Comparison to others is not only a thief of joy but it can actually immobilise you and stop you from getting anywhere close to where you really want to go.
It can prevent you getting the things you’re looking for in those people in the first place.
Life is not a competition. We don’t have to compare ourselves, our appearances, our achievements and successes with others.
Life is our own personal journey for our betterment and success by our own definitions. And ultimately, life by God’s definition is serving Him in our unique ways.
We’re all so different and we’re each on a unique path to achieve our own goals so it’s illogical to compare to anybody else, no matter how ‘alike’ or similar they appear to be.
Each of us has a different set of parents which means we grew up differently. We come from different backgrounds, cultures. We’ve been exposed to different things, hardships, successes, failures, wealth and struggle.
Here are the ways that have helped me:
One : Awareness
The first thing to do is catch yourself! We don’t always realise when we are comparing ourselves. Always be aware of your thoughts and if you know you’re prone to this, be on alert for the next time you start comparing and apply the some of the other tips that work for you.
Two: Don’t Beat Yourself Up
When you do realise you’re comparing to others, don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens. It’s only a train of thought and now that you’ve acknowledged it, stop and focus on yourself and what would be more beneficial to you.
Comparing to others makes you feel like your life doesn’t add up, as if you are inadequate and it’s simply not true! Don’t beat yourself up about the things others have and you don’t have it. Instead love the things you already have.
Three: Be Grateful
It really is impossible to count all of our blessings. We’ve been given so much already and we often take them for granted. Make it a daily practice and feel how good it is to have the things you already have.
It’s easier to be grateful if you spend just a few moments every day to imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have the things you currently have.
Here’s what I do. I imagine my whole day from start to finish as I am right now. From waking up in bed to getting up and going to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. The simple mundane every day life stuff. I go through the whole day in my mind.
Then I imagine it again, but this time, I remove things like the ability to walk or being able to see, or living in a place that has a bathroom and water. Sometimes I do a combination or I pick just one thing that I have now and remove it and I experience my whole day in my mind as if it isn’t there.
You bet after that exercise – I feel so grateful I’m jumping for joy! Alhamdulilah.
Four: Remember it’s not the full picture
When you look at the others and the things they have, it’s not the full picture. You don’t know the ins and outs of their good or their bad.
For example, we can see someone just bought an expensive flashy car, but what we don’t know is that they worked eight years to the bone to be able to afford it. You don’t know that they may have been struggling with an old rusty car that broke down every time they drive to work.
Our assumptions about people and what we see is what is killing us.
This applies to relationships too. Just because you see a picture of a beautiful couple seemingly having the dream life, does not mean we know what’s behind it.
Our assumption could indeed be right, perhaps they really are having a dream life, or it could be one moment of good among hell. Either way, that’s what they have. Our bad energy toward them and ourselves is not going to change our situation in any way.
In fact, it worsens things for ourselves, because we feel miserable and aren’t motivated to do anything about changing our own life.
Five: Let Go of Perfection
Following on from the previous point, we tend to idealise the things we see. We see a beautiful photo of someone on a vacation and think ‘wow their life is amazing’.
Or we see someone with nice clothes and a house and think they’re living ‘the dream’ and must be so happy.
Where did that conclusion come from?
There is no such thing as perfect. There’s no such thing as ALL good and no bad. Sure, they have those things but they also have struggles, health problems and many other things they have to deal with, as we all are.
Six: Try the Reverse
How would you like it if someone had their eye on your things, your relationships, your money, your children. You would want to defend them wouldn’t you? You would want to protect your blessings from the bad energy coming to you. You know your own struggle, you know how hard it was to work on that relationship, how many treatments you had to have to ensure your baby was healthy. You know the sweat, blood and tears it took to make enough for rent. From the outside, it might look like you have it all. They’re looking at you thinking ‘wow what a life’.
If only they could see the reality right?
This is the reality, and we don’t have to know the details about every individual to know this is real. The great things in life don’t come without struggle.
Seven: Remember the Highlight Reel vs Reality
Most people will only ever tell you about the good things happening in their life. Whether it’s in conversation or on social media, people want to show their best. We all do. This is a normal and natural thing. People will only share their sad, bad and struggle with their close ones, not with the whole world.
But when we are having a conversation with someone about their weekend and they tell us they went on a spontaneous getaway with their partner, eating gelato and riding gondolas in Venice, we can’t help but think about the argument we just had about putting laundry in the basket instead of the floor right next to it.
We can’t compare people’s highlight reel with our day-to-day grind. We too have a highlight reel, we should appreciate those moments and be grateful that we had them, particularly in our bad times.
Eight: Look at Others for Inspiration
We can look to those who have more than us as a source of inspiration. Have the attitude – ‘if they can do it, so can I!’
We often look at others, just wishing we could have what they have. We succumb to the idea that it’s for ‘those kind of people’, not for us. As if there is something so different about others that we can’t achieve the same.
Yes it is true that they may come from a different background, or perhaps they had certain opportunities that we haven’t had, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t something there for us too.
They are human, just like us. They have talents, skills and drive just like us. We all have the same motivation to make our lives better. Our paths and journey will be different but the things we see others have are achievable for us all.
Nine: Focus on your Journey
Be content with your journey toward the things you want. Let go of the time it might take you, or how many things have to change in order for you to have it. It will come to you when it is meant for you.
A lot of the time we focus on the end goal. We just really want that promotion, the higher salary, the dream house, the most loving relationship and look at others and see how ‘easy’ it is for them. It’s because we aren’t aware of the journey. We don’t see what the road actually looked like getting there.
If we focus on our own journey, we would realise that wanting something is one story but becoming the person you need to be in order to receive it is another.
Ten: Remember that all things are a Gift
All things are blessings and gifts from God. Just like God gave you all that you have, He gave others what they have and that is His decree. That is what is meant to be.
When we learn to want what God wants for us, we find peace.
Sometimes, not having the things we want is a gift. Allah knows if this thing will be good for us or if it will destroy us. Often it’s in ways we aren’t able to comprehend because we don’t have the foresight, we don’t know all things. But Allah knows and in Him we trust and find happiness in all that He has given us.
All that you want is already within you. Reflect, know yourself and create the best version of you and the life that you want.