Why do we bother comparing ourselves to other people?
I’m sure you’ve gotten onto the Facebook and looked up some of those people you went to high school or college with. You’ve checked out their photos, their relationship statuses, their general information about where they live and what they did last night for dinner. And what have you gained from it?In some cases, you’ve probably looked at your old friends and acquaintances and thought, “At least I’m better off than that guy.”
I know, you don’t want to admit that you’ve thought that, but believe it or not, you have. Don’t feel too guilty about it. No one likes to admit that they’ve thought of other people in terms of making themselves feel better. Because then you’re not better than the bullies that pushed you around on the playground at recess.
But I’d be willing to bet that there are also a lot of times when you look at those profiles and think, “Man, I could’ve done so much more with my life.”
Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re one of those people who is completely content with where you find yourself now. Maybe I’m in the minority of people who had different plans while they were working on that college education. Nothing against the banking industry, but I sure didn’t see myself as a full-time teller with no aspirations for advancement with the company that employed me five years after I finished school. It may have been more believable to see myself in a counseling related position, like I am now, but I sure thought I’d have been further ahead than an entry level position that pays next to nothing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But we do it all the time. Careers and relationships aside, we’re constantly looking at others and comparing ourselves to their positions in life. And really, that comparison is just a polite word for judgment. We’re either doing it by looking down on others, simply to feel better about ourselves, or we’re looking at another’s success, chipping away at our own self worth.Am I off base here? Look, I’m not saying that I’m unhappy with my place in life. I love working with the kids I work with. I love the town I live in. I love the friends that I have and the lives I’m apart of. But I still have that urge to do something different. I’m certainly not happy about the red tape and bureaucracy that goes hand-in-hand with my career. I’m not happy that the only way I could ever really advance would be to spend time and money on yet another degree. I honestly don’t see myself in the same counseling position I’m currently in five years from now. At least, I don’t want to see myself in this position five years from now.
Maybe what it comes down to is how others may see me. When others look at my life, what are they comparing it to? I always get excited about getting together with old friends and people I haven’t seen in years. Will the people that I haven’t seen for a long time look at me and think I’ve done all right for myself? Will they look at me and see wasted potential? Or will they just look and see a guy who sometimes lacks self-confidence and then writes about it on his blog? Should I even care what they think?
No. I shouldn’t.