Healthy vs Unhealthy Comparisons

 “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” — Unknown

We live in a world where comparisons are as natural to us as breathing. Thanks to social media, we’re always just a few clicks away from glimpsing into someone else’s life, their accomplishments, and inevitably, lining them up against our own. But, comparing isn’t all bad. Like a double-edged sword, it can either spur you forward or slice your self-esteem to shreds. 

The Good: Motivation and Goals

Let’s start on a high note. Being inspired by someone’s achievements can be incredibly motivating. Seeing someone you respect reaching their goals can light a fire under your ass. It makes you think, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” This is healthy when it’s used as a catalyst for personal growth and setting realistic goals.

For instance, your friend runs a marathon, and you think, “Damn, maybe I should stop binging Netflix every weekend and start moving.” Next thing you know, you’re lacing up your tennis shoes for a short morning run. This is drawing inspiration with a purpose, using someone else’s achievements as a mirror to reflect on your potential and what you can achieve with a bit of sweat and determination. Now if you start trying to match your friends pace, beat yourself up for not running as fast—the inspiration has turned into a negative comparison.

The Bad: Self-Destruction

Now, let’s dive into the dark side. When comparison shifts from “I can do this too” to “Why can’t I be like them?”, it’s no longer about inspiration; it’s about beating yourself up. This is where you get sucked into the vortex of scrolling through someone’s Instagram at 2 AM, feeling like a potato as you see their curated highlights: business success, beautiful vacations, fancy meals, a seemingly perfect family.

This type of comparing is a recipe for misery. It’s about focusing on what you lack rather than what you have. It’s a distorted view that filters out their struggles and amplifies their successes. You don’t see the tears, the sweat, the sacrifices—they don’t post about that. What you’re doing is comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. And let’s be real, that’s about as fair as racing Usain Bolt.

Sometimes, comparisons can get plain ugly, distorting your perception of reality. You start to see life as a competition where everyone is ahead, and you’re just flailing in the back. This mindset can lead to some pretty toxic behaviors: jealousy, resentment, or even schadenfreudetaking pleasure in other people’s misfortunes because it makes you feel better about your situation.

It prevents you from appreciating where you are right now. You’re so focused on someone else’s mountain peak that you ignore the beautiful view from your own.

So, what’s the solution? It’s simple: be mindful of when and why you’re comparing. Use comparisons to motivate and inspire, not to beat yourself up. Set your own personal goals based on what’s important to you, not based on a flashy social media post. Remember, everyone is fighting their own battles, many of which you know nothing about.

In the end, the only person you should be trying to be better than is the person you were yesterday. So next time you find yourself slipping into the comparison trap, ask yourself: is this making me a better, happier person? If not, it might be time to click that unfollow button and focus on your own journey. After all, it’s the only one you can truly control.

Remember, YOU GOT THIS!



Jasmine Rice is a Transformation & Confidence Coach, NLP Expert, Best-selling author, and Founder of Good Things Are Gonna Come, LLC. With a passion for empowering others, she has dedicate/d her career to helping people transform their thought patterns, and thrive during life’s complex transitions. Through her integrated coaching business and supportive community, she equips individuals with the tools they need to transform their lives and take control after periods of transition.

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