It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re heading to the store to pick up some much-needed groceries. In route to the store, you drive through the neighborhood two blocks down from your apartment. You take notice of the crisp lawns, limestone elevations, and premium wood fences. A casually dressed yet dapper middle-aged man waves as he waters his lawn.
You politely wave back and began to slow down as you approach the stop sign ahead. As you momentarily stop, as usual, so does the car. You had it since you’ve graduated high school and your well beyond college now. After pumping the gas pedal and doing the “come on Thelma!” ritual several times – Thelma finally starts and leaves behind her trademarked sputter of thin black smoke.
The grocery store is in sight and unsurprisingly packed with hundreds of others doing their Sunday shopping. As you creep into the pool of sharks also hunting for a parking spot you notice a young, clean-cut gentleman walking towards the store.
He looks back, aims his keys at his freshly washed foreign car, and presses the lock button. Toot-toot. You don’t have the time to gaze because you’re busy positioning your car behind a person backing out. Plus, the lady coming from the opposite direction pulled up without making eye contact and turned her signal on for the same spot you’re waiting on.
You think to yourself, “No way lady, I’ve circled around for the past …”
But that’s interrupted by the glare of her jewelry. The sheer size of her wedding ring and shimmer of facets sends you hurling into the deep intrusive thought “What am I doing with my life?” You internally mutter. That was followed with the so often asked “Am I not as accomplished as I thought?”
Yup, you have been struck by the comparison bug. The ideology of social status has cast itself into your personal life yet again and it caused you to question everything you’ve responsibly earned. Materialism has been pressed into our minds as a symbol of success and failure. The comparison bug sneaks up on us in the strangest of ways but our response to it can be damning in so many ways.
You lose sight of your purpose
While comparing yourself to others may create some drive to do more or better the problem is that we’re not created the same. Expecting to have, produce, or do what another person does will cause you to lose sight of your purpose. If your purpose was meant to be exactly like someone else why does society need two of you? There’s already one, and they seem to be doing it quite well.
It diminishes your satisfaction
Trying to live another person’s life will lead to your own misery. You are always going to find someone who is doing something better. The bar will continuously be raised for all the wrong reasons and your level of satisfaction with all that you have accomplished will diminish rapidly. The quickest way to spoil your accomplishments is to repeatedly one-up yourself based on someone else’s life.
Transforms personal growth into assimilation
Comparing yourself to others shifts the focus off you. It’s a diversion from your success and personal growth. You’re no longer working on truly improving you-you trying to be someone else. Don’t assimilate the very thing that makes you unique by jumping on a bandwagon society validates through cost, likes, and fame. It’s okay to be different because it’s one of the few ways to truly make a difference.
So, I close with this: When you’re struck by the comparison bug because we all are, ask yourself these questions: What purpose does this serve in my life? Will this cause me to devalue what I’ve accomplished? Am I doing this for me or for what others may think?
Focus your energy on the things that align with your beliefs and that are going to make you better as a person.