Everyday we are bombarded with messages telling us how we can change to be like others. Get hair like her, a successful career like him, lose weight. Blah, blah, blah. It’s not only the media though, our parents tell how successful that girl we went to school with is and how we need to start being more like that. Worse again is we do it to ourselves, we say “Wow, all my friends are married or engaged and I don’t boyfriend. What is wrong with me?”
We need to take a step and ask how are all these daily reminders about how inadequate we are affecting our mental health? Social discrepancy theory says that if who we are and we think we should be are very different people then this leads to anxiety. Eating disorders, depression, body dysmorphia can all be related to inability to live up to expectations, either of others or our own.
Everybody is different and everyone moves through life at a different pace. Your friend Mary Jane may have got right into uni, finished her degree and got great job in a law firm. You on the other hand dabble in this and still haven’t decided what you want to do. Who is to say that one path is superior to the other? All that dabbling could come in handing in ten years time when you move into a PR role which you landed because of the contacts you have. All of life’s successes and failures are valuable. They are what makes us grow.
The reality is there is always going to be someone smarter, thinner, more talented, younger and more successful than you. But don’t forget, there are sooooo many people out there who have less.
The simplest way to stop comparing to others is becoming grateful for what you have. It is natural for our minds to compare. So compare yourself to yourself. Not only will you see how far you’ve come from the 17 year old you, be it financially, emotionally or in wealth of experience, you will also be able to challenge yourself to continue to grow. In a race against yourself you can always win.