Making unfair comparisons and how it affects your life

Making unfair comparisons and how it affects your life

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:

  1. I’m not in a good place mentally, and travelling would be difficult under these circumstances.
  2. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Making unfair comparisons and how it affects your life

 

43 Comments

  1. 11th July 2018 / 11:06 am

    I wasn’t literally just having the exact same conversation with one of my good friends as I’m really struggling with feeling inadequate and like I’m not good enough lately – but this is an amazing post and thank you for being so open with us at all times. 💞

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:48 am

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling. For what it’s worth, I think you’re brilliant and you most certainly are good enough!

  2. 11th July 2018 / 11:11 am

    This is all so true! I do my absolute best to not get stuck in the comparison rut. I just try to trust that I am where I am in my journey atm for a reason, I try to trust the process! It usually keeps me on my own track.

    Lovely read, very thought provoking ❤ xxx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:48 am

      That’s the best way to be! I don’t think anybody is immune to it but the best we can do is focus on our own path.

  3. 11th July 2018 / 11:23 am

    I love this. It’s so easy to let yourself fall into the trap of making unfair comparisons without really realising the damage you’re doing, and so hard to take a step back and look at what you’re really doing to yourself!

    Cordelia || cordeliamoor.squarespace.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:49 am

      Absolutely! I think it’s only through discussing it with my counsellor that I’ve started to realise all the harm I’ve done over the years.

  4. 11th July 2018 / 11:41 am

    Just scrolling in my twitter and saw this wonderful post 🙌 (sorry if I’m being irritating). I think nobody is immune to this and all we can do is prevent it from consuming us whole. And I can totally relate to u about ‘how the way I look’. I hate mirrors and if I need to use one it will like be a snap (jiffy). Yeah, their is a big difference in admiring and comparing. Kudos to u!

    PS. Again hope you recover and be stronger 🙌.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:50 am

      You’re never irritating! I’m sorry to hear you struggle with it, too, because I know how hard it can be, especially those days when you have to do a fly by look in the mirror because you don’t feel up to looking at yourself. I hope, one day, we can both celebrate ourselves, flaws and all!

  5. 11th July 2018 / 12:47 pm

    It’s easy to say don’t compare yourself to other people but I think as humans we do it as second nature. No ones life is perfect and in the online world sometimes all you see is a moment. A photograph. You have no idea what’s going on around the photo. In my world – the kids are screaming and running around being heathens. My partner is probably moaning that he wants an ice cream and the kids are being nosy and I’m probably giving he hugest if sighs and trying to explain I’m trying to take that one photo. You know the one which will make my life look fabulous and Instagram will explode and bow on its knees before me…you’re amazing just the way you are. I don’t think I’ve come across anyone as supportive yet but you burn yourself out and forget you’re important too. Sending welsh hugs Ruth x

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 1:06 pm

      Very, very true! I’m generally very good at keeping things in perspective when it comes to social media but when I’m out and about, not so much. I’m working on it, though. Thank you so much 🙂 x

  6. 11th July 2018 / 12:58 pm

    Wonderful post! Making such comparisons is really an ingredient for a disaster but sometimes it’s difficult not to. Whenever I feel like I’m comparing myself to others who have an advantage over me, I try not think about it too much and focus on other things that would benefit me.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 1:07 pm

      It is very difficult not to, and I don’t think there’s any way we can avoid it completely but I’m glad you don’t think about it too much. The main thing is that people don’t let it hold them back or put them in a dark place, which is what I’ve been known to do. I’ll get better, though. 🙂

  7. 11th July 2018 / 6:13 pm

    I have on my list of posts to write one about how I stopped measuring myself against others standards so this was a good read for me.
    I feel like it’s such a hard thing to do when we have become a society who so openly play out our perfect moments and censor the hardships but comparing myself was starting to make me bitter and petty “why had the world cursed me with this nose!?” When I started getting bitter and petty about our infertility I knew I had to take action I’d started complaining to myself “why do they have a kid and I don’t its not fair I deserve a kid” thats when I realised I didnt like myself anymore and it needed to stop.

    Sorry I’m rambling now!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 6:18 pm

      Exactly – I think that’s one of the reasons I kind of “live life out loud”, but all of it. Good, bad, ugly, so that people know what they get is real. Also, I kind of understand what you mean – there have been times when it’s made me feel angry and bitter as well, and as you say, that’s when you know you’ve got to take a look at things.

