Around the age of ten or so, I wasn't sure if I was human or not.
For some reason I had cooked up a theory that I was an alien from another planet.
I was certain that whenever I looked into a mirror there was some kind of clever technology projecting a perfectly synchronised video of a human face back at me.
It's probably best not to dwell too long on this: as with most far-fetched science fiction movies, the basic premise falls apart on close inspection.
For example, what about when I looked my hands... how come they weren't green and four-fingered? (No offence intended to any aliens reading this).
These days I am forever comparing myself with other people, not aliens.
Which is equally unhelpful.
Look at X, he's a much better writer/photographer/cyclist/person than me.
Look at X, they've got 10,000 Twitter more followers than me.
Look at X, she's so much happier than me.
X might have started doing whatever he does days or even decades before you.
X might have purchased all those Twitter followers instead of earning them honestly like you did.
X might be an incredibly sad person underneath all her smiles.
You can never really know for sure.
Comparing yourself to other people is stupid
When you do, at best you're guessing and at worst you are projecting your insecurities onto someone else's apparent success.
The fastest route to happiness is to focus your attention on your own activities.
That might sound narcissistic, but it's not navel-gazing that I'm advocating here.
I'm talking about staying in the present moment, enjoying the process, living your own life, or whatever else you want to call it.
Whenever you compare yourself with other people, you're wasting precious energy.
How to cut down on your comparison-making
- Remember that everyone is different. Celebrate all the weird and wonderful variations in the human species.
- Do things that make you happy, instead of doing things to make other people happy.
- Be grateful for the things you have already, instead of focussing on what others have.
- Give up trying to be perfect. (The only way to be perfect is to do nothing, which isn't going to get you anywhere).
Posted to life in 2013.