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We all know these people who at times can make us feel inadequate. Online they can be prolific. They talk about how much money they make. How many followers they have. Where they live. What car they drive. Normal things to talk about. I’m one of these people myself sometimes. I’m sure we ALL have times we are this person, whether we mean to be or not.
Some of these people may refer to themselves as influencers.I know some people hate this word but we are all influencers in our own way. Some of these people genuinely want to help others. Some lovely people share their amazing statistics when asked as a benchmark to what is possible online. I’m not having a dig at such people in this post.
When you see someone else online who is killing it, whether through hard work or good luck, it can feel almost impossible not to compare yourself to them. Today I want to talk to you about comparison syndrome. Something that myself and other people I know online have been known to suffer from.
I went away on holiday recently and while there I didn’t worry about what everyone else might be achieving while I was away. Instead I enjoyed a wonderful holiday with my family. I really feel that I’m combatting comparison syndrome now – it feels great! I just want to share a few thoughts on it all.
Comparison syndrome, or comparisonitis, is basically when you compare yourself to others to see where you come out. If the result is that you deem yourself to be ‘better’ or ‘higher’ than them then you might feel better. For a short while at least.
If you feel that someone is doing ‘better’ than you then you might feel down. Or a bit worthless. It may even trigger off depressive episodes. I want to tell you why all of that is a bloody big waste of time and that you CAN do better!
These are the ways that I have been working to combat comparison syndrome. I’ve mostly stopped caring about how I might be deemed to be doing, compared to others, and also no longer worrying if anyone else is comparing me to someone else either.
I’ve stopped worrying about whether my website is better than others, whether my social media is more popular or whether I’m earning more money than someone else. I almost never care about what other people are doing and this is what I’m doing to achieve that.
Are you trying your best already?
If the answer is yes then great. If not then instead of being bothered by the success of others try and push yourself a little more to achieve those things you’re jealous of. There are usually ways that we can improve ourselves financially, physically, mentally or emotionally.
When money is tight look to make more money or perhaps create a budget to help things go a little bit better. If you want to be a little healthier than work on this. Think about WHAT it is about someone else you’re actually a little envious of and then see if this is something that you can achieve for yourself by putting in the work.
If it feels like you’ve got an overwhelming amount of work to do then start with what helps you and your family. Don’t worry about money so much if you’re already making enough to get by. Instead look after your mental health and put yourself first for a change. Think about your family and loved ones. They are who will matter when the chips are down.
Ask yourself – are you a nice person?
I’ve made no secret of the fact I can be a bit bitchy at times. It is a flaw of mine but one that I’ve really worked on in recent years as I’ve strived to be happier.
I think more people could do with being honest about their flaws. We all have them.
What I have done to try and combat this in the last year is put myself in other people’s shoes. Maybe someone is being rude, or seems rude, because their own life isn’t going great.
Sometimes when someone is depressed they are blunt or abrupt. They probably don’t mean to be. Even IF they do, then excusing it away is a great way to stop these negative thoughts from interfering with my day.
You can’t change someone just by wanting them to change. Instead look at being a nicer person yourself. There are times in life when you have to suck it up and smile. Sometimes those times are frequent. You can also set your own boundaries and stop allowing yourself to be treated negatively.
I’m known for being honest, and blunt sometimes at times. I’ve tried to tone this down, just a little, to avoid hurting other people’s feelings unintentionally. Try and put yourself in the shoes of others. You rarely know the situations that others are going through and being kind really does cost you nothing.
Without knowing the financial or personal situations that others face it is easy to sit up in your ivory tower looking down on people. This is something that I personally have been ceasing the judgement on. It feels good.
I have been working on being a nicer person with my random acts of kindness campaign. Also, I am always looking out for those people around me. I send online friends little gifts to let them know I’m thinking of them in hard times and I donate to charity where I can too.
Even a message to someone can be a nice (free) way of letting them know you do care. If someone I know is having financial dire straits I’ll try and help – within reason. I’d rather be time rich and cash poor but sometimes you need to dedicate time too.
Ask yourself – am I comparing myself against people who are nice people? (AD)
In the past I’ve been known to compare myself against others. This can be a good thing. Sometimes it makes me strive to work harder. Other times I realise I’m comparing myself against someone who isn’t necessarily a nice person.
