with other people, but it is how deeply they go that has the potential to cause a big impact.
Therefore, I think comparing yourself to others will never end well because of the emotional impact it can potentially have. It can highlight things people want to change in their own lives, but that is the main point – I think we should focus on liking our own lives first. We are all unique and have different wants, achievements, and goals. Comparisons with other people can highlight those things for every person, but why would this be a bad thing if we are already happy with how are lives currently are? Could it be due to the society we live in? Should we all be trying to be the best we can be, but don’t actually know or even understand what that is?
At the end of the day, we ourselves can only know what will make us happy, and comparisons between us and others can fuel negativity and dislike that is just not needed where we live in a world that already has this in it. People may spend their whole lives striving to find out what makes them happy, but wasting time and energy comparing ourselves to other people is not going to help with it in the long run. Positive changes can be made from doing so, but the negative energy and time spent dwelling on such comparisons can be time better spent.
Sarah Keeping MBPsS MSc PgDip GDip BA (Hons) Cert HE
Follow Sarah on twitter at @keepingapproach, facebook at @keepingapproach, and on instagram at @thekeepingapproach
Follow E-therapy on social media:
Facebook – @Etherapy
Instagram – @EtherapyToday
Twitter – @EtherapyToday