There is a phenomenon that can steal your joy, erase your self worth and make you miserable.
What is it? Comparisons.
That is right. Comparing yourself to others can take two forms, neither of which brings good outcomes.
1. Comparing your inadequacies to other people’s strengths: Your best friend can sing like a canary, you cannot. You wonder what is wrong with you. Or your neighbor has a business. It is thriving. You have no business acumen and you are an employee. You look down on yourself wishing that you were he. Or you have skinny friends who can “eat whatever they like and stay slim”. Meanwhile, it feels as though if you look at a piece of cake, you gain five pounds!
Such is life. There will always be someone smarter, stronger, better looking, or richer, than you are. If you compare yourself to them, you end up with a lifestyle of trying to keep up with the Joneses. You will continually keep chasing after the next high, leading to a life of misery, loss, and lack of fulfillment. The antidote to this type of comparison is gratitude. Be grateful for the things that you do have and the things that are working for you. Now, this does not mean that you should not have goals and ambitions. These goals and ambitions should not constantly be driven by what other people have that you do not. They should be driven by purpose and a sense of knowing what you want for yourself outside of what other people are doing, being or having.
2. Comparing your advantages to other people’s disadvantages: You have 10,000 followers on Instagram and your friend has 50. You deride him/her, making them the topic of your conversation. Your businesses thriving, your neighbor works a 9-5. You wonder “what is wrong with you?” You sing and the angels come to listen. Your best friend sings like a frog. You make fun of him/her.
In the same way that there will always be people smarter and more accomplished than you are, there will also be people who do not “have it” in the areas that you do. Remember, this does not make them a lesser being. Do not compare your areas of strength to other people’s areas of weakness or disadvantage especially if your good fortune was handed to you and you did not have to work for it. The antidote to this type of comparison is humility. Realize that what you have today, could be gone tomorrow. Be humble and grateful. Enjoy what you own, and what you have accomplished without rubbing it in people’s faces.
Just remember, if you spend your life in comparisons, it robs you of your joy and gives you a sense of insecurity or a sense of false pride.