• The Seasoned Millennial

Comparison and 4 Tips To Break The Cycle

Updated: Apr 2, 2018

Comparing yourself to others is one of the unhealthiest things that you can do for your mental and physical health. I have definitely been guilty of it, but unless you are in the Olympics and competing for a world record, you are better off focusing on what works best for you.

Whether we like it or not, social media has become such a big part of our lives. This is not only true for children and teens, but also for those of us that are older. People are constantly recording the good parts of their lives and posting them, which results in a massive highlight reel. No one takes pictures on the bad days, of moments of self-doubt, when they're fighting with their spouse, or messed something up at work. It’s not a bad thing to want to show people the good, but it can lead to comparing yourself to others “best of” albums. This isn’t only true online, but also in social situations. We have all gotten out of the car, worried about a hundred different things, stressed out, and then walked into an event and put on our biggest smile and chatted like nothing is wrong.

From childhood on, I always wanted to be prettier, thinner, more athletic, more artistic, and more successful. Over the years though, with the help of some older friends, my parents, and therapy I realized that most people go through periods of life feeling that way. I learned to look inward, find my passions and strengths, while also recognizing my weaknesses and accepting them.

I suffer from manic depression, but with the right medicine and therapy, I have learned to pull myself out of dark places. I am able to remind myself that I can get out of that funk and that tomorrow is a new day. Reminding myself of my goals and passions on a daily basis has helped me to persevere. I have learned that I will always bad days, but not to get sucked into comparing myself, my depression, or my happiness to that of others. I am only accountable to myself and only responsible for determining what works for me and my life. I believe that this is true for everyone.

Here are some things I have learned to stop the cycle of comparison;

1. Call a friend and talk or meet in person for one on one time.

2. Go exercise. Even if fitness isn't your thing, a 20-minute walk outside can help you to reset.

3. Do something you enjoy that isn’t online. Read, do a project, go shopping, play with your kids or go out for a meal with a friend or your partner and leave the phone turned off.

4. If social media is making you unhappy, move the apps on your phone to somewhere new. You’re likely more addicted to the ritual of clicking and scrolling. Moving it can help trick your brain into recognizing what you’re doing, and being more aware of your time spent online.

Our economic system and corporate America want us to compare ourselves to others so we will want and thus purchase, the things or service others have. There is also big money made by having you purchase items with credit or putting it on your credit card and paying interest. If you don’t get caught in the comparison mode you will be so much happier and have far less debt. Instead of immediate gratification because all your friends have something like the iPhone10 take a breath and ask yourself whether it is going to make a difference in your life today. Find the joy in your world. Compare yourself instead, to the person you want to be.