How Comparing Yourself to Others Fuels Your Unhappiness

Do you ever get that sinking feeling when you compare yourself to other people? Perhaps when following a celebrity’s latest holiday snaps on Instagram or an acquaintance who always looks immaculate (and then I glance down and I’m in my uniform of leggings and trainers, usually covered in dog fur and occasionally an extra touch of smoothie stain on my top). Doh!

I used to compare myself to others all the time. Part of me thought it was a good thing because it spurred me on and encouraged me to set goals and strive for more in my life.

It took me a long while to realise that comparison actually does the complete opposite and that it is in fact the thief of joy – lowering my vibration and making me feel extremely unhappy.

Very often, when we’re comparing ourselves to others, we get caught up in thinking, “when I have all that too, THEN I’ll be happy”.

When I have that wonderful partner

That well paying job

That wedding proposal

A beautiful baby

A perfect body

That lifestyle …

THEN I’ll be happy.

This way of thinking keeps us in a constant cycle of thinking that what we have now is not enough and that our life is somehow imperfect.

It keeps us chasing happiness because of course, once we have that one thing (e.g. the wonderful partner), we soon want the next thing (e.g. the wedding proposal). And trust me beauty, after that, there’d be something else.

It takes us away from the present and diverts our attention from all the goodness that already exists in our lives, right now.

I’d love for you to spend a moment thinking about all the things you’re striving for in your life right now – all the things you want and all the things you’re desperately trying to bring to life.

Now, I want you to tap into how thinking about these things makes you feel.

Like I said, for many years I thought that comparison added something positive to my life because it made me feel motivated and driven. However, when I stopped to explore this further, I realised that what was bubbling away underneath this was fear, anxiety, inadequacy and dissatisfaction for what already existed in my life.

And that was not okay with me. That was not the kind of life I wanted to cultivate for myself.

So, what’s the antidote to comparison-itis? It’s taking a minute to count up all the things you’re thankful for – and there’s ALWAYS things to be thankful for!

Do it right now beauty. Shut down your eyes and list 10 things you’re thankful for in your life. They needn’t be “big” things – even appreciating something as simple as having access to fresh water (which we have a real tendency to take for granted!) has the potential to completely shift our energy.

Once you’re done, I want you to check in with yourself once again – how do you feel now? Did this gratitude practice cultivate a different feeling in you than when you focused your attention on all that you were striving for in your life? My guess is that it did. My guess is that you felt lighter and more joyful and expansive.

As well as all this, I want you to remember one very key point – rarely what we see on social media and even in the lives of people we know, is the whole truth. People tend to show us what they want us to see. We often don’t see their hurt and sacrifices or their unhappiness and hardships. Essentially, we’re comparing ourselves to people’s heavily edited versions of their lives!

Learning the hard way, life has taught me that the grass is not greener on the other side. It’s greener where we water it. 

And although there’s some things we don’t have control over in this crazy thing called life, we do have control over whether or not we choose to water our grass and how often.

I’d like to leave you with some simple, but profound words from the insightful Abraham Hicks…

“The reason you want every single thing you want, is because you think you will feel really good when you get there. But, if you don’t feel really good on your way to get there, you can’t get there. You have to be satisfied with what is while you’re reaching for more”.

In other words, if you spend all your time dreaming about the grass on the other side of the fence and feeling envious and unhappy in the present, you’re not going to be able to cultivate all that your heart is desiring and dreaming of.

Let me leave you with that. Enjoy letting go of comparison and adopting your attitude of gratitude beauty! It works for me, every time!

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