The comparison trap
"Don't compare your behind the scenes with someone else's highlight reel"
- Steven Furtick
Comparing ourselves to others can become a trap if we attempt to measure in standards that may not necessarily match our own reality. We see it every day in advertising, on social media or in Hollywood productions. People will make unfair comparisons to the idea of perfection that we are inundated with on a daily basis in the media and out in public. Being aware of these unreasonable displays of beauty, power and wealth is important so as to not get sucked into an unhealthy culture of, "Who is living their best life?"
The comparison trap seems to have gotten more alluring with the rise of the information age and influencers who get paid to effortlessly post pics of their lavish lifestyle. Even with our friends on social media, people tend to post their best pics. We don't see all of the deleted or unposted shots, or what's going on behind the camera. We don't know everyone's stories based of their carefully crafted social media posts. We get the highlights. We don't know what's going on inside the heads of that beautiful couple sitting in that expensive car. We see the optics. We don't see what's going on behind the scenes.
I found the healthiest comparison for me to make, is to my former self. How have I improved as a person? Where am I compared to last week, last month and last year? This is how I can continue to make improvements in my own life so I can keep increasing my own wellbeing and quality of life. It can be much tougher for us to improve our own life circumstances when we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. It may seem unfair due to disadvantages or inequalities, which is why it would be unfair of us to make unfair comparisons.
Have you noticed yourself making any unfair comparisons to others lately? It can be easy to do, especially when we may not have all the context to whatever comparison we happen to be making. I encourage everyone to start comparing themselves to their former selves. What are you doing to improve who you were last week, last month and last year? If we put more focus on improving our own lives, we can lose interest in comparing ourselves to others since we become too busy improving our own lives and living the best life available to us.
Psychology Today: We Do Better When We’re Not Comparing Ourselves to Others
Healthline: How I Learned to Stop Comparing Myself to Others