(By Rohan Healy)
“When you see someone speeding along in their convertible Mercedes with a big fat grin on their face on a lovely sunny day, it’s tempting to think “Wow, there’s someone who knows how to live, I want to be that person!” But remember that what you are seeing is just a snapshot of a person’s life. You can’t possible know what they were doing just a week before, or what about a year before? We all have our ups and downs and over a lifetime the good and bad things, for the most part, just about even out between people. So yes, watch this person as they enjoy their shiny Merc, but remember that they may have had to work hard for that car, they may have overcome an illness, or they may be a bank robber! Who knows?!“
We all do it! I don’t know why we do it; I’m sure there is some evolutionary psychology explanation, but all I know is that we just do it. We compare ourselves with others. We compare ourselves with out classmates and co workers, we compare ourselves with our ex partners, our siblings, our parents, our heroes and even random people on the street!
One of two things can happen when we compare:
1 – Whew, I’m glad I’m not that guy! We see someone who we deem to be less fortunate than ourselves. Perhaps they are homeless or disabled. The silly thing is that we really have no idea of the level of inner contentment of this individual. Me make an instant, highly superficial judgment of someone and give ourselves and ego boost based on outward appearances only.
2 – Boy, that guy has all the luck! We do the very opposite and, based on a very limited understanding of a person, deem them superior to us and worthy of our envy. Perhaps they have your dream job, or appear very successful in their relationships. Suddenly we feel awful, and for no good reason!
Comparing ourselves with others is something that we do, trying to stop it entirely is a mostly fruitless task. However there are a few things we can do in order to make ourselves feel better by being realistic when comparing. Check it out!
1: We Compare Our Worst Aspect with Their Best – When we idolize our favorite musician or world leader we of course look at their greatest attribute, and then for some reason compare it with our worst!“Obama is jetting around the world lunching with the rich and powerful while I can barely get out of bed…” If you must compare why not at least look at what you do best? I’ll bet just about any of us can do something better than Barack Obama can! I’d say I’m better at the guitar than he is for sure! No one is better than you in every respect, remember that. Which brings us to our next point…
2: Everyone Is Jealous of Everyone Else – You might not think so but even your idols would be envious of some aspect of your life or personality. I mean no Hollywood star can walk down the street without being mobbed or at least ogled. As much as you’d love to be Leo DiCaprio, remember that he’s human too, and would love to possess one or two aspects of your life! And the same goes for people we know. As jealous as you are of your older brother’s freedom or wealth, you can bet your butt that he’s just as envious of some talent or attribute of yours!
3: Everyone is Faking It – You know the way when you walk out your door, or talk to someone, you put your best foot forward? Well everyone else is doing that too! We’re all sucking in our proverbial gut and making a good account of ourselves. Of course we wrongly think it’s just us, and that everyone else actually has it all together! LOL!No matter how well someone is dressed, or how much they go on about how awesome their life is they have anxieties, phobias, relationship issues, money worries and more; just like we all do! So even though they don’t show it, you can trust that that person who has it “all worked out” has plenty to work through as well. Oh and they are thinking the exact same thing about you, yeah you look like you’ve got it all sorted to them as well.
4: What Comes Around Goes Around – When you see someone speeding along in their convertible Mercedes with a big fat grin on their face on a lovely sunny day, it’s tempting to think “Wow, there’s someone who knows how to live, I want to be that person!” But remember that what you are seeing is just a snapshot of a person’s life. You can’t possible know what they were doing just a week before, or what about a year before? We all have our ups and downs and over a lifetime the good and bad things, for the most part, just about even out between people. So yes, watch this person as they enjoy their shiny Merc, but remember that they may have had to work hard for that car, they may have overcome an illness, or they may be a bank robber! Who knows?! The point is don’t be jealous of a snapshot, what goes around comes around, and some day you may well be on top of the word while that person’s world is falling down around them.
5: Apples and Oranges – People just aren’t the same. Sure we’re all made up of the same basic anatomical parts, but by the time our upbringing, our culture and our experiences have had their way with us we might as well compare chalk with cheese. Some things are universal, shared human experiences like love and loss, but there is just so much scope for diversity when it comes to human lives and personalities that it’s really not fair to compare one human to another. Whether someone else has more money, more fame, nicer hair, longer legs or whatever, they can never be us! The fact is that no matter who you are, you will always be the very best version of you.
So enjoy yourself, for who you are and remember that when you compare yourself you never get the full picture.