"Everyone else has their act together, why don't I?"
I hear statements like that one from students and clients all the time. Similar statements include:
- Oh, that person? They're perfect. They wouldn't understand.
- Everyone else has their life figured out, but I don't.
- I wish I could be happy as everyone else I know.
- They must have it all together.
- I wish I could be more like that person.
These are dangerous statements to make, yet we say them all the time.
These types of statements bring us down and push us away from each other. Instead of feeling close and connected, we feel defeated and lonely. We feel like no one else could ever understand what we're going through. That we're the only one dealing with difficult emotions or sad and negative times.
It's incredibly easy to find reasons to say these statements. We scroll through perfect pictures on Instagram (are we following each other yet?). Celebrities always seem to be in our faces on advertisements and in movies. Everyone posts happy and memorable times on Facebook. Parents and loved ones ask us why we can't be more like someone else's son or daughter that they know. Our lives are constantly being compared to others.
When someone makes a social comparison in front of me, I say - "You're not alone."
It sounds so simple, but seriously. You're not alone. You feel like you should have your life together like that person? That person probably doesn't think they have their life together. They also struggle with things. They too feel sad, afraid, confused, and alone at times. Maybe they aren't willing to share the nitty gritty details with you, but I guarantee they go through the same human struggles we all go through.
One of my favorite ways to remind myself of this is to actually talk to other people about my struggles. That takes feeling safe and comfortable enough with other people, but I can quickly do that if I break down the 'fake barriers' that keep us all from being real and open with each other. I start conversations. I reach out to people online. I respond when they reach out to me. I also like to read biographies and autobiographies of people that I admire most because it reminds me to stop putting them on a pedestal. Seven billion people on this planet - I guarantee you are not alone.
So how do you keep yourself from the constant social comparison that surrounds us?
Tell me below in the comments so we can all learn from each other!