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That Evil Little Thing Called Comparison
We all desire change. For many people, that means bigger and better, new and improved. Have you bought into the lies that come from comparing yourself to others? Do you let the media, your neighbors, and your social status dictate your life? It’s time to give up that evil little thing called comparison.
There are times we need to make comparisons to understand our lives and our surroundings. We make comparisons to solve problems. I love language. Similes and metaphors are simply comparisons of two things. That’s not what this post is about. That evil little thing I’m referring to is when compare ourselves to others.
In my post, Four Fears Are The Root To All Your Problems, I briefly discuss “the fear of what others think.” This is where many of us get caught up. It’s that evil little thing that clings. I’ve been a victim of this kind of thought. I still make unhealthy comparisons at times. You know. You’ve probably thought or said one of the following statements:
- I wish I could write more like _____ writes.
- I wish I had a higher paying job like _____ job.
- I wish my house was more like _____ house.
- I wish my blog got as much traffic as _____ blog.
- I wish I had a body more like _____ body.
We’ve Been Taught To Compare Ourselves
From the very start we’re taught to compare ourselves to others. I watch my own 9-year-old daughter compare what she has to what her friends have. When she sees that they have something she doesn’t, she wants one. It’s human nature. Or is it?
Perhaps we’ve been programmed to think this way. Consider the media and advertising. We are constantly barraged with messages that tell us that we’re not good enough, that we need more. We are told we need to update, upgrade, and outdo those around us. It’s that evil little thing. It’s a false dilemma. We are given two choices: Live without and be unhappy, or buy more and be happy. But there’s a third choice: Live without and be happier.
Here’s Why Comparisons Can Be Evil
- In the end, comparisons only bring you down: Most of the time, when we compare ourselves to others, the comparisons are unreasonable. You can’t have a $500,000 house on a $50,000 salary. You can’t get 50,000 visits to your unknown blog in the first week. You can’t have the body of a model that’s been photoshopped to look perfect. These unrealistic comparisons only lead to depression and low self-esteem.
- You won’t be happy, even if you get what they have: How many times have you bought something simply because someone else had one? You see theirs and think that it’s something you really need. So you slap your credit card on the counter and get one. Maybe you even one-up your competitor. You play with your new toy for a short period of time. You get bored with it. You wonder why you’re not happy. It’s because your motives were not true. You didn’t really need the new toy. You wanted it just to be cool. That never brings happiness in the end.
- It keeps you from being who you’re truly meant to be: We cannot find our true selves thorough comparisons and possessions. It was only when I stopped comparing my songwriting abilities to other songwriters that I became a unique songwriter. It was only when I stopped caring about my looks that I began to truly care for my body. We are not all carbon copies. Buying products or acting in ways to be like others keeps you from discovering your unique talents.
- It’s just an evil little thing: Comparing yourself to others does no good. That’s not to say we can’t look up to those we respect and aspire to be more like them. I’m talking about that coveting kind of comparison. All it does is lead to negative emotions. When you compare yourself to others you’ll feel less worthy. You’ll have lower self-esteem. Or you’ll become greedy and cut-throat to get whatever it is you think you want.
The Power Of Less
Learn to live with less. Less really is more. Less stuff equals more time, more happiness, more love. Less comparisons to others equals more individualism, more truth, more peace. People who truly choose to live simple need to let go of comparisons. As long as you want the stuff that others have, your life will be complicated. When you let go of those desires, you’ll begin to find yourself. It’s simple.