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Avoiding the Comparison Trap

This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Cindy Nigro, MFTi.

Do you feel like all you do is attend friend’s weddings? Are you tired of checking your mail and opening up another wedding invitation or baby shower invitation?  You sign on Facebook and yet another relationship status has been changed to “in a relationship” or  “married.”  It seems that everyone else moving forward with these milestones except for you, and it’s raising your anxiety level.

You know you should be happy for your friends, and generally you are happy for others, but you just can’t help but feel a growing sense of pressure and anxiety especially when the person that’s getting married is 10 years younger than you!  I mean, what are people thinking getting married so young anyway?  And in order to justify it, you think to yourself… there’s no way it’s going to work out anyway.  You start to compare yourself with others and think about all the things that you don’t have in your life.  Then you start to feel like your “falling behind” – when did your life turn into a race anyway?  You eventually get depressed thinking that it’s never going to happen for you – any of it – the job promotion, the relationship, the marriage and the children.  You are destined for a life full of boredom and loneliness.

After the pity party is over, you start to realize that you were generally happy with your life before you started comparing.  How did opening a friend’s wedding invitation spiral you into a depression?!  You decide that calling your mother will be a distraction and perhaps she can cheer you up.  You realize that you were wrong after your mother asks, “I wonder if you’ll ever settle down?” and when you explain to her that you’re happy and you aren’t in a rush to settle down and have children. She suggests, “well then maybe you should look into freezing your eggs.”   That’s when you decide its time to hang up and throw yourself yet another pity party.

If you’re tired of feeling bad about your otherwise happy life, then don’t feel bad!  If you allow it to, pressure will plague you every step of the way.  You may always feel that someone is expecting more from you or rushing you.  It doesn’t go away once you’re in relationship.  People will then start asking, “So, when are you getting engaged?”  Then once you’re married… the question will be “So, when are you planning on having children… you shouldn’t wait too long you know.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re feeling the pressure:

Don’t compare!  Everyone has his or her own aspirations, goals and desires.  Figure out what you truly want for yourself and go for it.

If you feel like you want more or if you feel like something is missing, make sure to check in with yourself and find out why.  Is it that you truly want something more, or are you comparing yourself with others?

Try to be in the moment and live for today.  When it comes down to it, no one can predict or has total control over the future.

You’re not alone! Remember that everyone has his or her share of hardships.  Just because others may appear to have a perfect life on the surface doesn’t mean that they aren’t feeling pressure as well.

Appreciate what you DO have instead of thinking about what you don’t have.  If you are single, enjoy this time to focus on yourself.  Put your time and energy into your career, hobbies and travel.  You have more time to spend with your friends. You may not always have so much time to devote to yourself so enjoy it!  If you are in a relationship, enjoy your partner without focusing on what the next step in your relationship might be.

Truly be happy for others!  Share in other’s joy and celebrate your friend’s achievements.  Even if someone is celebrating something that you want and don’t have in your life.  Envy will only make you bitter and you don’t want to pollute yourself with negative energy.   The more you celebrate other’s achievements, the happier you will feel in general.

 

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