When you’re out and about on the street getting from one place to another, scrolling through Instagram, watching your neighbours each morning, or attending a party, you come across a number of differences between your lifestyle and that of those around you. These differences could be minuscule or perhaps, considerable.
Why do you notice these differences? The fact that a particular aspect stands out to you could be because you’ve never seen that before. It’s new, so it feels foreign. Following that observation, the first thought, conscious or subconscious, is whether we possess that attribute or not. This thought completely establishes its root as a ‘difference’ from which stems out ‘comparison’.
Whether you like it or not, you now have an unwelcomedplant in your backyard. What you do next with it will determine the kind of fruit it will produce, or if it even survives at all.
When we begin to compare ourselves with another, we tend to feel less accomplished and unworthy. That’s because the moment we see someone with something that we lack, we label them as ‘better’ than us. With no backstory about them or their struggles, no information about their current lives, they are just better; simply because they own a Mercedes, post pictures from their vacation to Greece, have thinner legs, have a loving life partner, work in a bigger company than yours, or own a business that’s making it rain dollar bills. Low and behold, we have fallen into the dark endless pit of comparison haunted by monsters like doubt and low self-worth.
Something that you need to remind yourself of in the midst of this crazy carnival is that- your life is your own and cannot be lived by anyone else. You might be thinking- ‘seriously Tazeen? Isn’t that obvious?’ I agree. But often, we tend to ignore the things that are very obviously placed right in front of our eyes. Sometimes the obvious loses its value.
You are given a life, just like they are given theirs. Along with a life comes the freedom and liberty to make choices that you feel are right, in situations specific to you and you only, for which the decisions required are yours and yours only to make. Your choices and your decisions give you results that are sometimes not what you expected, but have to accept anyway. I agree that a lot of the times, situations feel out of control. Not everything that happens to you is your fault or a result of your doing. You get more or less than what you bargained for, or something entirely different. But no matter, it is still a part of your life. This is true for every other person on the planet, meaning that every person having their own lifemakes choices and decisions according to their specific circumstance and liking giving them different results. Also, just like you, everyone is given their share of out-of-control affairs. We all have to play the cards we are dealt.
Once this concept is clear to you, comparing yourself to someone will make little sense. Feeling less accomplished or unworthy will make little sense.
Any sort of comparison that makes you feel insignificant is unhealthy.
However, sometimes a comparison can be healthy. No, I am not contradicting myself. If you give it a thought, you’ll understand what I mean.
There are some people who work better when placed in a competitive environment, and some thrive while solely focusing on themselves. There is no problem in being either as long as the former don’t let that competition take over entirely, and uncontrollably.
When you see someone doing better than you, why don’t you think, ‘This person has risen above what they used to be’ and let it inspire you in a way that instead of falling back and invalidating all your progress, you start to work harder because you too want to be better than you are right now. Such a comparison does a lot more good than harm.
When you turn someone’s success into motivation and get inspired by them to achieve results utilizing your maximum capability instead of taking their progress as a personal failure, that is healthy comparison, a healthy competition. Pressing weight on ‘your maximum capability’ since the ability and potential each person possesses is unique.
In simple words, turn an unhealthy comparison to a healthy one by getting inspired to do your best. Or if you think that is just something you can’t do or don’t want for yourself, then let it go. Don’t bury yourself under the pressure of doing things not meant for you. You being your only competition is the best standard to live by. Wanting more for yourself, all the while appreciating and being grateful for what you have makes this roller coaster of a journey- life- much easier.
At the end of the day, no matter what you do, you need to understand that there will always be differences and you need to accept those differences.
Acceptance is your step towards satisfaction. Knowing that someone has something you don’t and accepting it will let you appreciate and be satisfied with all that you possess.
So let yourself breathe. You’re doing just fine. And remember, another person’s success is not your failure.