Have you ever looked around and compared any aspect of yourself to your friends, family, work colleagues or even random strangers in the street? Comparing hair cuts or colours, cars, houses, kids, jobs, spouses, finances, time, holidays….?
If so, have you ever considered that when you compare any aspect of your life to someone else, you are usually comparing your equivalent of an unfiltered imperfect ‘blooper reel’ to someone else’s professionally and perfectly edited ‘highlight reel’…?
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Contentment and Joy come hand in hand. Contentment comes with being grateful. Comparisons on the other hand, only cause us to compare worth and value against that of another.
And what-ever we were once grateful for when that’s all we knew – suddenly becomes much less appealing. We can come away feeling shame, useless, and inadequate about ourselves, or worse, we’ll come away feeling smug that somehow we are, or have something better.
Comparison doesn’t allow us to focus on what we have, or can do personally, but instead makes us think about how valuable or invaluable we are against another. Comparison kills our contentment, replaces gratefulness with entitlement and robs us of joy, or it puffs us up with a false pride making us feel better than someone else.
My friend Tom refers to Facebook as 'fakebook' – because people only tend to post exciting events that suggests everything else in their life is all so fab – and ours is never anywhere near as exciting. It’s not social media that is the problem here, social media simply gives us a window or insight into someone else’s life – which suddenly makes ours seem… well ordinary ....uneventful…boring….
Social media just wakes up and amplifies whatever discontentment already exists.
The only way comparison may be helpful, is to compare where we were yesterday, and where we are today. That helps us consider how happy we are with our progress, or if we need to make changes. It is also helpful to compare where we are today with where we hope to be in the future – that allow us to set goals, and goal setting is also good for our health and wellbeing.
So next time you find yourself feeling better or worse when looking at someone else’s highlight reel, remember that It is never healthy to compare to others – it’s a trap – a lie we often believe telling us we are somehow missing out on life. Then remind yourself that you are absolutely and wonderfully unique – just like everyone else!
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