Comparison and jealousy are innate in us humans, as well as animals as a whole. I would imagine it is part of our survival instinct. When we existed in a survival of the fittest environment, having more would almost always have been better. It must also be linked to primative attraction, as attracting a partner drives a lot of what we did and in many ways still do.
But we don’t live in that environment anymore. And if you value your mental health you will do well to avoid comparing yourself to others. I found this great quote on twitter, no idea who said it:
Comparison will steal your joy. Comparison convinces you that others’ success is your failure.
Comparison in many ways makes life seem zero sum. Somebody else’s success must equal failure if you are to be continually comparing and hoping to come out on top.
And we only ever seem to compare upwards. You don’t find people comparing themselves to their neighbours with a smaller house, or an older car. Only those up the street with the new extensive and the shiny new Range Rover.
I do my best to avoid comparison for two reasons:
- I don’t see how it can make me happy
- You always compare on the external facing view, you never know whats going on behind the scenes
On point one I adhere to the quote above, I just don’t see how success can be binary. Somebody else can have all the success in the world, it doesn’t stop me achieving my goals.
The second point is exaggerated by the world of social media we live in. We all have those ‘friends’ who love to pot photos on Facebook of everything they do. Holidays, cars, new jobs, anything and everything to make their lives look fantastic. However what they are showing you are the edited highlights not the reality.
This person could be in an unhappy relationship. They could have lost a child. They could suffer from depression. Any number of things could be going on in their lives which mean that wishing for their life is a stupid thing to do. It could even be this that brings them to try and put up the facade of the life they lead.
So as hard as it is, we should all do our best to avoid comparison, it will bring us no good. Set out your own goals for a happy life, and judge yourself against these.