Do you often find yourself wishing you had what someone else had? Do you often find yourself admiring someone else’s life more than your own? Do you often feel like you come up short in looks, wealth or accomplishments in your life? If you answered yes to these questions, it’s time to understand your need for comparing yourself to others.
Social media is a constant reminder of how often we might compare ourselves to others. It’s only natural to compare ourselves to others from time to time. Using the accomplishments of others as benchmarks can tell us where we are on our paths and inspire us with a direction we might want to explore next. It’s OK to compare experiences to help empower each other with wisdom and expertise if the intention is to help each other grow. But, if comparing yourself to another makes you feel bad, then it’s not healthy for you. Becoming obsessed with comparing ourselves all the time can damage our self-esteem and confidence over time.
If you find you can’t look at someone’s Instagram or Facebook account without feeling jealous or envious of what they have, do or look like, then it’s not healthy for you. In other words, it’s not a good idea to follow accounts that trigger feelings of low self-esteem or lack of self-worth. In fact, being consumed with looking outward at the lives of others is a clear call to action that you need to look inward at your own life instead. In the meantime, consider un-following these accounts while you look within to figure out what it is you are lacking and fulfill your own needs first.
Feeling jealous or envious is an opportunity to practice aloha. There’s no need to feel bad about your jealousy or envy when you already feel bad. Instead, becoming self-aware of these negative emotions is like the check-engine light of your car going on. This little yellow light on your dashboard is a signal for you to pop the car hood and figure out what’s going on underneath so that you can do something about it before any symptoms get worse. Ignoring it can lead to your car overheating or worse, like breaking down in the middle of an intersection. Who wants that? So, just as a lit check-engine light is a warning sign that your car needs attention, consider that you are in need of attention, too. Therefore, being jealous or envious of someone else is an opportunity for you to be more loving, kind and compassionate with yourself.
Treating yourself with love, kindness and compassion means taking the time to discover all the wonderful things that make you unique, special and beautiful. Consider creating lists of all your passions, best qualities and achievements. Your passions should include all your favorite things, people and places as well as everything you love to do or would love to try. Your best qualities should include every single trait that you like about yourself. And, your achievements should include every single accomplishment - big or small - such as graduating high school, being a member of a club or team, sticking with your weekly exercise routine, and getting a good grade or job performance review. This list should also include every fear you faced or challenge you overcame. For instance, if you hate speaking in front of a group, list the times you did a presentation or led a meeting. If you get anxious about meeting new people, list the times you went to a party and had conversations with people you did’t know. I suggest updating your list of achievements regularly as we quickly forget our achievements.
You can work on these lists daily or whenever you need a self-esteem boost to remind yourself how far you have come. Have compassion for yourself by giving yourself credit for everything you have gone through to get to this point in your life. As a result, they will remind you of all the times you have shown courage and confidence, which will encourage you to continue stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking on new challenges. To keep your self-esteem high, review these lists often.
Regarding someone else’s life, we need to put things in perspective. We don’t always know exactly what is going on in someone else’s lives, do we? We don’t even know what they had to go through to get to this part of their journey. They could be fighting their own battles of insecurities, but in that moment are brave enough to share themselves in a way that helps build their own self-esteem. For example, if someone is extremely fit and attractive, we don’t know that they might have felt ugly or were extremely overweight for any length of time.
When looking at someone else’s photo, we are literally only looking at a snapshot of their life. It is only one single moment in time. We cannot judge each other by one single moment because we are not defined by one moment. We are defined by an accumulation of moments over a lifetime. Therefore, unless we were to know everything about someone else’s life, it is a waste of time to judge and compare ourselves to them.
We must remember that we are all on our own paths so there is no need to compare. Practice aloha by being happy for others and their achievements and focusing on building your self-esteem. We live in a different time now where differences are what make us more amazing than ever. So, embrace what makes you -you. To do so means to be true to yourself no matter what anyone else thinks, says or does; to love all your traits, characteristics and flaws; to accept yourself for who you are, who you are not and who you have yet to become; to believe in yourself against all odds; and to have compassion for yourself by recognizing your courage in how far you have come no matter how much farther you have yet to go.
Embracing yourself for you all you are in this given moment is the greatest power of all. If you can do this and focus on your own path, you can release the need to compare yourself to others, my Pineapple.
Live, Love and Lead with Aloha.