The Secret to Stop Comparing Yourself
We all do it. From the moment we wake up to the minute we go to bed, we start the process of comparing and contrasting ourselves to others. It's like a default setting; we don't even know we are doing it half the time. There are the obvious ways in which we compare, such as when we open up our phones to social media apps and instantly feel those lesser-than vibes creeping in. Then there are the more subtle ways we compare, such as allowing our everyday lifestyle to be shaped by societal standards rather than what feels right for our individual selves. It is this more subtle form of comparison--the silent but deadly, if you will-- that I'd like to address right here and now.
Eat three meals a day. Snacking is bad. Wake up early, even if you're tired. Workout for 60 minutes at least 5 days a week. Don't eat after 8PM. Go to college. You can't wear white before Memorial Day (like, what the actual F?)
To all of this, I dare ask, "says WHO?!" We are conditioned to believe that such conventions are truths we hold to be self-evident, but I don't see these written in any declaration. To be honest, I have no idea where they came from. Government? Corporations? Religion?* Or some other imaginary power? Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari, explains, in a mind-blowing way, that human beings are the only species that dictates life according to these imaginary entities; attributing them humanoid qualities and rights, and regarding them with greater significance than our own flesh and blood.
Nonetheless, we abide by them, and we punish ourselves (mentally and physically) when we have the desire to stray from the "rules." We write ourselves off as lazy when we can't drag ourselves out of bed at 5AM for a spin class. We call ourselves fat and lacking self-control when we feel the need to eat more often than the standard breakfast, lunch and dinner. We call ourselves aimless slackers when we don't want to devote our lives to a corporate career.
In any instance, rather than question the "norm," we tend to simply assume there is something wrong with us. Compared to everyone else, we are screwed up. But notice for a moment how I am addressing this-- WE are screwed up. ALL OF US are screwed up. ALL OF US can relate to this on some level because NOBODY fits the "norm" in every respect of life.
Nobody is normal, therefore everyone is weird. Weird AF. But we aren't wired to embrace what feels right for ourselves. We are wired to hide it, and to conform to an imagined standard measure of being. And suddenly, then, it appears as though this standard is validated; in truth, we all keep our realities a secret.
But I encourage you (yes, YOU) to share those secrets with anyone who will listen, and even the ones that won't (their loss, honestly). You likely will find that many others, in fact, have the same point of differentiation as you, and together you can bask in YOUR version of "normal."
*I do not mean to offend or dismiss any faith, though I do encourage deeper individual reflection no matter what your denomination.