Dare Not to Compare: Comparing Yourself to Others
We all fall for it. Looking at someone in a seemingly better situation, and wondering what we did wrong that resulted in our misfortune. How come my friend’s parents are paying for most of their tuition? Should I have been looking for part-time work sooner in order to pay for schooling? How lucrative will my career path be if I pursue the liberal arts, while my friend goes into accounting? This comparison is not only unhealthy, but also unreasonable.
Your focus should first and foremost be on your own financial situation and goals. Even if you are in a dire state, drawing comparisons will do absolutely nothing to amend it. Instead, that negative mindset can actually be to your detriment. The more you beat yourself up, the more negativity and pessimism will loom over your every thought and action, and before you know it this will be hindering your future prospects. It is challenging enough as it is to go to class every day, complete exams, and hunt for jobs. Now imagine throwing in a negative mindset, and those tasks become infinitely harder. You will be increasingly prone to mistakes due to the distraction and expectation of failure.
The very mindset is a no-win situation. Even if we are convinced of the accuracy of the comparison, our brains are deceiving us. This is something they do far more often than we realize. Comparing your finances not only harms your own situation, but is also unreasonable in the first place.
When we compare ourselves with others, we are examining the minutia of our own lives; every foolish purchase, every missed job opportunity, every bill awaiting payment. Yet when we examine others, we are only getting glimpses into their world. We see polished social media profiles that may post pictures of them going out and spending money, but rarely of the days spent at home eating in. People come from a multitude of situations, circumstances, good and bad. The plethora of events and decisions make it absurd to compare even a similar-looking situation to your own. Someone may have a similar background, with a family much like yours and an upbringing similar to you. But the small differences in their personality, teachers, friends, choices, activities, and more add up to make a completely different person. Comparison is not only unhealthy; it is nonsensical.
At the end of the day, if you are unhappy with the state of your bank account, you can take steps to fix it. Plan a monthly budget, seek out part-time work, and talk to your family about your situation. Your education is of utmost importance. Your parents will not want that to falter due to dollars and cents, and may be able to help. Your life, in all its wonder and worry, is yours. Do not let unnecessary comparisons get to you – for all you know, your subject of comparison is doing the same.
Tempesta, Daniela. Why You Should Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniela-tempesta-lcsw/comparing-yourself_b_4441288.html