What are the criteria for a successful person today? Have you ever thought about that?
Do we identify success with the inner growth we achieve throughout life? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. It’s the one who realizes “from the outside” we consider successful. We’re surrounded by material things. A great car. A huge apartment. A luxury kitchen. When we see those things, we think to ourselves “what a successful person!”
When we want to become better, we’re not just considering our current state of being. We want to become better than others.
Roberta Miles, a professional writer from BestEssays, connects this behavior to early childhood: “Students are being pushed to compare themselves to others every single day. When a child gets a good grade on a test, they often get this question: what did Mary get? And that is very, very wrong.”
Wanting a better place or a better car than the one you currently have is okay. Browsing through Instagram and desiring a better house than the one your friend just featured is not okay. That’s the comparison trap, which is leading you towards a huge disappointment. Maybe you’ll get that house. Do you know what you won’t get? Fulfillment. You’ll keep comparing yourself to others and you’ll keep lagging behind in one thing or another.
Don’t try to measure up. You don’t have to fall into that trap!
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to avoid this mindset. In a world that surrounds us with material things, it’s hard not to want what our Instagram friend just had.
We’ll list 5 ways to avoid the comparison trap. Try them! The liberation you’ll get is worth making an effort.
1. Understand Your Worth
You are a unique person, with special talents, gifts, and strengths. You need to meet yourself. If you could meet yourself, you might really like that person. Find that person. Not just because you want to be different and more special than everyone else (that’s the comparison trap, again). Understand your worth because that’s the first step towards personal growth.
Think: what do you really, really want from this life? Where do you see yourself in the future? Find the most honest wish, the one that would make you truly happy. Do not focus on money and fame. Focus on personal values. Those are the things you want to achieve.
2. Show Some Gratitude
“Oh, her leggings are sooo cool. I don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on yoga clothes right now. My life sucks. I gotta save for those leggings. They will look better on me!”
Okay. How many yoga pants do you already have in your closet? Why does it matter what you wear while you exercise? This is a banal example that reflects our behavior towards material things. No matter how much we have, we still want more. It’s a hunger that we can’t tame.
When you catch yourself comparing to someone else, think about everything you have. Be grateful for it.
3. Remember: Social Media Is Not Real Life
It may be hard for you to see this behind the perfect Instagram photos of people you perceive as successful, but their life is not perfect. Some of them are even faking it.
Think about it: are you posting photos of you looking not-so-good? When you’re relaxed, makeup-free, with a messy hair… you feel good, but not that beautiful. It’s not a picture-worthy moment.
When you put on your good clothes and some makeup on, you’re ready to shine for social media. That’s exactly what everyone else is doing. All those smiles and perfect faces don’t mean these people don’t have problems behind that facade.
When you’re feeling the pressure of comparing yourself to others when you’re not doing that well, stay away from social media for a bit.
4. Do Something for Someone Else
Do you know what will make you feel good about yourself? Do something nice for someone, with the honest intention to help.
In its essence, the comparison trap is a self-indulgent emotion. You want to be better than others because your ego is craving for approval. When you engage in selfless actions, you do something opposite of that selfish behavior.
5. See the Good in People
When we see someone being successful, we tend to think they don’t deserve it. This is the comparison trap: “Why did she get this leadership position? Oh, she must’ve played filthy. She’s not that smart.”
Don’t do this. You’re more gracious than that. Recognize the hard work of other people. Even if they got things just because they are lucky, it’s their luck. You’ll have your own.
When you recognize the moment of making comparisons, think: “Good for them.” That’s it. Everyone deserves to be happy. You deserve it, too, but you’ll be working towards your own happiness.
It’s your own perspective of success that matters. It’s not about being better than others. It’s about constantly become better than you currently are. And we’re not thinking better in terms of having more things. Simply keep becoming a better person! That’s what matters.