      • 12th July 2018 / 6:53 pm

        It’s the bests way to be then people know what they can expect from you and you can be happy knowing you are doing you.
        I think for me it hit me hard when I thought “I deserve more” in a whiny voice – the other part of me finally spoke out like “Girl this is not you! Get your sh*t together because tbis is making you iller”

  8. 11th July 2018 / 9:04 pm

    I’m pretty sure I speak for every woman around the world when I say you’re so not alone in this! I’ve struggled my whole life with comparing myself. You’ve made some really important points here and it’s so fab that you’ve been able to be honest about your struggles. We live in a world where we’re bombarded with the fact that we should be the same as these people who have been airbrushed and altered and who have no budget. Social media is hard to get sucked into too so thanks for sharing that with us. I know you started this post saying it was for you to read back on a bad day but I love how relatable this post is! You’re a fabulous writer!

    Lots of love,
    Molly xo

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:01 pm

      Oh, I definitely know it’s a common thing, unfortunately! I hope we can all learn to love ourselves, for who we are. I mean, you, in particular, are absolutely lovely the way you are, just so you know! Thank you so much, Molly! I really appreciate that. 🙂

  9. 11th July 2018 / 9:25 pm

    I love this. I’m guilty of comparing myself sometimes for sure but try to remind myself often not to. It’s number 1 on my list for having a Happy summer in my latest post purely because it was something I’ve been doing lately and I needed to remind myself just as much as point it out to my readers

    😀

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:02 pm

      Definitely – I think we’re all bound to fall into the trap from time to time, just don’t let it keep you down! 🙂

  10. 12th July 2018 / 2:18 am

    Another great post, Ruth! I love your awesome 3 Things graphic, too. I use Canva for my graphics, but yours looks like it has more options. Do you mind sharing what you used to make your graphic? Thanks!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      12th July 2018 / 8:32 am

      Thank you. I used Canva, too, Cindy! 🙂 Just had a good look through the templates.

  11. 12th July 2018 / 7:58 am

    This is so well written Ruth and perfectly said. It’s so easy to compare ourselves especially in the blogging world and on social media when we always see the highlights and best bits of people’s lives. I totally agree that everyone’s situation is different so its impossible to accurately compare. This is such a relatable post, thank you for sharing! 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      12th July 2018 / 8:33 am

      Aww, thank you, Bexa! 🙂 Your comments always make me smile. x

  12. 12th July 2018 / 10:33 am

    This post came at such a good time for me, Ruth. I’m really struggling to keep on top of things ATM: end of term, household stuff, my garden, blogging. It’s so true that when you look online in particular, other people seem to be able to manage their lives much better, but I shouldn’t compare because I don’t know how much help they might have. You have done phenomenally well and I’m in awe of what you’ve achieved in such a short time – but thank you for being upfront about how much time it takes! Fab post, as always xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      12th July 2018 / 10:37 am

      Thank you so much, Lisa! For what it’s worth, I think you’re amazing. As I mentioned in the post, I’m pretty hopeless at doing more than one thing, so the fact you’ve got all that on your plate (and I’m sure doing a great job with it all) is amazing!! You shouldn’t sell yourself short because you seem like a wonderful and talented person. Things might be hectic right now, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. I can barely keep on top of blogging and cleaning my flat 😉 x

  13. 12th July 2018 / 11:16 am

    Omg, I totally needed to see this blog post. I was getting a little sad about my blog but your right it’s not best to compare to others. I am super proud of how far my blog has come. I will look forward with my own progress for sure

    ( love the new blog theme by the way 🙂 )
    Melissa 🐝 |

    Moonlight Mel

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      12th July 2018 / 12:17 pm

      Aww, I think you’re doing great, lovely! It’s an easy trap to fall into, but always try and look at how far you’ve come before getting lost in how far everyone else has got!

  14. 12th July 2018 / 3:00 pm

    I think when it comes to making comparisons in our personal life, we have to really remember to tell ourselves that we are all different, with different styles. I constantly wished I could be the person that always walks out of the house with nice clothes on, but even if I tried to buy new clothes to do this, I always ended up in jeans and baggy jumpers – because that is just me. We can admire other people being great, but we have to remember at the end of the day we can force ourselves to be them, just because we admire something they do/have that we don’t. We are our own person, and we do/have something that they don’t, and that suits us, that is part of our personality and there is no need to change who you are.

