Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Your story is not their story.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

I think we've all fallen into the trap of thinking someone else has something better than us, that they're happier than us or that we need to be more like them. Comparing your life to someone else's is unfair and a complete waste of energy. You've lived different lives, and comparing yourself to them or having negative feelings around the fact that they seem to have more or better things than you, is totally unjustified. You can use them as motivation to achieve something, but don't put yourself down because you don't currently have the specific things they have.

Body and appearance

There's a quote that goes something along the lines of "Don't compare your behind the scenes to someone else's highlight reel", and it very much applies to the issue of body image. Don't look at someone's Instagram feed and think that's always what they look like, or that it's even accurate at all. Some people put a lot of effort into their photos, they do a flattering pose, spend extra time on hair and makeup, add filters and even use photoshop. You just can't compare your real-life, natural face or body to an airbrushed picture, it's not fair at all. If there's a certain body feature you desire but don't currently have, such as a flat stomach or toned arms, don't start thinking everyone's got them except you. You can work towards them, but know that everyone won't be able to achieve these things due to body type, and that's okay. We're all different, and looking so is totally fine.

Eating habits

Whenever you see people posting their healthy meals, eating fruit or drinking smoothies, keep in mind this is their normal food. This isn't their cheat meal. So you shouldn't feel guilty about yours. They're not always posting their slip-ups, the sneaky chocolate bar they ate or the greasy take-away they got on the way home after a night out. Nobody's perfect, even if they look like it. Don't think you're the only one who treats yourself to sugary snacks or junk food every now and then. Everyone has their guilty pleasures.

Productivity

Watching other people be productive and achieve things inspires me. It's great to see someone put energy into creating stuff and making something happen. At the same time, it can serve as a devil on my shoulder. If I have a busy week or have other things to prioritise, that doesn't mean I'm worse than the people posting their success, but it can feel as though I'm not getting enough done. This is a really bad habit. It's crazy to compare the stuff you do to someone else. You lead different lives! If you think about all the things in your life you should really be proud of, I bet the list isn't short. Focus on what you get done, not the stuff you don't. Give yourself credit.

Education

A master's degree in biology or law isn't for everyone. So if you're sitting there, jealous of someone else's academic achievements that you didn't even want yourself, why are you wasting your energy on that? We all have different journeys, and for some of us, going to college or university isn't even an option. If you don't like the idea of lectures and papers, don't be jealous of someone who does. In today's society it's pretty much expected for everyone to get a degree, but you don't absolutely need one to build a career. If someone has a higher education than you, be happy for them, and don't feel bad about yourself because of it.

Opportunities

It may seem that everyone else has sooo many cool chances to do things and opportunities you'd never be able to get. But then again, there are other people who wish they had what you have. There will always be someone who has a cool job or goes on an amazing journey or gets to be on a TV show or something else that you'd also want to do. The list is endless. This is something we can't change, we just have to accept that there will always be things we don't have or can't do. This doesn't mean you don't have great things. Look around you, and appreciate what you have. If there’s anything you'd like to change, do it. But you have to work for it. No one (or at least, extremely few) is just handed something without putting in the work.

Relationship status

When overthinking your own relationship status and longing for a romantic partner, it's easy to feel that everyone around you has someone, and you're the only one without. First of all, having a partner doesn't equal happiness. Focus on the other parts of your life before trying to meet someone. Make a good base for yourself and be the best you possible, before making an effort to date. If you're the last single person in a friend group of four or five, come on. That doesn't make you the last single person in the world, and although you're probably sick of being told this, there's plenty more fish in the sea. But don't seek pictures of happy couples to torture yourself. And you never know, it's very easy to put up a happy facade for your relationship. It's not impossible that some of your friends would be better off as single. The fact that someone's in a relationship isn’t automatically something to envy them for.

Finances

Having a lot of savings or being debt-free are luxuries not everyone has, and I know it's a common stress-inducing element, especially for young people. There are many different reasons why people don't have these things, and it's wrong to feel bad that you had to get a student loan while maybe some of your friends had their parents pay for their degree. You can't let these things consume you, as they are out of your control. There's also no point in being mad at yourself for what you've done in the past. You can only do everything in your power now to improve your financial status. Don't waste energy regretting past choices or being annoyed that you weren't born rich. You can't change either of these things, all you can do is work hard for the future.

Please focus your energy on yourself and working towards your own goals, rather than someone else’s. You’re good enough the way you are.

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Tone Breistrand
Tone Breistrand
Read next: The Deception of Instagram
Tone Breistrand

Hi there! I am a Norwegian writer living in London. I like to write about love, Disney and finding happiness.

See all posts by Tone Breistrand