When I was in the early years of my marriage, I remember comparing myself to the Ken and Barbie-style couple. Along with being perfectly perfect in every way – these two had a few things my family didn’t have (and several years later, still doesn’t have.
The problem with comparison isn’t that we make a judgement and move on. Unfortunately, when we compare ourselves to others – like I was doing – we bring it into our personal lives. I can’t recall exactly now – but I’m sure I brought some resentments home.
Did I treat my husband differently? Did I let myself feel like less than? Did I wish I had what they did so much – that I neglected what I had?
Maybe a year or so later, I was shocked to run into one of them to find they had divorced. I was comparing myself to a couple that wasn’t really perfect (both people are incredible individuals, but I wasn’t comparing ourselves to the individuals – I was comparing ourselves to the two of them together).
A study out of the University of Michigan looked at how people felt about themselves when they logged on Facebook. Researchers found their self-esteem really only took a hit when they were actively comparing themselves to others. Actively comparing ourselves involves thinking about those Facebook friends once we’ve logged off. Thinking about that brand new house so-and-so is building, or the new baby, or that you’re the same age as XYZ who just got a promotion, got married and bought a house.
How do we stop this?
I have three ideas to put a stop to it in my latest podcast episode – you can check it out by clicking play at the top of this post – or by clicking here.