    I had this conversation with myself last week when I was out shopping with my boyfriend, and I was looking at men’s shirts and I was worried about buying it because it wasn’t part of the preppy, well-put together look that I was going for. And he reminded me that, yeah, people might not like that look, even he doesn’t like that “look” on paper, but that was MY look. And he had to admit that it suited me, because it WAS me, and he loved that. Stay true to yourself and compare yourself to nobody else, don’t wish to be anybody else, because no matter how different or weird you think you are, people will love you for it because it is “so you”.

    Beka | http://www.bekadaisies.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      12th July 2018 / 5:00 pm

      Ohhhh, I love this comment so much!! Thank you for taking the time to leave it, because it really is such an amazing response.

      You’re absolutely right, though. I do think it’s possible to get there by yourself, but I think it really makes a difference when you find that partner who feels that way as well. There are things I do sometimes, in an effort to be something I’m not, and my boyfriend will outright say “that’s not you”, and I love him for it. Also, I think the people worth having in your life are the people who love you as you are. I could change myself a million ways, but I’d probably find myself in crowds where I didn’t feel comfortable.

  15. 12th July 2018 / 3:38 pm

    This post is great! Everything you said is true. Any kind of comparison is not good. Everyone is different. Everyone want different things. We should always read and understand our own situation, and compare growth in terms of our own past, rather than someone else’s present. I think blogging in itself is a great achievement. Doesn’t matter how many followers you have 10 or 10,000. It takes bravery to put yourself out there. So doesn’t matter what others are doing. What should matter is, are we working for what we want? That’s it.

    Thanks for reminding everyone that comparison is not good for health! lol.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      12th July 2018 / 5:01 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting. What you have said is very true – blogging is a big thing to do and anyone who is willing to put themselves out there should be proud of it. 🙂

  16. 13th July 2018 / 8:02 am

    Another amazing and important post – social media in particular puts so much pressure on us; we have to look a certain way, have a certain amount of followers, and it’s easy to forget who we really are in the midst of it all. I’m definitely guilty of comparing myself to others and what I see online, and feel awful because of it. It’s just important to remember that everyone’s different, people go about their lives in different ways and we shouldn’t think we’re not good enough because of it. I agree that it can definitely hinder our progress, but we should all be proud of our achievements! Loved this! X

    Evie x | https://eviejayne.co.uk

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 8:59 am

      Aww, thank you so much! You’re right, although it can be hard to remember that, especially when you’re online. I’ve found the best way to get things back in perspective is to take a step away from social media – even if it’s only for a few hours – so I can focus on what I’ve got going on, rather than scrolling through things which may or may not make me feel bad!

  17. 14th July 2018 / 3:22 pm

    I try so hard not to compare myself to others, but sometimes it can be so difficult and you’re right.. it does make you miserable. I think we just have to try to embrace our uniqueness, which is something that is so tricky.. and extremely hard to do when you’re insecure like me.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 5:38 pm

      I know that feeling! But I’m sure you bring a lot of qualities to the people in your life, as well as the world in general. 😊

  18. 15th July 2018 / 5:58 am

    The comparison game can be deadly to anyone mental health. We went on socmed and see so many pretty people with flawless skin and perfect life and unconsciously we keep comparing us vs them. That’s why I try my best to not scrolling my phone too much especially on IG.

    x Rasya

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      15th July 2018 / 9:28 am

      Yeah, Instagram can be difficult, especially if you’re already not feeling great that day. Take care of yourself!

  19. 16th July 2018 / 8:51 am

    This is such a beautifully honest and important post – thank you so much, Ruth. I needed to hear these words as comparison is something I’m hugely vulnerable to. You’re incredible and you’re really making a difference to the lives of so many of us.

    Nati x | http://www.curatedbynati.com | @curatedbynati

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      16th July 2018 / 9:35 am

      Aww, you are just so lovely, Nati! 🙂 I’m glad my post could help you.

  20. 21st July 2018 / 8:39 pm

    This is nothing but the truth. It’s funny how we always are not enough with just being, that we extend ourselves to living other people’s lives by comparison. I love it.

  21. 27th July 2018 / 3:04 pm

    You nailed it. The comparison should be against ourselves. Me getting better than I was yesterday. Improving myself. Comparing myself to others do no good. Thank you for putting this post together. Every blogger should read it. 💜

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      27th July 2018 / 5:19 pm

      Aw thank you! 🙂

  22. 28th July 2018 / 4:59 am

    Great piece, Ruth. This is definitely a weak point of mine, hah. You’re right about what happens with this train of thought, I’ve been there!

    Excellently written. Thanks a tonne for the food for thought.

    -Bull…

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