Hello!

I have a secret.  I have an addiction.  The fact is I compare myself to others.  And I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.  The sad thing is my comparisons rarely result in me feeling better off – rather with what I suppose is my somewhat pessimistic approach to life, I always seem to feel worse.

I’ve wanted to voice this affliction for a long time.  Truth is I fear that you’ll all shoot me down in flames and tell me to get over myself.  “There are people far worse off than you and you have no right to complain” you’ll say and of course you’d be correct.

But I do wonder if anyone else feels like I do.  Do you?

Do you sometimes come home after being shown through a mum friend’s freshly renovated house and feel a little flat? Do you listen to another mum talking about their 3rd holiday for the year and feel a little disillusioned?  Or do you have fleeting moments where you compare husbands, jobs, kids or even bodies?

I wouldn’t say it’s outright jealousy – just a faint touch of whimsical wishing that it was you instead of them.

I do however take heart in the fact that I don’t want to take it away from them or wish them anything but luck,  love and a happy future.  Thank goodness I’m not at bunny boiling stage yet but my automatic reaction is to compare and it never feels good.

A recent blog post announced that most of us need to ‘harden the f**k up’ and get on with life.   Apparently we’re all becoming a nation of “wussbags and princesses”.  The context was that we all feel we need to be entertained, fed and watered … all the time.  The author encouraged us to tell our kids to cope with a 10 minute drive to the shops without a DVD, an iPod or a muesli bar and challenged us to do the same in our own lives.  On every level, I applaud her frankness and agree with her sentiment.

So I guess while the context is different, I could take that advice.  I should stop comparing, harden up and realise that my life is actually full of wonderfulness and that I’m actually quite lucky.

In the meantime though, I wonder if there are strategies I should employ in the name of self-preservation?

Perhaps I should:

  • limit my visits to the ‘married for 15 years can’t keep their hands off each other’ couple
  • limit my exposure to the kids who have been chosen for selective school and travel the world on sporting scholarships in the school holidays
  • and change the subject when our friends who treat a week at the snow as a standard rather than an extraordinary treat bang on about it for the fifth time this month!

Do you ever compare your situation to others? Does it make you feel mad, sad or glad?

Have you any suggestions on how to cherish what you have and who you are?

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  • I do sometimes compare and it depresses me at times. Then I remind myself we’re doing ok, can’t complain, then I compare myself to someone who is worse off, that usually makes me feel better

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  • The older I get, the less I compare and the less I worry about what others think. Oh to have had this “wisdom” in my youth!

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  • God! If I had those sort of situations I would be fed up too. It annoys me too when folks go on about their sad lives that are always better than mine.
    I think you are onto the right idea to cope better though.
    Try to find the joys in your own life and forget those other situations that you can’t change or compete with.
    Good luck!

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  • I used to compare myself to my sister a lot. I thought she had everything, the great life, travelling, the fancy stuff, holidays etc. How wrong could I be. I voiced this to my parents because it started getting to me…seeing her do all this while my family is struggling and having her tell me that I’m tight with money and that I should be able to save to do this with her. My parents told me things that I hadn’t though of. My sister has what my mum calls, the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ syndrome’ not matter who she hurts in the process. After listening to this and thinking about what I have, for once I have been able to live the last couple of months comparable free! We may not get to go on a holiday once a year but when we do it is amazing and we enjoy every minute. I have friends who are the same as me and we don’t compare and that’s why our friendship is so strong…my relationship with my sister is almost non-existent.

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  • I do compare my self as a mum, I used to compare how much sleep my daughter got compared to others, her growth etc.if my daughter wasn’t sleeping then it was my fault. It mademe sad and I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety
    since. I no longer compare myself or my now toddler as much. I don’t think it’s healthy

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  • sometimes it can be hard not to compare especially when you see people doing/getting what you have wanted for a long time.

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  • Comparing is unrealistic anyway, as you’re usually comparing with a glossy version of other people’s lives – not the tough, mundane, everyday reality.

    Better to be happy for other people’s sucesses, and focus on what’s good in your own life!

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  • Thanks for sharing this thoughtful article; an interesting and good read. I strive to be the very best version of myself!

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  • Something about keeping up with the joneses lol

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  • i occasionally do this but its much better if u dont as u only upset yourself which is time u are wasting that u could be happy

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  • I’ve learnt not to compare because I’m me and not anybody else.

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  • I once did. But in the last few years i;ve had a massive change of pace in life, and somehow come to the realization of loving my life for what it is. Don’t get me wrong i still have some wishful thoughts – but ultimately im happy – and thats a great feeling

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  • No, I don’t compare because things can change in a heartbeat, and no one’s health, wealth or relationships come with guarantees. I try to practise being thankful but if I forget, I seem to soon think of someone going through a tough time in their life. Almost everyone has a story to tell and you can’t tell from outward appearances what difficulties they may be facing.

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  • I do compare I think it is human nature to do so but I also feel blessed to have what I have even if others have more.

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  • I try very hard not to compare.

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  • There will always be people who have more than you, who do things better than you, who seem more successful than you, and who are different to you in thousands of ways. Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happier than you though. I try not to compare myself with others, as that leads to unhappiness, envy and bitterness, and occasionally to feelings of superiority. I appreciate all that is good in my life, and that I am a lot better off than many people, and try not to concentrate on what I don’t or can’t have.

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  • Here is a quote I like: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    No I don’t compare myself to others. Sometimes things are not what they appear to be, there is no such thing as someone having the perfect life, even if it may look that way. Having overseas holidays, a big house, flashy car, high paying jobs are not what makes a perfect life or even happiness. You may just find your friends that seem to have it all may in fact envy you.

    I have an acquaintance who sends out those awful Christmas Brag letters each year, you know the ones where their life is so much better than everyone elses, perfect children that receive all the top school and sporting awards, overseas holidays etc.. I don’t envy or compare myself or my family to her at all, I feel sad that she feels the need to do this every year and it’s not so much what she says in her brag letter that speaks volumes, it’s what she doesn’t say.

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  • Yep, I’m constantly comparing myself, my life etc to others, it’s horrible and I’m working on enjoying what I’ve got more because I am really quite lucky.

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  • In the wise wise words of John Butler the grass may be greener but its just as hard to mow!

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  • Thanks for the interesting read, I think most people do this

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