The Game of Comparison

As a collective, humans are obsessed with playing the game of comparison. She’s fitter than me – He makes more money than I do – She’s wearing a cuter outfit than I am – He drives a nicer car than I do… You get my point! But really, who cares? No one should, but everyone does. Everyone compares their life to the lives of others. And usually (not always), this leads to judgement. You judge your life as inadequate. You feel like you’re not doing enough, think you should have more, or be someplace (any place) other than where you are. But that’s not true. You’re exactly where you are meant to be. And you shouldn’t care what anyone thinks about it. Caring about what others think about you takes your attention away from yourself. You’re devaluing your life and all you have worked so hard to accomplish.

Comparison is often described as the thief of joy. But I’ll take it a bit further and say you are the robber committing the crime. No one compares you to anyone except yourself. It really is just as easy as stopping your participation in the game. Develop a “who cares” attitude and have fun being you doing what you love most. That’s what matters!

No one’s opinion matters but your own. What others think of you is none of your business. I can guarantee you have better ways to spend your time than worrying about what someone else thinks of you. Playing the game of comparison will cause you to feel miserable. There are always going to be things you are better at than others and vice versa. That’s what makes the world so beautifully diverse. If you were meant to do the same as someone else or have a particular thing, then you would. But you don’t because you are where you’re meant to be and have exactly what you do. Those are the things and life experiences meant for you. Be grateful for them.

Comparison of course can go the other way too. I have a nicer home than my neighbor – I got a bigger bonus than she did – I work harder than he does – My kids are better behaved than theirs… insert whatever phrase most appropriate, but it’s all comparison. This is also dangerous territory. This is judging someone else’s lifestyle or life occurrences as bad. You’re using their life to make yourself feel more adequate. But you aren’t living their life and you don’t know what their hopes and dreams are or what challenges they’ve faced. The lifestyle they are living and the life occurrences they are experiencing could be exactly what they desire. Who are you to judge what they have or how they live their life? Don’t take pleasure in others’ pain or knock others down to make yourself feel better. And certainly, don’t pass judgement. They too are exactly where they are meant to be and experiencing what they are meant to. You’re not living their story.

However, a little comparison can be healthy when used for personal motivation. This doesn’t mean you are comparing yourself to others though. You are comparing yourself today to who you were yesterday. This drives you to grow and expand to become the best version of yourself. This is not only an acceptable type of comparison, but a highly encouraged type for everyone to practice. It’s a way of self-reflecting. You’re growing and expanding in your personal growth, striving to be better than you were and that’s perfect. Everyone has the right to learn and do better.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to just do you and allow all the other pieces to fall where they may. Be ok with who you are and the choices you make. Focus on the qualities you value in yourself, celebrate your successes and above everything be self-aware enough to know when it’s time to quit the game of comparison. This is the one time it’s ok to be a quitter.