Chances are you’ve compared yourself to someone else before. Maybe you simply glanced at someone’s house, their wardrobe, or maybe their job and immediately starting drawing conclusions. According to research, people have a natural tendency to make “downward” or “upward” comparisons between others and themselves, and since the internet age began and social media became prevalent in everyday life, our lives began to circle around posts made by friends and acquaintances. This makes it easier to mentally measure and assess ourselves as human beings, daily or even hourly.
According to Aaron Hill, Ph.D., this isn't good for mental health. “Comparing establishes your own worth by whether or not you feel better or worse than others,” says Hill, co-author of The Circle Blueprint: Decoding the Conscious and Unconscious Factors that Determine Your Success. “It's an unhealthy waste of time that undermines your ability to reach your full potential. And it's a widespread problem. But most people who engage in comparing themselves to others don't realize how damaging it really can be.”
Hill cites a number of reasons why comparing yourself to others is more than just damaging to mental health, it can be dangerous. For example comparing ourselves “upward” diminishes our self-confidence and will progressively make us unhappy. There will always be someone posting pictures we think are prettier or more handsome than ours, or extravagant vacation photos, but that’s not an accurate portrayal of their reality. The amount of time that we fret over their accomplished lives we could be using to enhance our own. Hill reminds people to make sure they're not giving others more credit than they truly deserve, because chances are their day-to-day lives aren’t reflected in what their social media accounts portray.
Comparing your life “downward” makes you become egotistical. It might make you feel smarter or more accomplished for a period of time, but you’re overlooking the wonderful gifts others have that you don’t. This often happens at the in the workplace or in the office. Judging others faults and viewing them as “lesser than” will make you give yourself too much credit even though the other person has plenty to offer.
Often times, comparisons are highly inaccurate. At the end of the day, we don’t know someone else's whole story. Before you make judgements on what someone posts on Facebook or Twitter, remember that you truly don’t know what it’s like to place yourself in their shoes. “You allow those comparisons to detrimentally affect your performance and your life suffers, all based on false facts,” says Hill.
Luckily there are things Hill suggests doing to end the comparisons and start living independent and autonomous lives. Here are five steps to ending comparisons and bettering mental health:
- Note how often you compare yourself with others. Take out a notepad or keep tabs on your phone to see how many times a day you compare yourself to someone else.
- Take notice of whether you’re thinking “downward” or “upward” towards someone.
- Reduce your comparisons. Before you start thinking negatively, stop yourself and remember that it’s not healthy.
- Treat everyone that you come in contact with with respect. Try to be polite, and like your mother said, "treat others the way you want to be treated." Simplt greeting someone with a smile and being pleasant can go a long way.
- Think about how you truly feel. As soon as you stop comparing yourself with others, you’ll immediately feel a heightened sense of independency and feel better as a person overall.
The Circle Blueprint Decoding the Conscious and Unconscious Factors that Determine Your Success is a part of the a larger self-improvement program called The Circle Blueprint System. The book, written Hill, Greg Miller, Ph.D., and Jack Skeen, Ph.D., includes workbooks and confidential, scientifically proven data on the psychometrics of self-assessment. It’s also available worldwide and on major booksellers online.
“It's time to stop worrying about who has more Facebook friends, who's got the bigger paycheck, or who has the greatest house,” says Hill. “In the end, knowing who has more or less than we do accomplishes nothing. Instead, we should all focus our attention on becoming better versions of ourselves—because that's the true measure of success.”
If you’re interested in learning more, visit the official website here.