It is rather difficult to not compare yourself to others, especially living in a time when our lives seem to be documented on social media for everyone to see. But how much of what we post actually correlates with who we are? I would guess about slim to none. That is because what we post on social media is handpicked and filtered—not the reality of our lives.

Now I’m not saying social media is evil; in fact, there are many benefits to it. It’s a great tool for keeping in touch with others and good for spreading the word about important causes. It is also a great opportunity to voice yourself and share information. But to what extent are we letting what we see on social media frame our opinions of others?

Even if social media were out of the equation, I have noticed both in my own experience and in hearing the experiences of others that there is a huge danger of comparison in our society.

Comparing yourself to others is, of course, natural but not productive. When you compare yourself to others, you are comparing yourself to what you perceive they are like, when in reality, they could be going through something you know nothing about.

Comparing yourself to others is dangerous because every human being on earth is different, and there is something truly amazing about this fact. There are some people who are simply more athletically gifted, some people who are more math-minded, and some people who just have a naturally good singing voice. Just because you are not the same as someone does not mean that they are superior or that you are inferior. It simply means that you are wired differently, and I think that’s something to embrace.

Now, I’m not saying it’s an easy task to stop comparing yourself to others. Most people do! It’s easy to fall into the temptation, especially when you think what they have is better than what you have. But it can go the other way, too. You can compare yourself to others in an arrogant way, thinking that you are superior to others for whatever reason.

Comparison is dangerous.

In my life, too often I have compared myself to others, and it has prevented me from living my life to the fullest. I’ve gotten down on myself for no reason and been undeservingly harsh to myself. This is not productive. This is dangerous.

Stop comparing yourself to others because every life is different. You simply have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life, and it is unfair to make a judgment about someone’s character because of what you think they are like. Stop comparing yourself to others and let yourself be happy—let yourself be free! There are so many obstacles that we go through in this life, and it would be a shame to add more just because we think we know what others are going through.

The danger of comparison is how it prevents us from being truly happy. If we acknowledge this danger and tell ourselves that we are all different, we can escape from it and in turn, be sincerely free.