Why I’m no longer comparing myself to other people

I’ve read a few pieces on other people’s blogs recently about this topic and, as I have a terrible habit of comparing myself to others, I’ve been working hard to take on board any advice that’s been offered as an antidote. Having said that, I can’t help but feel that this is easier said than done and I’m still wondering if it’s worth re-titling this whole piece to Why I’m trying to no longer compare myself to other people!! Whatever the title, I thought perhaps it was worth writing down why I, personally, am trying to break this nasty habit.

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The other day I was in the supermarket when I overheard two people deep in discussion about their children. I can’t remember the conversation verbatim, but it went a little bit like this:

Man: “My daughter’s forty now. She earns a hundred thousand pounds a year. At Christmas she got a twenty thousand pound bonus…”

Woman: “My daughter’s an optician. They’ve always earned good money, opticians. She’s doing very well for herself.”

Their chat carried on like this for a while. One would comment on their child’s achievements and the other would try and match it or attempt to better it, like some weird game of offspring Top Trumps. As I left (there’s only so long you can reasonably linger in the fruit and veg aisle), they were boasting about the number of grandchildren they each had (seven and nine respectively) and I couldn’t help but think how incredibly sad it was that their children’s lives had been reduced to a handful of numbers.

Perhaps you think I’m being a little cynical. You could say that these were just proud parents and I’m sure you’d be right, but I guess it was their tone that irked me somewhat, the eagerness with which they played their hand (if you’re still understanding the Top Trumps analogy).

In the social media age, it’s easy for us all to compare ourselves with our friends/relatives/strangers on Instagram. Online, we showcase the parts of our lives that we want others to see and whilst there are some people out there offering up more realistic versions of themselves, most posts on Facebook or Instagram still tend to be of happier, more celebratory experiences.

I left the supermarket that day feeling incredibly deflated. If, in the twenty-first century, we’re more likely to find ourselves comparing ourselves to our peers (thanks, social media!), then how depressing is it to realise that potentially we’re not the only ones doing it? Perhaps our parents and wider relatives are busy comparing us to others too.

That got me thinking about my own child, about the conversations I’ve had with other mums over the usual toddler-related developments and I began to worry that I’m already falling into the comparison trap here as well. What if my child is picking up on the fact that walking and talking, eating and sleeping are all milestones that are (unintentionally) monitored against the speed at which other boys and girls are reaching them. What if this ultimately makes my little one feel unworthy or inadequate as they get older?

A little competition is healthy, of course, but the pressure that comes from constant comparison can have a serious impact on our mental health and if that comparison is coming from a parent (whether it’s intentional or not) it can leave us feeling as if those that we trusted are having just as detrimental an impact on our own self-worth as the ‘perfect’ images we constantly see on social media.

As much as I don’t want to find out that my parents are comparing me to their friends’ kids, I definitely don’t want to be the cause of my own child’s potentially harmful relationship with comparison. For that reason, I’m starting with myself – if I can stop wondering why I don’t have what my friends’ have (beating myself up over why I don’t have as big a house or as high-paying a job), if I can instead be happy with my own achievements, then perhaps I won’t pass this bad habit down to my child and perhaps then you won’t find me in the fruit and veg aisle at Tesco in twenty year’s time playing offspring Top Trumps.

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What about you? Do you compare yourself to others? Do you have any tips to help combat this? I’d love to know what you think!

📷: Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash  – I’ve broken my photo pledge already!! My camera is broken (poor excuse, I know!) and my phone camera really isn’t up to scratch. As soon as it’s fixed all pics will be my own again – I promise!!

 

 

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “Why I’m no longer comparing myself to other people

    1. Yes, it’s completely exhausting! I have to admit trying to cut it out is much harder than I thought it would be but I guess perseverance is key!! Thanks for reading 😊

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    1. That sounds like a good idea! A lot of the time, I don’t really want what other people have, I’m just annoyed with myself that I haven’t got it (if that makes any sense?!). You’re completely right, your journey different and that makes comparison completely pointless. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s surprisingly and annoyingly hard to reroute the habits that your brain so easily gets into. I’m trying to keep this in mind as my friends post about their big weddings, new jobs & kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! And I think things like weddings, jobs and kids can really touch a nerve for us all, especially when we feel that those things are out of reach for us. It’s so important to focus on our own journeys though. Thank-you so much for reading and commenting!

