Why Comparing Yourself to Others is Harmful

Everyone can always change whenever they want, but the start of the new year is a really great time to build new habits and prune away old ones that just doesn’t work. Fresh starts and clean slates are good catalysts to help us reflect on how we are living our lives internally, so that we may create the necessary systems and environment to support positive change. 

After much introspection about the goals and events that happened for 2022, the emerging theme that leads this year for me is positive acceptance and adventures. That means being open to opportunities, people and circumstances that I would’ve normally said no to. It’s all about embracing positive change, regardless of how difficult it may be. 

One of the things that I am working on along this theme is to stop comparing my journey with others, I mean how can I push for positive acceptance when at every point in the journey, I am stopping to look and compare myself to where others are? Why is it then that we can’t stop comparing ourselves to others, and is there a better way of thinking and living?

Humans are social animals and we can’t help but compare ourselves with others. This “toxic trait” is actually a behaviour that helped our ancestors survive in the prehistoric times, but is detrimental in contemporary times if we don’t rein in to keep it in check.

The measures that we use to judge others, be it their lifestyle, looks, values or character are the same measures that we are using to evaluate ourselves. It teaches us about ourselves such that it unravels what is important to us. 

We may compare ourselves to others who we see as better than us to gauge their behaviour and performance, so that we may adapt some of it to actually make us better. The unhelpful type of comparison on the other extreme is comparing ourselves to people who we see as lesser than us, in which we do for the purpose of increasing our “self-esteem” or self-worth. This downward comparison is unhelpful because it doesn’t push you to be better. It makes you stagnant, complacent and fulfilled with wherever you are.

For this new year, may we realize that their journey is not yours, and they are not you, as you are not them and their path is not for you to take. Ultimately, the only standard that you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday. 

There is no right way to live, but to save yourself from misery, what we can do is to start living, observing and be actually happy when others succeed or surpass us. We can use it as an inspiration and not as a source of desperation. 

Media and human free will has failed us in a sense that it made us believe that we can be whoever we want to be. Life points out differently, be who you are born to be. When we grow and develop along the lines of our skills and aptitudes, the growth is exponential. Forcing ourselves to be who we are not causes frustration and unnecessary stress. 

We are all citizens of this world. Let their success be yours, and yours be theirs.

Until you read from me again.