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You Shouldn’t Compare Yourself to Other People… But You Probably Will

·306 words·2 mins

I know it’s easy to compare yourself to other people. But it’s unfair. It’s a trap. A scam.

They aren’t you. They haven’t lived your life. Any comparisons you’re going to make are suspect — even on those terms. It gets even worse, the more you think about it. The deeper you delve.

Because you don’t know that other person’s entire story, even. You’re seeing their outsides. What they’ve shared with other people. You only see what they’ve let you see.

You don’t see their darkest moments. Don’t feel those terrifying moments when they too felt small, unimportant, ineffective. You see yours of course. And as a result, it’s very easy for you to compare your worst moments with their best.


And the worst thing is that pretty much everyone does this from time to time. It’s part of how we’re wired. Human beings are obligate social animals, and we learn a lot about who we are and where our place in society is by comparing ourselves to other people. Social comparison theory is a staple of human psychology — the tendency of people to evaluate themselves based on what other people around them are doing. People are constantly comparing themselves to others and evaluating themselves based on those comparisons, whether or not they’re consciously aware that they’re doing it.

This is especially true when it comes to evaluating themselves in ambiguous or relative contexts. Personal identity and self-worth certainly qualify.

The reality is that you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people — but that you probably will.

I know, it stinks. I wish it weren’t true myself (would save me an awful lot of hassle). You shouldn’t compare yourself to other people, but you will — and the most important thing you can do in all of this is not take those comparisons seriously.


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