Being digitally connected to other people through social media means it’s easier to see their progress in life. This makes us prone to comparing ourselves to them, here’s how to stop
Before I turned 30 in October last year, I used to have a time frame on which goals to tick off life. Believe it or not, marriage was one of them. But after a lot of career setbacks, losing friends, experiencing endless disappointments, oh and not having a ring on my left finger, I decided to stop being hard on myself and savour the journey, obviously while not giving up on my aspirations, goals and dreams. I was also too hard on myself, mainly because I compared my peers’ successes and happiness with my failures. Yes, I was one of those culprits who bitterly scrolled through feeds of people sharing the deals they sealed, the jobs they secured and the achievements in general. This is the reason I decided to stop doing it as much as possible. I also feel that in life, you get to a point where you can go further down than where you are. The only option you have is to stop feeling sorry for yourself and pull yourself up, or remain depressed. Life is not easy, even for the successful people we look up to (or compare ourselves with). But I think they post and share the fruits of their hard work, instead of their failures or setbacks. What I mean is people filter and choose what they want to post online and not every details of their lives. And understandably so. With this said, I decided to stop comparing myself with other people for my own peace of mind and happiness. Here’s how:
- Stay in your lane: in my 10-year journey of interviewing people and sharing their stories on various platforms one person stood out for me: Bonang Matheba. In one of my interviews with her, she advised to always keep your head down and focus and not let distractions distract you. I think that is our mistake, that we tend to distract ourselves by focusing on other people’s lanes instead of our own. Learn to focus on your own journey.
- Celebrate each milestone: I used to find it hard to accept other people’s compliment on my achievements, this was mainly because I failed to recognise the small progress I made in my life and in my career. But looking back, dammit I’ve come far and am learning to celebrate each milestone I make, no matter how small.
- Learn to accept your flaws: While we’d like to be as flawless as Beyonce says she is, the truth is we are not. We must accept that life will not be perfect, we fall, we make mistakes, we get fired or retrenched at work, businesses fold, relationships and friendships end and we hurt others. What shows our character is what we do about it. Do we use our flaws and the strengths of others as yardsticks to measure our worth? Stop. It’s really not worth your happiness.
- Learn to be grateful: I have learned that life is a journey and not a race. Learn to be kinder to yourself and appreciate what you have. Accept that you are currently where you are meant to be in life. Yes, you should never settle for less than what you feel you deserve and are working hard to have, but take time to thank God for what you are blessed with now and be kinder to yourself. You will succeed too.
- Know that comparison can be harmful: for your health and well-being. We must learn to stop competing and start being happy for others because there more than enough room for everyone to be successful. Rather use other people’s success as a source of inspiration than as a tool for depression.