You might’ve heard the expression, “comparison is the thief of all joy.” I first remember hearing my Nanna say it years ago, but at the time, it didn’t mean much to me.
I was maybe 17 or 18 years old, long before social media was “a thing” and I never really found myself falling into the comparison trap.
You’d think that because I successfully avoided the comparison trap during my most impressionable years, I was out of the woods.
In fact, it was only relatively recently that I realized I was engulfed by comparison.
It happened around the time I got pregnant with my first son. I had hyperemesis gravidarum during my pregnancy so I was incredibly sick. Whenever I was feeling well enough to actually lift my head off the pillow, I would spend hours scrolling through Instagram looking at pictures of other pregnant women.
I would notice how glowing they looked, while I had my head over a bucket 24/7. Then, when I gradually started to feel better and started gaining pregnancy weight, I’d look at those impossibly fit instagram fitness models who gained maybe 10lbs their entire pregnancy, and maintained a six pack. I’d look down at my huge belly and wonder why I didn’t have a six pack and I’d gained WAY more than 10lbs.
Then I gave birth to my precious little guy.
As I was struggling to get him in the car seat installed in my sedan, I would think of the people I saw who had a huge, spacious SUV.
When he suffered from terrible colic and I was up every night for hours trying to calm him, I would think about mega-rich people who can afford a night nanny to help them.
Then let’s talk about my business. I work online, and I have built up two businesses from scratch. I’m completely self-taught and I make a full-time income doing something I love.
But then I’d read these online income reports of people who were making 100k/month and I’d start to feel like a failure.
One night as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, feeling kinda down about myself, I had a lightbulb moment.
The words that my Nanna spoke over 15 years ago rang in my head – “comparison is the thief of all joy.”
I finally realized exactly what that meant.
Every time I was comparing an aspect of my life to someone else’s, it was taking away from MY happiness.
Instead of feeling grateful that I was finally able to get out of bed and was no longer losing 5lbs a week while pregnant, I was comparing my weight gain to someone who I didn’t even know (who may not have even been healthy themselves!)
Instead of being thankful that I had a new, safe car to transport my son around in, I was annoyed that my car wasn’t more spacious.
Instead of thinking how lucky I was to have a healthy baby that I was able to rock in my arms in a nice, warm house, I was envious that I didn’t have a night nanny (who seriously even does that, btw…)
Instead of feeling proud of the income I was able to create for my family, I felt like shit because I thought it was pennies compared to “other people.”
Here’s the thing…
In real life, I am very adamant about NOT surrounding myself with people who suck the positivity out of me.
Yet here I was, sucking the positive out of my own life by comparing myself to friends and random strangers on social media.
Social media can be amazing for gaining inspiration from others, but when inspiration turns into comparison, that’s where it becomes a problem.
I made a decision then and there – I unfollowed every single person who person who made me feel less than, and I made a commitment to no longer mindlessly scroll through Instagram.
As it turns out, when you stop comparing yourself to others, some pretty amazing things happen…
What Happens When You Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
1. It makes you appreciate what you have
When you stopped focusing on what it seems like everyone else has, it makes you so much more appreciative of what you have. For example, instead of thinking about the fancy SUV your neighbor drives, remind yourself how lucky you are to have a reliable vehicle that is fully paid off (when your neighbor has a huge car loan looming over their head.)
2. It increases your sense of self-worth
Things like the type of car you drive, how ripped your abs are, how much money you have in the bank, what school your kids attend or how big your house is don’t have any bearing on your value as a human being.
Those are all material things, and when you stop comparing the amount of material items you have to others, you start to realize that material items really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.
3. You realize that nobody’s life is perfect
Think about this – say you follow someone on Instagram who seems to have it all. She drives a luxury car, lives in a huge house, has 3 gorgeous kids and seems to always go on fancy vacations. What you don’t see in her perfectly edited and curated Instagram feed is that her husband treats her like crap and she’s incredibly unhappy in her marriage but she feels like she can’t leave because her “perfect life” would fall to pieces.
Comparing yourself to somebody that you don’t even truly know is kinda nuts when you think about it, and coveting what they have is even more nuts, because you don’t truly know the circumstances of their life.
Remember, all that glitters is not always gold.
4. You’ll start reaching your goals
How much time do you waste scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, focusing on and being envious of what other people have?
When you stop comparing yourself to others, you can channel that energy into working towards achieving your own goals and aspirations.
Start focusing on yourself and success will follow.
5. You’ll become a better person
Comparing yourself to others can fill you with resentment and this is often outwardly expressed, whether we try to hide it or not.
When you stop comparing yourself to others, it allows you to become genuinely happy for someone when they get a promotion, buy a new car, book a vacation, etc.
6. You’ll be a lot happier
Ultimately, all anyone really wants is to be happy. Being consumed by the comparison trap does just the opposite – it feels you with resentment, anger, envy and depression.
Stop comparing yourself to others and you’ll immediately start feeling happier, which is the ultimate benefit of quitting the comparison game.