Pale in Comparison

Last week I was having a little talk with Bren about how many books I had read this year and I’m currently reading my 27th book of the year. So far my average for this year is one book every two weeks. Then she said she is currently reading book number 95 for this year! I thought, “Wow, that’s so much more than I have read!” and of course, that’s right, but then she reminded me that I shouldn’t compare us, because Bren is a book reviewer, and I spend my time differently. This just reminded me of the fact that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others too much and it is something I have tried not doing, because usually when you do, you’ll just feel bad about yourself.

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Why comparing yourself to someone else is a bad thing (most of the time)

I’m not saying that comparing yourself to someone else is always a bad thing, but most of the time when you do, you’re probably doing it because you’re not feeling adequate, or feel that you don’t have something that someone else does. The thing is, this will always be the case. The moment we realise this, is the moment we can stop comparing ourselves.

Now, I’m quite the overthinker and whenever I start comparing myself to someone else, it always ends up with me feeling worse than before I did the comparison. But if you give some thought to it, which, of course I’ve done countless of hours, you’ll eventually come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter. I think we should split this in two separate things; possessions and personal traits.

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When it comes to possessions comparing yourself to someone else is always a bad thing. Life isn’t about the stuff you have, it should be about who we are as a person and how we can continually improve ourselves to become the best possible version of ourselves. All that matters when it comes to possessions is that we have enough. Enough of the basic human needs we have; food, shelter and (medical) care. It’s never a good thing to be jealous because somebody else has a bigger car, for example. The moment you realise status, and even most importantly happiness isn’t earned from possession, the more happy you will become.

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Personal traits

When it comes to personal traits, or someone’s feats and achievements, I think that if you compare yourself to someone and you find that you’re lacking in a certain aspect, that you should acknowledge that, but it’s what you do afterwards that really matters. You could take it as a cue to improve yourself if you wish to reach that person’s level, but if you do, your intentions why you want to should be clear. Is it because you want to be better than someone else? Or is it because you genuinely wish to become a better person and improving on that aspect in life would be of great benefit to yourself, and those around you? Always make sure it’s because you want to grow, is my advice.

Speaking of wanting to grow. I’ve read a ton of self-help books over the years and will soon be posting a bunch of really helpful ones on my blog as tips for self improvement. They’ve helped me a lot and I think they can help anyone who is struggling to find ways to become a better person! So keep an eye for that soon!

I hope this has been to some help to you, dear reader! 🙂

Happy reading!


2 replies »

  1. Jeffrey, Once again your topic focuses on the center of life’s struggle for people; i.e., comparing yourself to others. And your subtopics of possessions & personal traits hit the topic squarely!!! In America comparing your physical possessions to those of others is sadly the way of life! People, at least in the populated areas, actually limit their social interactions because, as our popular phrase goes, they are always “comparing themselves to the Jones,” the name for the general public. And the problem is even beyond possessions. People associate with others socially based on income. An example would be someone upon hearing my college buddy is a periodontist, a highly paid dentist, said, “And he still talks to you?” Personal traits are quite a different matter in that, as you say, you can choose to improve yourself. Go to college & become a doctor or an attorney, etc. An interesting side to this I once heard is that you will advance in life as far as your greatest WEAKNESS! –Not your greatest strength. And so the message is to work to improve yourself where needed most. And my last reaction to your wonderful piece here to help people is something else I once heard; “There will always be those who are greater & lesser than you.” –The message is clear! Great deep thinking, Jeffrey!!! Phil

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lengthy reply, Philip! I think it might be a bit worse in America than in the Netherlands, but we are greatly influenced and part of “Western society”, so there are definitely similarities between our cultures. It’s the same with status, as you say. Here in the Netherlands it’s very common to associate only with people of the same “grade”. But how could I possibly do that when my dad is “only” a construction worker and I’m a Bachelor of Communication as per my education? It’s my fond hope that one day people will be able to look past such banal things and appreciate each other for their qualities, rather than possessions and education (or lack thereof)! ~ Jeffrey

      Liked by 1 person

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