How To Beat The Comparison Trap

How To Beat The Comparison Trap

Does anyone else feel like they’re expected to have everything mapped out?

Take myself for example. I’m 29 and heading like a steam train towards the dreaded 3-0. Something which completely terrifies me. But why does it terrify me so much? Shouldn’t I be embracing my impending 30’s with a Cosmo in hand Carrie Bradshaw style? Instead, I want to cry into my pillow in a very dramatic fashion.

So, after many sleepless nights thinking this over I’ve come up with what I think is to blame. The comparison trap.

At my age, there are certain things society has expected me to have accomplished. I should be married (tick), have a 2 up 2 down house with a gigantic mortgage (fail), and have plans for a bouncing baby (fail).

Oh, and I should also have 50,000 followers on Instagram (fail), be heading for a promotion (fail), and have a body to die for (mega fail). Phew, I’m tired just writing this.

But why is there this pressure? Is it something we place on ourselves or do we allow other people to shackle us with their own perception of what ‘YOU’ should be doing. I think it’s a combination of both. I’ve often been guilty of pressuring myself because, at times, it feels like my life is slipping away like sand between my fingers meaning I feel the need to cram everything in right this minute (Wasn’t it 2016 all of 5 minutes ago?).

So, my question is this. Why should we have certain achievements and milestones we need to reach by a certain age? Education, marriage, houses, job, kids… These are YOUR achievements to enjoy, should you wish to, at the time in which you feel ready.

That’s why I want you to stop comparing yourself to other people’s ‘perceived’ accomplishments and live your own without the time pressure.

Here’s how to stop the comparison trap.

Me walking along Kite Beach near the Burj Al Arab in Dubai

Scrap the age comparison

It is so much more important that you enjoyed YOUR life and not worried or compared yourself to those around you. I love this quote by Theodore Roosevelt.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Comparing yourself to others’ accomplishments is a losing battle. And, it will only take you down a never-ending spiral. Who else has felt feelings of anxiety, worry, or even jealously when looking at other people’s lives? Trust me, these emotions will only leave a negative impact on you.

Secondly, stop letting other people pressure you on your journey. Many times a person has pressured me, even when they haven’t intended to, about what I ‘should’ be doing at my age. For example countless times I have been asked,  ”When are you going to buy a house then?” But the fact is I don’t need one… Yet. Yes, I need a roof over my head but do I need a four-bed semi which I have to work 60hrs plus a week to pay off? No. Honestly, right now I personally see a house as a limitation to my life. And that’s ok, that’s my choice.

Also, if I had followed the stereotypical set path I was supposed at 18 I would never have gone to uni later in life, would have never have moved to Dubai, would have never have started this blog, would never have discovered my love of writing, and would never have got my job.

Sometimes life heads off in a different direction which leads us to where we’re meant to be. Have faith in the journey and don’t see it as a race.

Write down what you’ve accomplished

What have you done in your life?

I bet there are hundred of things. These don’t just have to be those stereotypical ones like marriage, kids, and the big shiny ALDI sitting on your front drive.

Do you have an amazing set of friends? Did you hop on a plane on your own for the first time? Did you finally manage to run that 5k?

I bet you’re achieving something daily, you just don’t realise it because they’re not on that clichéd list.

Change your mindset to a more positive one as negativity only breeds negativity. Realise that you’re doing a pretty good job of adulting even if you don’t always feel like it.

Write down your future goals

What do you want out of life? And I mean YOU. Not your partner, your friends, your parents, or that person at work.

Do you want to have that big house in the countryside? Do you want to learn a new skill? Do you want to meet new people? Do you want to travel?

Whatever it may be, take the time to explore your own thoughts. What does your gut say? Listen to it and then write down everything that comes to mind. It’s surprising what you learn about yourself when you take the time to actually listen to yourself.

Remember there’s an alternative

If you feel trapped, unhappy, or anxious about where your life is heading (or not heading) then YOU have the power to change it. You just have to be brave and go for it. Remember that sometimes life feels overwhelming but it usually has a way of working out. But you need to put in a little effort on your part. Things don’t just come to you, you have to make it happen.

Be Kind to yourself

Breathe. Even if you don’t have everything planned out that’s ok.

Life is exciting and changeable and who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. Isn’t it the not knowing that makes life so much fun? Your only human, things are going to happen which don’t go according to your plan. So, scrap the plan, enjoy the moment and always look ahead!

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  Overall

Squeeze every drop out of this life you were given and live it the way you want to.

Explore, travel, meet new people, and grow… Whatever age you are.

What are your feelings on this? Do you often compare yourself to other people? Do you feel like there’s an unspoken pressure to do things at a certain time in your life? As always let me know your experiences and what you do to combat this.

Love, Becky x

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