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The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

What is a sure-fire to completely destroy your self-esteem with as little effort as possible? Compare yourself to others. Their achievements, their appearance, whatever it is that they have that you don’t. Completely ignore the factors circumventing their success, and the fact that you have up until this point led a very happy life. Destroy all of that contentment by telling yourself that you need to be more like “them.”

Who is to blame? Science? Nature? Or instant-gratification culture?

Since our developmental stages, our brains are wired to compare and contrast. It is a facet of our personalities; the preferences that we gravitate to. It is only natural that our eyes wonder and consider the possibilities of having something different. How would that something different improve our lives? If we had made an alternate choice somewhere down the line, where would we be now?

Many individuals who envy and strive for the fortune of others are themselves insecure.[1] That should not be surprising, because you are not plagued with the need for improvement when you are self-confident. Perhaps they don’t know what their purpose in life is, so they look to others who have made it and think, “I should be more like them.” It could stem from the way they were raised. There was a very strong emphasis for a need for success within their family, and to fill the impossible shoes of the fortunate achievers who came before them.

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The most likely culprit, riddling the average individual with notions of failure and FOMO; peer comparison. The knowledge that someone in your class, from your neighborhood, or some extension of your social circle is doing “better” than you.

Instant-gratification culture has made it nearly impossible for the average person to comprehend that the majority of successful people in today’s society must still make lots of sacrifices in order to achieve their position. Most people don’t just get “lucky.”

Focusing on what someone else has achieved will not bring you the same fortune.

It’s easy to fixate on someone else’s success, and beat yourself up for, well, not being them. But everyone is on their own path, and have made many choices that led to where they are. It’s time that we stop comparing ourselves to others, and focus on personal improvement.

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You need to focus on what you bring to the table, and how you can hone it to manifest your own success.

You are the one responsible for losing yourself and having yourself.

Realize that everyone is on their own path, and you have made many choices to bring you to where you are.

Do you regret taking that gap year to backpack through Europe? I really, honestly doubt it. Maybe it set you back in terms of your “career,” but you have acquired experiences and skills that you could never have attained anywhere else. And you’ve opted to LIVE your life, instead of filling your bank account in hopes of living your life later. Good for you.

Don’t focus on your weaknesses.

You’re not good at everything, and you never will be. Neither is anyone else, so just let that one go. What made one person successful might not necessarily work for you. Do you enjoy making cold calls and manipulating buyers into acquiring your product? No? Well then you’re not going to make your fortune by manufacturing a product. But you have always been good at fixing computers. Perhaps there is a Freelance I.T. career in your future. You can always find a way to market the skills that you already possess.

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Accept who you are, and don’t be a phony.

Way too many try to project themselves as someone they’re not, because they think it will bring them success. If you’re really good at being fake, good for you I guess. But most people can pick up on the lack of authenticity and I’ll tell you what, they don’t respect it. If you’re trying to pass yourself off as a guru of something you don’t really care about, but it’s a popular subject so you think it will bring you traffic; it won’t. Be yourself. Embrace what you love. You will attract people with similar interests, and they will respect you for being authentic.

Let others inspire you, not deflate you.

There are always going to be those who pioneer a niche, and are mentors for our desired success. It’s okay to want to be like them. To use their style in influence your own. But don’t forget to include yourself in the mix. The addition of your personality and style is what makes your product or service unique.

Realize that no one is judging you.

And brush off anyone who is. Whether it’s a long term friend or family member. If they are weighing you down with negativity, making you feel as though you are not good enough, kick them to the curb. Most people are not waiting idling by, anticipating your failure. Most people will notice what you are doing, but they are not emotionally invested in your success.

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Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

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Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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