The comparison trap is the habit of measuring your life against others and is one of the most toxic behaviors we can engage in. The idea “the grass is greener” is a wild misconception fueled by jealous evaluation, and often leads to stress and anxiety.
When we focus on what others have or are doing, it takes away the joy in our own life and anchors our attention on what we think we are missing based on someone else’s life. Let me be clear, it is healthy to feel happy for someone’s life events (weddings, engagements, new house, travel, career, and so on). Yet, when that happiness turns into jealousy, even the slightest, you are robbing yourself of your personal euphoria.
With the rise of social media, we capture a glimpse of our friends’ happiest moments on our feeds. What we do not see is an accurate portrayal of their actual life, and their trials and tribulations. Thus, we only get an impression of the “good life.” When we hear of a friend’s promotion, going into comparison mode is a colossal waste of healthy energy. The fact is, we do not know the full story behind that person getting the coveted title. Life always looks more glorified online, and that is something we need to remember every day as we look at social media.
When it comes to the comparison trap, we need to remember the joys, dreams, and goals of others are not necessarily the pursuits we genuinely want for our own life. Another’s big new fancy home is just a giant mortgage you should be grateful not to have. Big doesn’t equate to authentic happiness. Having what you really need does. When we page through a pal’s vacation photos, rather than being envious of their experience, think about the total cost of the vacation. More importantly, are those people who look happy in vacation photos happy at home? When viewed from this angle, we are less likely to fall into the comparison trap.
On my end, I am guilty of observing the “good life” of others and judging it against my resume, and that way of thinking is destructive and only dampens my self-esteem. For me, seeing other women high up on the corporate ladder has been the biggest comparison game I have battled. What I need to remind myself daily is another woman’s C-level title should be my motivation and inspiration. However, when realistically evaluated, it is essential to review if that dream title is my goal.
Is any of this resonating? If so, then what we can do is contact that person and learn from them and hear the practicality of their career journey. Doing this can help alter our blurred vision to a place of reality and enable us to see that the grass is not greener, it may just have better landscaping.
When we let perspective take over comparison, we learn to remain jovial for our own life journey. If you want to switch up certain life aspects, then do so, but only after proper evaluation and not in reaction to others. If you need a new job because you require more funds for basic life survival, then go for it. But don’t buy a big house, fancy car, or go into debt traveling because you want to showcase the “good life” brought on by comparison. That is not living. Living is being true to ourselves, regardless of how we compare to others.