A picture is worth a thousand words, so when you look at one you may think that you’ve got every possible story. But you could be way off the mark.
When you scroll through Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat you get a glimpse in the lives of others through an array of pictures and short videos.
You can see that the quiet girl from school just got married and how big her ring is.
You see that an old friend has announced to everyone that they just got a huge promotion and is now working their dream job.
You even see the videos of the deep blue ocean and sandy beach from a former colleague’s vacation.
Seems like everyone is living the good life, right? Well everyone but you, that is.
As you continue to scroll through these amazing pictures and videos, you can’t help but wonder why you’re not experiencing the same thing.
You’re so baffled by it all. You click through to their profile to see if there is more, more details about their epic life and its awesome adventures.
But they would never know you were there because you refuse to like or comment on a single thing. You can’t let them know, that you know how great things are going for them.
They’re just a bunch of show-offs anyway, right?! Ugh…
By this time you’re so frustrated and disappointed with your own life that you close the app completely. You just can’t stand to look at it anymore.
Everyone probably wonders this. It’s a common question that comes to mind when something incredible happens to someone else, especially when you’re dying for it to happen for you.
Then the following thought causes you to reflect upon your life. More specifically, the lack of those things.
You start trying to put the pieces together as to why they have it and you don’t. You may even come up with these outrageous theories as to how they tricked the system into making it work for them.
Then you start to question your path in life.
If that’s what their life looks like and your life is the complete opposite, you are in the wrong place.
Basically you’re using someone else’s life as a gauge to your own.
When they get or do something that you’re not able to you begin to think there is something wrong with your life or the corrupt things they must’ve done to get it.
Regardless, you think you should have it too, especially since they have it. I mean you guys are about the same age right? Your lives should be pretty similar.
Um, maybe not.
Just because someone is the same age as you doesn’t mean you both have to live parallel lives.
Whenever you look at someone else’s life and draw comparisons like that, thinking that you both should be having near similar experiences, you’re focusing too much on them and your lack in comparison.
You have the keeping up with the Joneses mentality. You then become caught up with what they’re doing and why you’re not doing the same. When you really should be focusing on your goals, which may not be the same as theirs.
You don’t need to look at someone else’s life to determine how well you’re doing in your own.
Apples to Oranges
It easy to look at someone’s awesome vacation and new car and think to yourself that you should be doing the same thing and making the same purchases.
But comparing yourself to someone else is more complicated than that.
You can’t compare your life to someone else’s based on a simple photograph or 15 second video. It’s like comparing an apple to an orange. Sure they’re both round-ish fruit but they’re quite different, in a number of ways.
There are a lot of things that go into the making of any one person’s life. So even though you have a picture, you don’t have the big picture.
If you truly need help in figuring out if you’re making the appropriate progress in your life, compare your present to your past.
Look at how your life was before compared to know. That will truly tell you if you’re on the right track.
When you stop focusing on the details of other people’s lives you’ll have more time to spend on improving your own. And most of all you won’t be annoyed and oddly fixated every time you open a social media app.
Whenever you find yourself comparing something someone posted to your life, consider this:
Everyone Wants Different Things
When you look at a pick of a new car an old friend recently purchased you quickly forget that you weren’t lusting after one.
You just immediately think about how the two of you aren’t on the same page. He’s driving a new sports car and you haven’t been near a dealership in years.
I mean even if you were to get a new car, would it have been that one? Do you even really care to get a car now? You probably have bigger fish to fry.
We’re not all the same. We’re all unique in every aspect, including our desires. Just because you know someone who got a new car doesn’t mean it’s time to trade yours in.
You can’t effectively compare yourself to others who want different things.
It Puts You in a Bad Place
When you’re trying to figure out if you’re on the right path it seems useful to look at the lives of your peers. But eventually the progressive check disappears and something else you didn’t bargain for takes over.
After taking it all in you become resentful not just of them but of yourself also.
You become fixated on how much more you could have already but don’t. You end up jealous of them for having it and mad at yourself for not.
Like, what do they have that you don’t?
Worst of all, you may start to think that you’re inferior to them because they seem so accomplished.
Life Is Not a Game
Does it really matter if someone else seems to have more than you? What does that really mean anyway?
They’re not winning if that’s what you’re thinking.
Life is about living and enjoying it. It’s not about getting the most likes on Instagram or accumulating the most stuff.
It’s not a game that can be won by portraying the best life ever.
Besides, there are a whole lot of people in this world. Based on sheer statistics there will always be someone out there with something better in some aspect of life.
There’s just no way to compete, and it takes the fun out of life.
You’re Focused on Your Weaknesses
Another not so great thing about comparing yourself to others is that you tend to focus on your weaknesses.
And it’s not even an even comparison of your weak versus theirs. You’re comparing your shortcomings against the highlights of someone else’s life. Basically, it’s your worst against their best.
You end up so focused on their best that you forget that you can be pretty amazing too.
It’s a Distraction
Look at what you’re doing.
Instead of thinning out your own to-do list, you’re wasting your precious time worried about what someone else is doing and what they’ve accomplished.
This is what you’re doing when you really should be keeping your eyes on your own paper.
You have things to do, you have goals for yourself. And you only have a limited amount of time to do them. So why are you wasting it?
Your to-do list isn’t going to do itself, so stop wasting your time.
It’s a Bad Habit
Sure it seems helpful or harmless at first but it’s actually hindering. You probably have a number of habits that don’t seem as bad as they actually are.
Comparing yourself to others is one of those habits. As described in the number of points above in can result in reactions and effects that are restrictive.
When you’re wasting your time with such a distraction then end up in a bad mental place, as a result of this it’s hard to motivate yourself and enjoy life.
It’s completely counterproductive.
They Always Use a Filter
And I don’t mean the photo editing that they put over the picture to make it look even better.
People are only going to post on social media what they are comfortable with showing. You get to see what they want you to see.
Who doesn’t want to share pictures of their vacation, wedding and new house with everyone? It’s such as exciting time in your life you can’t really keep it to yourself.
But we all know that there’s more to life than time away from work and parties.
The next time you find yourself comparing someone’s awesomeness to your life, remind yourself that you don’t know what it took to get there.
It Doesn’t Compare
While comparing yourself to others may seem like a good way to determine if your life is on track it’s actually limiting and self-defeating.
Just because someone is living their life one way and doing different things doesn’t mean you have to conform to that to be happy. We all have our own meanings of success and we should follow that, not each other.
The best way to determine your progress in life is to compare your past to your present. Figure out if there has been any improvement from then to now. If there isn’t, work on that instead of focusing on another person’s progression.
You don’t have to keep up with any Joneses, you just need to live up to your own definition of happiness, whatever that is.
Once you focus on that you’ll realize that no comparison is necessary. You can be happy doing your own thing.
Do you see how comparing yourself to others is a losing battle?