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Comparing Yourself to Others

Often in life we compare ourselves to others. It's easy, it's natural, and it happens all the time.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with comparing yourself to someone else, it is important that we be careful about who we compare ourselves with and that we consider the context.

Every person consists of a variety of different aspects that make us uniquely who we are. For example, you are someone's child. You may also be a brother or sister, a mother or father. You could be a friend, colleague, neighbor, etc. We also have a variety of skill sets. You may be talented or not at any number of those skill sets, whether it be professionally, athletically, intellectually, etc.

When we make comparisons with other people we all too often forget that we're not comparing ourselves with the entirety of that other person, but instead isolating one aspect of their being.

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Picture of three yellow ducklings.
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Let's say for example that you have a friend with a very successful career, while you're struggling either to find your calling or to work your way up in your field. It's all too easy to look at that friend and start feeling bad about yourself, to start questioning yourself, and to start beating yourself up for not having similar success.

When we make those comparisons however, we should remind ourselves that our friend's career is just a single aspect of who he or she is and not their entire self.

If we were to look a little bit deeper, we might discover that their successful career comes with a lot of sacrifices. For instance, maybe that person has to travel a lot and rarely gets to see their family, while you enjoy the company of your family all the time.

Your friend may also have a massive debt from the education and schooling that was required to get the career they have. You however may only have a fraction of the debt that they have.

Additionally, with the high-level career that this  person has also likely comes a great deal of stress and pressure; stress  and pressure that could impact their physical and emotional  well-being. Having a "simpler" job may allow you to not have that kind of daily stress.

While you're wishing you had the kind of career your friend has, your friend may very well be wishing that she or he had the kind of family life, debt, or stress-free lifestyle that you enjoy.

As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. So with that, remember the story of the Ugly Duckling, who as it turned out wasn't so ugly after all.

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