Have you ever found yourself reading about a celebrity, or looking at someone’s Facebook page, wishing that you were more like them, and agonizing about the fact that you’ll never have their house, their husband or wife, their looks, be able to get into their yoga pose? I know I have. We're human, and in today’s world — between the reality TV, news, and social media — people’s personal lives are thrown in our faces everywhere we look.
Comparison to others contributes to unhappiness in huge ways, because the result you're looking for is almost always impossible. Sure, it's fine to have positive role models who help you evolve into your best self. But it's different when you find yourself getting sad and feeling inadequate when hearing about or seeing other people’s lives. Comparison is natural, but if you're constantly trying to be like others it's a huge red flag that you need to do some soul searching, realize what's important in life, and learn how to maximize the unique opportunities of your own life.
Here are four things you can do to get on the path towards living your own story:
1. Think about how unique your life is and celebrate it.
Things that seem mundane to you about yourself are more interesting than you realize. Maybe you speak two languages, or grew up somewhere different. Perhaps you spend your weekends scouring through thrift stores in a city, or surfing at your nearest beach, or taking a beautiful walk in the woods. All of these little things come together to make you, YOU. No one else has walked your path, and that's an honor. Live your own life to its fullest potential, and do everything you do with complete passion, sincerity, and a smile on your face.
2. Learn to be happy for others.
Learn to recognize jealousy and transform it into feeling happy for the person in question. In turn, be happy for yourself. Happy for your health, your job, the people in your life, and your experiences.
3. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, good or bad.
Realize that people are also in their own unique situations. Stop thinking you're inadequate, and definitely don’t look at anyone else and think you're better than her. You wouldn’t want anyone doing that to you, so plant some good seeds by keeping a neutral, non-judgmental view of people.
4. Realize that people showcase the best of themselves.
Of the hundreds of photos people post of themselves on Facebook, there are probably about a thousand more they consider unflattering. Next time your ego starts to say, “I wish I were as photogenic as her…” remember that! Similarly, no one (at least not most people) is going to post about her boring Saturday night spent sitting on the couch watching reruns of 90s sitcoms, waiting for the phone to ring. People only put out there what they want the world to see, and it isn’t necessarily the whole deal.
Don’t try to live in someone else’s story. Make up your own, starting today. You were given your own unique path to go down, so make the best of it, focus on yourself, and keep on shining as brightly as you already do.