Don’t lie. You know you do it. We all do it. One way or another, we all measure our “okay-ness” by comparing ourselves against other people. It’s human nature. And, lucky us, we all just so happen to live in a time when it’s never been easier to know every detail about every person we’ve ever known in our entire lives. We know every time someone gets a new job. Or a new car. We know when someone loses ten pounds and when they buy the latest and greatest gadget. We see all the new babies. All the stylish clothes and new houses. All the vacations and fancy dinners and perfect living rooms. In this social dynamic it’s nearly impossible not to compare yourself to others. But as I get older and wiser the sheer insanity of it becomes more and more clear. Allow me to share three reasons why I think comparing yourself to others is totally ridiculous.
People are editing
So on the left is a picture I shared recently to celebrate our completed bookshelves. It’s clean and bright and you can see all my festive summer decor. Pretty, right? But have yourself a look at the picture on the right. Because that’s what the rest of that room usually looks like. Behold the laundry basket needing to be carried upstairs. Observe the random crap all over the coffee table. And look! Rapunzel (the dog) dug something out of the trash and shredded it all over the floor. Yay…
You see where I’m going with this? Editing.
Confession? Clean houses are my mega-trigger. I am forever pouring over social media posts in total awe of how beautiful other people’s homes look inside. How are they doing this? Don’t they have kids too? How are they this organized?! I suuuuuuuck!
But… why do I assume that I am the only one strategically posting photos that hide all the crap zones of my house? Surely I’m not. Surely I am comparing my very real, raw, messiest-day house to someone else’s edited house.
All I’m trying to say is that more often than not we’re comparing our worst days with someone else’s edited reality. And I think we all know it, too. Which is why comparing yourself to others is so absurd.
Other people are busy comparing themselves to you.
And so it goes, around and around in a stupid circle, forever and ever and ever. Maybe today someone on my Instagram feed is wearing the most adorable, perfectly together outfit ever and I’m sitting here like Frumpy Franny with my spit-up covered tank and my stretched out yoga pants. The next thing you know I am beating myself up for not having a better fashion sense and for not trying harder to look pretty. Bla, bla, bla. But for all I know this well-dressed fashionista was looking at my messy mom posts yesterday feeling resentful and pissy because she can’t afford to quit her job to stay home with her kids even though that’s what she wants to do.
I compare myself to her, she compares herself to me. You compare yourself to them, they compare themselves to you. And on and on it goes.
You wonder… Am I keeping up? But, spoiler alert, people are looking at you and wondering the same thing about themselves.
People. Seriously? How can we continue to to measure our worthiness against people who are themselves measuring their worthiness against us? That doesn’t make any sense! We’re chasing smoke and shadows.
People are unique and have unique circumstances.
Comparing yourself to others is ridiculous because other people are living a life that has nothing to do with you. I repeat, NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. Your life is yours and their life is theirs.
Maybe you know someone who goes on several vacations a year and you are all side-eyeing them because how can they possibly afford that? Well, maybe they can afford it because they aren’t replacing major appliances this year. Maybe they don’t have expensive yard work ahead of them. Maybe they didn’t have a raccoon tear open their roof and move into their attic and do 5,000 dollars worth of damage making himself a poop den out of their insulation… (yes, that one really did happen to us!)
Okay, yes. I’m pouting over the fact that we have decided to be STUPID GROWN UPS instead of going on a vacation this year…
But the point is this: the happy and fun things that other people are doing do not take away from the happy and fun things that are happening in your own life. Another person’s success doesn’t take anything away from you and your own accomplishments. IT REALLY DOESN’T!!! And you know what? I’m sure you’ve learned this by now but life isn’t always fair. Some people are going to be up while you are down. You can’t compare your downs to someone else’s ups. And when you are focused on someone else’s blessings you end up missing out on your own.
So there you go. Comparing yourself to others is totally ridiculous. It’s illogical. It’s silly. And it’s harmful.
Let’s not be ridiculous.
Recommended reading: I’m Happy for You (Sort of…Not Really) by Kay Wills Wyma. So hilarious and very insightful!