Stop Comparing Your Life to Others and Start Loving Yourself [Confessions of a Twenty-Something]
I am obsessed with blogs. I follow fashion blogs, food blogs, wedding blogs (wishful thinking, obvi), and mommy blogs. I even have my own blog. I just love reading about other people’s lives and getting advice on how to style my house, clothes and life! But here’s the downside to reading so many blogs (if you’re anything like me): you’ll be envious.
I read posts about a blogger’s amazing vacation to Italy with her hot husband and adorable child, and I’m just like, “HOW?” I looked through photos of a woman’s amazing Victorian house with TWO wrap around porches and I am just like, “UGH!” I hate-read until I could not hate read anymore. I scrolled and clicked and read these blogs, wishing that my life could be how theirs appear to be. These blogs are supposed to be helpful and entertaining. They’re not supposed to make me hate my life and wish I could afford a $400 dollar dress.
I would just scroll and scroll and scroll and feel worse and worse and worse. I compared my life to these people’s lives and felt unsatisfied. I felt inadequate. My inner monologue was pretty depressing. “I could never make my wedding that beautiful.” “I could never pull off that hairstyle.” “My kids will never be that adorable.” It was completely self-destructive!
Once I realized that I was comparing my life to strangers who write blogs, I began to see that I do this with the people in my life as well. I was constantly comparing my life to that of those closest to me. I was envious of my friend’s jobs, my sister’s financial stability, my Facebook friend’s happy photos of their exciting lives. As each person got a promotion, an engagement, went on a vacation — I just began to spiral. I thought to myself, why can’t I be like that? Will I ever be that happy? I just compared and contrasted myself against all these different things until I fell into a negative funk that I could not get out of.
Why was I so set on comparing my life to others? Why couldn’t I be content and happy in my own skin? With my own life? The joy was being sucked out of me because I was reading some damn blogs. Enough was enough. I realized that the constant comparison was going to get me nowhere.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
When we constantly size ourselves up against others, we leave room for disappointment. We take the joy away from our lives. We lose our inner peace. We leave room for self-criticism and judgment. We wish we were at talented as our friend, as skinny as our coworker, and as put together as our neighbor, and with each wish of being better, we tear ourselves down. We take away our happy. We get pulled into this vortex, falling and swirling around with negative thoughts and self-loathing.
We have to stop comparing and start realizing that life is just apples and oranges. We all have different strength and weaknesses. We’re all made up of different flaws and qualities and talents. Some things we’re amazing at, and some things we totally suck at. You might have amazing hair and your BFF has wild, frizzy hair. She may have a killer singing voice and you can’t carry a tune. We all succeed and struggle in different areas. We all have problems. We’ve all got flaws. They’re just different from someone else’s, and that’s okay!
The true key to stop comparing is to just love instead. Instead of being envious or getting down on yourself, just love them and love yourself. Be happy for the lady with the amazing Victorian house. Be happy for yourself that you too have a great home to live in. When you start to get on that comparison kick, when you start believing someone is better than you, more beautiful than you, smarter than you, funnier than you, or more put together than you, just stop. Send love. Send positive thoughts to them and to yourself. The more you love yourself, the less you’re going to compare yourself to others and feel crappy in the process.
So take that anxiety, that fear, those thoughts that rustle around in your head and tell you you’re not good enough and shake them off. Remember that you’re awesome and beautiful. Look in the mirror and repeat after me, “I am special. I am beautiful. I have great qualities that make me worthwhile. I am lovable. No one can offer the world exactly what I possess. I am cool chick/dude. I am me.” Smile. Breathe. Repeat. There will be no need to compare yourself to others when you’re happy and content with yourself.
Katie recently finished her undergrad at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enjoys wasting hours on Facebook and tweeting things no one cares about. When asked the question, “Do you do marathons?” She promptly responds, “Of course! Which show?” Follow her @KatieGarrity! Or read her personal blog where she talks incessantly about Ryan Gosling and hummus here!