You all know them.
Some are repeat offenders, some are recidivists and some really just don't realize what they're doing.
Sultans of Social Media stalking, they can be found at their desks or on their phones revisiting pages of the past. Past friends, past lovers, past enemies and past passersby. They come running when they strike gossip gold, eager to tell you all about what someone else is doing. They layer a socially appropriate facade of disgust over their grin of triumph as they start whispering "Did you see...?".
Consequently, the comparison begins.
Your confidence does its amazing vanishing act as you feel the twinge of your self-esteem shrink as you sink lower and lower into your seat. You reply with something like, "Wow! That's really great for them," and, while part of you really means it, you struggle to keep yourself steady instead of plummeting into a self-destructive downward spiral.
Okay, so maybe these people aren't always excavating the inter webs for sheer exuberance at your expense, but sometimes it feels like it. Intentional or not, they're the diggers of drama. If you can identify with this at all, then I will bet you'd be happy to hear that these are people which you should begin cutting from your life immediately.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. There could be toxic people in your life who you are far better off without, but generally, you can't just stop communicating with every person from your life who does something to hurt your feelings. No, the best thing that you can do in this situation is carefully examine where the real issue truly stems from...and it's probably you.
The constant comparing you do yourself.
As the list of other's accomplishments grows, so do your insecurities. You may wake up in the morning Kanye style, feeling optimistic and positive, and then get hit with some news that makes you question everything that you thought you were sure of. You're caught rethinking every choice, every detail and every aspect of your life down to the shirt which you decided to wear this morning. Suddenly nothing is good enough. Your house isn't good enough. Your job isn't good enough. Your car isn't expensive enough. That vacation you took that you thought was going to be heaven but really was the Wal-Mart of the Caribbean again wasn't good enough. Your last social media post, which you thought was witty, socially relevant and artfully structured, wasn't liked enough. It really boils down to thinking that you are just not good enough. When you get there, you stay there. You dwell on this awful, despondent feeling until you're so far down in the pit of self-loathing that you can't even begin to see a way out.
Listen to me. You need to stop this.
Stop stealing your own happiness.
There isn't a way to win when you're caught in the comparison game. Instead, try to adopt these principles and incorporate them into your psyche.
Be firm in your created identity. Trust yourself and your decisions.
When you hear about the great places someone else's path has taken them, it can be easy to second guess yourself and your plan. The greatest weapon against this is to be confident in your identity and comfortable with your choices. Admit that your choices may not have always been the best, but remember that they helped to shape everything you are at this time...and that YOU are wonderful just where you are at.
Do something that you are proud of. Revel in it.
Stop focusing on what everyone else is doing and start focusing on what you are doing. (Note that this doesn't mean you should create a rebuttal post and flaunt your accomplishments to the world). Your highs can't always compete against the highs of someone else, but that doesn't mean that you don't have your unique experiences which are worthy of your pride. If you don't feel like you have done anything stellar lately, this is time to set a new goal. Use your feelings as fuel to constantly improve. Run a 5K, volunteer for a cause you admire, paint your masterpiece or start writing a blog. Create your own story and focus on that.
Remember that it is human and normal to want to compare ourselves to others. When the feeling comes, it's okay to feel it. Embrace it for a moment, take some deep breaths, call a friend if needed, and then let go. Comparison causes barriers to happiness when it causes destructive feelings of inadequacy, but you don't have to stay there. The truth is, you are the sole and only person responsible for your happiness and you alone have the choice to kill it or sustain it. Choose to be you and happy.