The comparison starts at an early age. Perhaps we wish we had the same toys as one of our friends or the backpack they have. As we grow older, this turns into comparing our appearances, grades, popularity, and successes to others. When you don’t make it a habit to avoid comparison, it can continue well into adulthood. You may find yourself comparing how much money you make to others or where you are in terms of relationships, education, or careers. Comparison is often referred to as “the thief of joy,” and this title is very accurate. Comparison causes you to look away from the good things in your life and focus on what you don’t have instead. If it is not addressed, comparison can lead to poor mental health and issues like anxiety and depression. The good news is that you can train yourself to stop this habit and focus on gratitude instead.
How Comparison Can Damage Mental Health
Everyone is on a different path in life, and everyone faces personal and unique challenges along the way. You may look at someone who has accomplished more than you in the professional world and wonder what you have done wrong. You might not know about the possible connections and assistance that individuals had to get to where they are at today that you may not have received. When you spend all your time wishing you had more or were at a different place in life, you are missing out on the current moment and forgetting to celebrate where you are at right now. This can lead to unnecessary stress, anxiety, and even unintentional resentment toward the person you are comparing yourself to.
Comparison and Social Media
In this day and age, much comparison occurs based on social media. There are many problems with this, but the biggest one is that so many people forget or do not realize that what people post on social media is the highlight of their life. They are sharing their successes, happy moments throughout their day, or good things that happen to them. They are likely not going to show the difficult times, the setbacks, the disappointments, or the relationship problems. While they may appear happy and smiling in their latest selfie, they could be struggling with private battles behind the scenes that we know nothing about. Thus, because social media does not paint a full and accurate picture of someone’s life, it is illogical to use it as a way of comparing ourselves to others.
Learning to Practice Gratitude
You may not yet be where you want to be in life, and that’s ok. It is good to have goals and dreams to look forward to and push yourself towards. However, it is also important to remember to celebrate where you are right now at this very moment. Learning to practice gratitude on a daily basis is incredibly important for fostering good mental health and having a more positive mindset. You can train yourself to practice gratitude on a daily basis. For starters, consider getting a journal and writing down at least three things that you’re grateful for each day before bed. This could include something good that happened to you during the day or something more simple like your family, friends, or even your health. On some days, this practice may be easier than others, and that is okay. By doing this before bed, you are more likely to go to bed with a grateful, positive mindset that can carry through to the next morning. When you start making a habit of practicing gratitude, you’ll find yourself doing it without having to think about it.
Another great way to practice gratitude is to take the time to celebrate the smaller successes in life. This could include getting a promotion, getting recognized for a project you completed, or reaching a certain goal you set for yourself. While it might not seem like a big deal to you, you worked hard to accomplish it, and you deserve to celebrate it. Don’t be afraid to share your successes with others and allow them to celebrate with you. You can also reward yourself in some way to mark your success.
It can be helpful to physically track your progress towards accomplishing a certain goal either by journaling or logging milestones on a digital platform. This way, on the more challenging days, you can always look back and see how far you’ve come. You may have accomplished much more than you even realized.
Comparison is a very easy habit to fall into and it can start at an early age. While it may start innocently enough, it can lead to problems like low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression when it carries through adulthood. Comparison is bad for your mental health because it takes your attention away from the good in yourself and instead causes you to focus on what you don’t have. The good news is that you can take steps toward breaking this habit. This includes recognizing that everyone is on their own path in life and social media typically depicts only the highlights and not the disappointments or setbacks. This also includes learning to practice gratitude on a daily basis. You can do this by celebrating your successes in life and reflecting on what you’re grateful for. At Achieve Concierge we can help you achieve great mental health. Call (619) 393-5871 today.