The Comparison Trap
“Comparison is the most poisonous element in the human heart because it destroys ingenuity and it robs peace and joy.” -Euginia Herlihy
Comparing yourself to others is a prevalent social behavior in human beings. However, if it becomes a habit, it can be harmful.
Making comparisons can be helpful when buying a product, hiring a service, or assessing the effects or results of a job.
It is even one of the most used literary resources. However, it is not a good idea to compare ourselves, our people, and our lives with others.
Then they become ‘thieves’ of our energy.
A quick look around us may be enough to see that most people live exhausted.
The rates of anxiety and depression are multiplying in the world, and more and more people are suffering the consequences of stress.
It is also known that with little energy available, everything becomes more complex since it costs a lot to be productive, creative, and even enjoy the pleasant things in life because we are exhausted.
However, what is not so well known is that one of the attitudes that rob us of energy is to compare ourselves with others.
“Many students fall into show-off, pretentiousness and comparison trap once they enter university,” according to Veronica Heys, a psychology assignment expert at Grow With Grades.
Here are six steps you can take to stop comparing yourself to others.
1. Recognize that you compare yourself to others when you do.
The first step is to recognize that you compare yourself to others. It would seem simple, but it is not. When there is already a habit of repeatedly comparing ourselves, the action becomes involuntary. That is, we do it unconsciously, without realizing it.
Once you become aware, you can start taking action on this problem. You can try to stop feeding these thoughts and instead start focusing on the positive things you can bring to your people.
2. Focus on what you are, what you have, and not what you think you lack.
Focus on how you can contribute positively to the lives of others. You have many things to learn, to the extent that, like the others, you are not perfect.
However, by stopping comparisons or feeling bad, you will eventually turn your weakness into strengths. The first step in doing so is to trust yourself and your abilities.
Strive to do positive things that make you feel good about yourself, and you will see that, without realizing it, you will strengthen many aspects of your life.
3. Be aware of the harm you do to yourself.
Realize the fact that comparing yourself to someone else is causing you pain and that you are choosing this pain yourself. The person you are comparing yourself to is running their life in their own way and is unaware that you are constantly comparing yourself to them. You cause the pain that you feel, and it is entirely unnecessary.
4. Focus on learning and not competing.
It is clear that nobody is perfect and that you are not perfect either. Feeling bad when comparing yourself to others signifies that you do not have enough humility to accept that you can learn from someone else. You can try to develop a learning attitude.
Use the comparison for inspiration. If you have a learning attitude and a taste for contrast, you can learn many things and stop having problems. If you experience discomfort when comparing yourself, you likely focus on competing and not learning.
5. Limit your time on social media.
People show their online life exclusively from its best angle. You can get the impression that these people have no problems or difficulties and very few problems.
It’s easy to compare yourself to them and get the impression that you’re not up to scratch, leading to thoughts that can drain a lot of energy.
Well, the message you send to yourself is: “I’m not good enough; I need to have more.” However, you know that this is false, that people on social networks have difficulties, problems, and frustrations, etc.
For this reason, it is advisable to limit your time on social networks. Exposing yourself too long to seeing situations that are not real requires you to maintain active defense mechanisms to save yourself from taking this unreality seriously.
6. Don’t conflict with imperfection.
Nobody is perfect. Although we know this on an intellectual level, we tend to feel bad emotionally when the results are not perfect.
We are not perfect, and we never will be, and this precisely makes us human. It is not about not making mistakes. It is about having a good attitude in the face of defeats and mistakes: to learn.
Comparisons are somewhat inconvenient precisely because it takes us away from the possibility of continuing to learn, and plunges us into a dynamic in which we create the illusion that our security comes from the fact that the other should be inferior to us.
On the other hand, it can lead you to become a perfectionist, set unusual standards, and go after things that you do not require, and knock yourself out in the process.
10 reasons not to compare yourself
- Comparisons are always unfair. Well, we usually compare the worst of ourselves with the best of others.
- Comparisons require a metric. Keep in mind that there is no way to measure the internal aspects and that the external elements of others can be fake.
- You are unique.Your talents, skills, achievements, contributions, and ways of doing things belong only to you. They cannot be adequately compared to anyone else.
- You have nothing to gain, but you have a lot to lose. When you compare yourself, you neglect your own abilities and end up losing your security, your dignity, and your passion.
- Comparisons steal your time. In judging, we focus on what we do not have (and we imagine that we would be better at) instead of focusing on what we have and can strengthen.
- There is no end to it. You can have one thing more from a person but always lesser from many others.
- The comparison places the focus on the wrong person. Keep in mind that you can only change one life, yours. It is precisely by focusing your efforts on yourself that you will be able to achieve some change.
- Comparisons can alienate you from friends.When comparing yourself with friends, you can react in the wrong way and cause conflict in your friendship
- Comparisons take away your joy. Comparing yourself does not give you value, meaning, or achievement in your life – instead, it takes you away from it.
Consequences of comparing yourself to others
Regardless of whom you compare yourself to, you will always feel bad as comparing yourself generally has to do with seeing the strengths of others and your weaknesses.
Even when you compare your strengths to someone else’s strengths, the logic of the comparison can lead you to feel good only if your power is ‘better’ or ‘superior’ to the strength of the other. In addition, there will always be people who have something better or superior to us.
Even if you think your strength exceeds that of the other, you can build inflated confidence from this comparison. In other words, that the condition for you to feel better is that your strength is greater than that of the person you compare yourself to.
It also means that you need the other to be inferior to you, to be able to feel good about yourself. This creates a dependency on the other that really weakens and limits you.
You also resent others who are doing well without being able to get to know the person. This can even affect your friendships and cause estrangement.
You may end up talking too much about your accomplishments.
Guest Writer Bio
Janie Kelley is an enthusiastic academic writer working with Grow With Grades. She loves to provide assignment writing tips to college students and mostly writes on topics related to college life. Other than that, she loves to read non-fictional books. She spends most of her time with her Kindle and sipping coffee.