Constant comparison will eventually lead to self-doubt and a diminished identity simply because it is not a healthy habit to do so. While comparison can be a valuable source of motivation and growth, it can also turn us into a tail-chasing frenzy of self-doubt. Much of this self-doubt comes from our regular striving to be better. According to a social comparison theory, we do this in an attempt to create an accurate evaluation of ourselves. With the impact of social media that gives us access to continuous things upon which to compare, it is very difficult not to be a victim of this bad habit which may worsen in the long run. Comparison is a lifelong habit grounded in inferiority and based on a need for approval from the people around us.
Here, we will be citing the very reasons why you should stop comparing yourself to others.
- It is damaging to yourself: According to research, comparing breeds feelings of envy, low self-esteem and confidence, and depression. It compromises our ability to trust others. On the other hand, although ‘downward comparison’ or the act of comparing ourselves to those less fortunate can provide some benefit to our sense of self, even this comes with a price. It actually requires that we take pleasure in someone else’s lack of success or misfortune in order to feel superior which will eventually ignite mean-spirited competitiveness versus collaboration; even jealousy against connection. The worst case is when comparing has led us to devalue ourselves or other important people around us.
- The thing we are comparing against is inaccurate information: With the influence of social media, what we present to the outside world is usually the edited versions of reality. According to a recent study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, it was confirmed that people are less likely to reveal their negative emotions than their positive emotions. Moreover, the study found that people tend to overestimate the presence of positivity in the lives of others, while they misinterpret or fail to detect negative feelings in others. So not only is what’s being delivered an incomplete picture, we tend to distort the information we do receive — a double whammy. As Steve Furtick explains, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
- It never really helps in accomplishing goals: Contemplating about how someone else looks better than us, has more friends, is more famous, or is more successful than us is a waste of time and ineffective. We should stop being hard to ourselves. If we really want to live a life that feels fulfilling, we should dedicate our time and energy to our own values. Focus on the right track. The next time we find ourselves comparing to someone else, we should learn how to stop and ask ourselves if it is really fair to compare when we don’t even have all of the information.
The thing here is, we will never completely get rid of self-doubt, and we shouldn’t try to. Although these feelings can be good for us, they can ignite in us a drive to improve, to get better, and grow a little bit each day; we should always keep in mind when to stop and move on.