If you’re seeing someone with lots of money, or time, or possessions, think about the bigger picture of what matters to you. Often social media can be a little glimmer into someone’s life, just a glimmer. People show off their highlight reels.
Obsessive comparison disorder is something that affects a lot of people. We compare ourselves to people that we see online. Often comparing ourselves to these people seems harmless. Initially, we don’t even realise that we are doing it. If you’re really struggling with your mental health then click here to find a qualified therapist to help you.
Why even bother wasting your time on comparing yourself to others?
Nobody knows what truly goes on behind closed doors. No-one knows if what people say online is true. Instead focus on comparing yourself, if you want to compare, to good people. Strive to be more like kind hearted people who want to be selfless not selfish.
It is possible to make good money, or have what you want in life, without stepping on the head of others. I’ve learned that myself the hard way.
Try and be happy for others
In times gone by if someone has achieved something I wanted I would feel down for myself. Maybe I wasn’t working hard enough. Perhaps I’m not a good enough person. Really what I should have been focusing on is feeling happy for others.
Now if someone achieves something I might want I make a point of feeling happy for them. Afterwards I feel that I have worked at being a better person. I’ve congratulated someone on their success.
As a bonus I’m getting myself in a positive mindset which usually pays off. Being negative all day is exhausting and just leads to those feelings seeping in to other areas of life. At times you might have to force yourself to feel happy for others but give it a try – you may become more positive in the process.
Focus on your strong areas
Do you have a specific skill set? I do. I’m somebody who writes content for multiple other websites, as well as my own. Personally I don’t brag about this, much, and I only share details if it is helpful to someone else. I’m happy to focus on what I consider to be my strong areas. For me this is being a good friend, wife and Mother.
I’ve become compassionate, friendly, helpful and I put myself out for others. This beats any other success that I could possibly achieve hands down. I don’t want to let comparison syndrome ruin the areas of my life that I feel I’m strong at.
Write yourself a list of goals
I love to make a monthly list of aims and a daily KickerList. For me I want to focus on a number of areas. Of course I want to make money – I mean we all need to live right?! Once I’ve made some money I want to then use some of that for the greater good. Donating to charity, helping friends and family and having a nice life. I don’t care about buying a flash house, or a big car.
Instead I prefer to use my money, and time, to be present. This helps me stop suffering from comparison syndrome. I’m with my daughter everyday. I get to spend lots of days off with my husband and wider family. If there is a crisis, or my Mum almost dies again, then I can take time off to be there for her. You may want to sit down and work out what truly matters to you – you may be surprised.
Also, if you’re a working parent who can’t be home and present everyday don’t let my post upset you. It isn’t aimed at you. After all we all do what we can for our family. Everyone is different and what works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Having a list of goals gives me something to focus on throughout the days and weeks. I like having goals and I enjoy beating them. At times I can be a competitive person, however I now want to compete with myself and not others.
Think about your accomplishments regularly
Having a rubbish day? Or week? Why not think about some positive things instead of being victim to comparison syndrome. This helps me to stay in a positive frame of mind and reminds me not to sweat the small stuff so much.
Are you surrounding yourself with positive people who are proud of your success?
For me I’ve got a number of great people that I can share my success with. Whether this is finally getting through the washing, being on the radio or something else that I’m proud of these people care. Genuinely. They are people of a similar mindset to myself. They don’t want to tread on the heads of others on their way to their successes.
While they may also share their successes in return to my own they don’t try and make mine feel insignificant. Chermaine at ChammyIRL and Jon at The Money Shed are all people I feel I can share my good fortune with. Whether I’ve worked hard for something or not.
My final thoughts on comparison syndrome
I’m sure going forward I will still have pangs of comparison syndrome. It is a natural part of life really. However, recently I’ve learned to be kinder to myself and others. I know some wonderful bloggers online and some of the stories behind what really matters to them.
Ultimately we all need to be a little kinder to others, and others too. You never know what battles people are facing in their personal life. Comparison syndrome isn’t really kind to anyone, no matter how successful you may think you are. Remember that what people exude on the surface isn’t always what it is true.
Comparing yourself to someone you barely even know is a waste of time. Enjoy your life and be proud of your own achievements – whatever they may be. For me my biggest achievement is being alive with my daughter and family. I almost died, again, last year so I’m super grateful just to be here!