As a human being, it is pretty impossible to never compare yourself to other people. It has become even more difficult with the rise of social media. We are constantly bombarded by people’s best moments without getting a glimpse into their actual life. Because of this, we are left comparing our struggles with their picture-perfect persona. That can be really difficult. I’ve been feeling this a lot lately. I feel like once you hit your twenties, comparison becomes commonplace because everyone is starting to pick the path their life is going to take. Suddenly people you knew in middle school are getting engaged or married. Others are already having kids. Some people already have good jobs, while others are taking a year off to travel. All of these things are found out through social media posts that talk about how great their life is going. Then you shut off your phone, and look at your own life and go back to taking unsure steps into the future with a sadness that you can’t be as content as everyone else. But we have to remember that we aren’t seeing the whole picture of other people’s lives or even our own life.
There is not a single person on this earth that is happy and content all the time. Even the people who you think should be the most content struggle with things. Letting yourself believe that you are seeing a person’s whole life based on three Instagram posts is damaging because we do see every second of our own days, which are not always good. Remembering this is the first step in overcoming the need for comparison. But I know this can be difficult. A lot of people who I know from middle and high school are getting engaged. Some even have kids with their partners. Meanwhile, I am single. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but sometimes when I see multiple people get engaged in the space of a week, I call into question whether I am really content right now or not. I question my own happiness based solely on someone else’s. I have to remind myself that that isn’t how feelings work. No choices that other people make should directly impact your emotions. If that is the case, it means you have fallen deep in a well of comparison, which can only lead to disappointment.
Some of my questioning whether or not I’m happy when I see other people hitting life milestones comes from feeling like I’m falling behind. There’s a song by Phil Good (great name) called Be Somebody that hits on this idea perfectly. One of the lines of the song says “Can’t help but compare, all my friends already there
I can say that it’s not fair but maybe somehow it’s my fault” and later “Every day I’m afraid I’m not even in the race and I’m feelin’ kind of left out.” I definitely relate to those lyrics. But I shouldn’t be living on other people’s timelines. If we all accomplished things at exactly the same time, we would be living in a very dull society. I have to try and remember that it’s okay that my priorities aren’t the same as some of my peers. I’m focusing on school and work right now instead of relationships and that’s okay. Relationships will come in their own time and when I have more time to give. Everyone moves at their own pace and there are no deadlines. Comparing another person’s timeline to your own is comparing apples to oranges because they have different life experiences that shape their path. Trust me, I know that reminding yourself of these rational thoughts is hard. Lately, I haven’t been doing a good job of listening to my own advice. But by comparing to others, we are only worsening our mental health.
I really liked this article that I found that talks about things to do when you start to feel yourself comparing too much. I especially like the point they make about this not being the end of your movie. We have no idea what lies ahead. Only God truly knows what will happen. So reminding yourself that you aren’t seeing the full picture can help you when you are feeling disappointed in the moment. Your time to shine could be just around the corner. Instead of spending time comparing, we should be actively pursuing goals and people that will aid us in our search for happiness.
Thank y’all for reading and I hope this is something someone needed to hear. It’s definitely something that I needed to write for myself. I hope you have an amazing week!