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    1. I totally agree, Sarah! I hate the idea of essentially trying to ‘catch-up’ with other people because you feel they’re further ahead than you.

      I think everyone tends to compare themselves with others a bit, but it’s important to try and focus on yourself over other people. Thank-you for reading and commenting!

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    1. Thanks Hannah! Using other people’s success as a source of inspiration is a great idea and very healthy! I’m definitely going to try this in future. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So well written and such wise words.

    Earlier this year I quit a 9-5 job that I had fallen out of love with. On paper it seemed I was doing pretty well but, I wasn’t happy. Now I’m working in Dementia Care. A much less glamorous job and although I love it, I always feel like other people might judge me for stepping away from my previous career path.

    The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing that I’m pretty self-aware,that I understand my reasoning and am leading a much healthier life now.

    Kate | cakeandcoast.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! It’s great that you had the courage to step away from a career that wasn’t making you happy. It can be really difficult when you feel like other people are judging your decisions, but, as you said, you know why you’ve done it and now you’re leading a much healthier (and presumably happier) life – that has to be the ultimate goal! Thanks for reading and commenting and sharing your story, Kate!

      P.s, although working in Dementia Care might not seem as glamorous to you, I take my hat off to anyone who can do it. It’s a super tough job!

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      1. Thank you. I doubt whether I made the right decision sometimes but the job is so fantastic. All of the residents are amazing in their own way and I feel so grateful to be able to give them the love and care they all deserve.

        It’s not am easy job but there’s certainly never a dull moment!

        And, my personal life is so so much happier now, which is a huge bonus of course x

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! Now that I’m a parent I’m working harder than ever to stop comparing both myself and my child to others. It’s definitely a challenge though!! I hope over the last year you’ve seen an improvement in your own ability to stop comparing yourself! Thanks for reading and commenting, Jas!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you! I think we are all victims of the comparison game so it’s probably something that everyone needs to work on a bit. Good luck with it!! Thanks for reading and commenting!!

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  3. I truly understand where you are coming from. It’s so hard not to compare yourself in a world that is so public about their lives. It’s exhausting constantly trying to live up to the standards we hear and see but the fact tat you can be so transparent is a step in the right direction.

    Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right! It’s completely exhausting trying to live up to the ‘perfect’ lives we see on social media and on television. I’m trying my best to be transparent and focus on my own life rather than other people’s, but I’m not sure I’m quite there just yet!! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  4. this is such a great post! i touched on this in the blogpost i put up this week as well. it’s so hard to not compare yourself especially since everyone puts their accomplishments on social media. i think it’s important to remember everyone has their own path that they take at their own speed. thank you for opening up about this. i wish you the best of luck in no longer comparing yourself to others! xxx
    mich // simplymich.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve just read your post! 24 excellent and very insightful lessons!!

      You’re right – we are all on our own path. Social media doesn’t help the situation, but, as people have said in other comments, we need to use other’s achievements as inspiration rather than comparison. Thank-you for reading and commenting!!

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    1. Thank-you! Yes, Offspring Top Trumps is the worst! And you’re right, it’s so important not to compare yourself to others, for your own mental health if nothing else. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

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    1. Yes! Positivity is key. We definitely need to use other people’s successes as motivation and inspiration. Also, supporting other people and applauding their success makes us feel better about ourselves too! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a much needed, helpful post. Thank you for being able to share something that is so personal and important. I do compare myself to others (more than I’d like) but sometimes in a good way like I could be able to improve this for my better not just because others think so.

    Loren | Plaidandsugar.blogspot.ca

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful. It sounds like you already have a pretty healthy attitude to comparison. I’m certainly trying to look at it as an opportunity to improve my own situation rather than let myself get down because I don’t have what other people have got. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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