Making unfair comparisons is something I do a lot. I compare how I would act to what somebody else does. I compare what responses I expected from others to what I actually got. Worst of all – and I know I’m not alone in this – I compare how I look to everybody else. All of these things only ever cause me trouble.
Today, my brain is playing ball and we’re on the same page. We are rational. Anxiety is about a 3 out of 10. Tomorrow could be a different story. So, while my brain is being reasonable and not tormenting me, it seems a good opportunity to write down some logical thoughts for whenever I need them next.
What exactly do I mean by “making unfair comparisons”?
Comparing yourself is usually a recipe for disaster, but sometimes, it can drive you forward. When you see how well someone else is doing, it can motivate you and give you a desire to replicate their success.
However, there is a particular type of comparison which we all do and don’t necessarily take notice of and it’s this one which I think causes the most distress. What is it? It’s comparing ourselves to people who are not like us. The playing field is not equal. They have some sort of advantage, yet we’re still scrambling to get on their level.
For example, I regularly wander around and look at people and think how nice they look. Their hair is gorgeous and their makeup is flawless. They look great, and I feel like a bin bag in comparison.
Hold on a minute, though. I don’t wear makeup. I never have. Despite that, or maybe even because of that, my skin is (usually) in great condition. That’s something I should celebrate. But, I don’t. Instead, I tear myself apart wondering why I’m not “pretty.” How would I look if I did wear makeup? Possibly completely different, but I’d feel even stranger than I do now because it’s not me. So, how is it fair to compare me to somebody else when we’re not the same?
As far as my hair is concerned, I have other things to do with my time, so I’ll give it a quick brush and that’s as exciting as it gets. Maybe if I put a bit more effort in, I’d live up to the standard I’m striving for, but that would also probably mean getting up earlier and no, thank you.
We do this with celebrities, too. We’re envious of their lives, their style, their cars and their homes. The truth is, if we had the kind of money they do, we’d be able to have the same things. Sadly, we don’t. It doesn’t mean we never will. It does mean, though, that getting caught up in it and letting it make you feel bad about yourself is unfair.
Making unfair comparisons on social media
I have caught myself doing this lately. Scrolling through Instagram, I’ve found myself desperate for the adventures everyone else seems to be having. They’re in gorgeous locations, with beautiful blue seas and sandy beaches while I’m sat in my room, staring at a screen.
I’m not going to launch into a rant about people pretending their lives are perfect online because that’s not what this post is about. It’s about the fact I have to remind myself of two things:
- I’m not in a good place mentally, and travelling would be difficult under these circumstances.
- Due to the aforementioned poorly brain, I had to leave work so a holiday isn’t a luxury I can afford right now.
I’m not at the same place in my life as these people are. I’m sure they deserve it. Most people have to work hard to pay for their holidays! Eventually, I’ll be in a better place, both mentally and financially, and I’ll go on my own exciting trips.
Making unfair comparisons in the blogging world
Thankfully, I haven’t fallen into this trap yet. There are plenty of other bloggers who I admire and who motivate me every day. When I see people doing well, it makes me really happy, regardless of whether they’ve just started or are three years into their blogging life.
On the other hand, quite often, I get people telling me they’ve been blogging longer than I have and have not achieved the same success. They don’t seem to take into account the fact I do this full time, while they’re working full time, blogging and sometimes raising a family. Trust me, if I was trying to juggle this alongside work or parenting or anything else, I’d probably only ever update once a month. I’m the type of person who takes one thing, focuses on it and gives it my all. If you throw something else into the mix, I don’t do quite so well.
All bloggers do this and I’m sure there will come a time when I will do it, too. We either look at people who have been doing it longer than us and lust after their success or fixate on their achievements without keeping it in perspective. I have done well in two months, I’ll admit that, and I’m proud of it. But these two months have been intense. My two months of blogging full time is probably equivalent to six months of blogging alongside other things. If you think of it like that, does it still seem as crazy?
What’s the result of making unfair comparisons?
Well, a few things happen.
- Your relationships become strained because of jealousy. This is what unfair comparisons often bring out in you: the green-eyed monster. That little terror is only ever going to drive people away. People who I otherwise would have supported and encouraged with their blogs have attacked me about my progress, which has caused me to put them at arm’s length or block them completely.
- You become miserable. We’re talking wallowing in self-pity, sobbing into a tub of ice cream and wondering why life is so unfair kind of miserable. That’s the truth of it. It brings nothing to your life except unhappiness. That, in itself, should be enough to make us stop but most of us have been doing it for so long, we don’t know how. Next time you catch yourself doing it, I want you to consider the differences between you and the other person. Try to regain perspective.
- You stop yourself from making any progress. While you’re occupying yourself with what everyone else is doing, you’re using time which could be put into improving your own life. Some of the things people have achieved are through hard work. They made it happen, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same.