"Comparison is the thief of joy" - Franklin Roosevelt
We all know we shouldn't compare ourselves to others. We all know we are unique and that Facebook is not reality. We all know this, yet...we still do it. Every day. Every single one of us. Deny it all you want, but keep reading. There are some simple things we can all do to stop putting ourselves down and comparing ourselves to others.
1. Focus on you
You can't control other people, but you can control yourself, your thoughts, and your actions. You can't control what they say, think, feel and post on social media, but you can control how you react. So, what do you do? Focus on making yourself better each day and then only compare you to yourself. All we need is to be better than we were yesterday and maybe that just means that today you feed your kids a sandwich instead of a Pop-Tart for lunch. The point is, just do what you can each day and leave it at that.
Know who you are. Discover what makes you unique. Discover what you are good at and what you enjoy and focus on those things. Don't try to change yourself to fit into society's mold of the perfect person; just dig down deep, take some time for serious reflection and then do what makes you happy, even if it isn't necessarily what society thinks should make you happy.
3. Realize that it doesn't matter
I wish everyone could just internalize this little fact - it doesn't matter. Forgive me for standing on my little soapbox for a second, but God's opinion is the only one that matters. It is the comparison that makes us proud, it is the comparison that makes us sad and it is the comparison that tells us we are not good enough. Stop comparing, love yourself and realize that your peers only have as much power to put you down as you give them. I know this is hard, but if you take away their power, then nothing they say or do can ever hurt you because you know it doesn't matter.
4. Pursue the greater things in life that cannot be seen, heard or compared
The things we agonize over daily are the things that don't really matter. We compare material wealth, possessions and prestige, but, in the end, all that matters is your happiness, your self-worth and the things that bring true and lasting joy in this life. These things cannot be measured against anyone else and that is the point. Stop striving for those things that can be compared and find joy and fulfillment in those things that absolutely cannot be compared.
Alas, the ultimate guide to loving yourself and not comparing could just include this one point. Take the time each day to be grateful for everything; the big things and the little things alike. Just be grateful for what you have and the comparison won't even cross your mind. It will be easy to be happy for those around you because everything you have to be grateful for will be fresh on your mind.
6. Love yourself because you are unique and that is awesome
You are unique; we all are and we were meant to be that way, so embrace it. Embrace what it is that makes you, you. I guarantee your family does not love you because you are perfect; your family loves you because they are your family. Your friends love you for your individual personality and flavor you bring to the table, so embrace that. Love that. Being different is what will make you stand out in the crowd, so find what makes you unique and capitalize on it.
7. Do something you love
If you find yourself envying the life of someone close to you or wishing you had what they have, then go do something you love. Leave behind the wishing and the wanting, take a friend if you want, and go have fun. Having fun can really be anything. Sometimes I will watch a movie, other times I will treat myself to an ice cream cone and once in awhile I just go for a drive or a walk to organize my thoughts and remember what I am grateful for. Do something that makes you happy and that will help you remember why it is OK that your life is not the same as someone else's.
This is easy to say and not quite as easy to do, but it is doable. This isn't to say you have to stop being human; those moments will come that tempt us all to start comparing our lives to the world. It is when we continually indulge these thoughts that problems arise. When you are tempted to compare, just remind yourself to stop. Switch your mind onto a different track and never come back because once you start comparing, you can never stop. There are an endless number of people to compare yourself to, so please, just never start.
9. Be proud of your accomplishments
Don't be proud that you are a better cook than your sister or that your husband makes more money than your neighbors, but be proud of those things you accomplish every day. Be proud when you set a goal and reach it, but be proud for you, not because you reached your goal before someone else did.
When life gets hard and everyone around you seems to be having an easy go of it, don't resent them for it; instead be happy for them. Be grateful for what you have, be grateful for your struggles and be happy when others share their good news with you. When you are genuinely happy for others, there will be no temptation to compare.
11. Let go of social media
I love a quote by steve Furtick that is more than relevant in today's culture of social media posting. He says, "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." Facebook and Instagram are highlight reels. Remember that.
Most of these things cannot be changed or implemented overnight, but all great journeys are accomplished one step at a time. So pick one step to take today and another one to take tomorrow until you wake up one day and realize you have reached your goal. Then joy and meaning come from within, not the comparison.