Post #87 When you Compare Yourself to Others
It is your human tendency to want to compare yourself to others. It’s tempting to think the other person has a better car, better phone, a better life, etc (see Post #34). When life is good and when all is well, we often like comparing ourselves to others. But sometimes life is tough, such as when we find ourselves in the midst of a COVID-19 circumstance. In this case, and in many others, comparisons can result in your confidence taking a nosedive.
Our stay at home, social distancing mandate due to COVID-19 has sprung many unexpected life adjustments. As people try to get on with their lives, some are wondering, “Am I doing this right?” You may know people who are trying to become emotionally used to a new way of living. Perhaps you yourself are still trying to make sense of what your new life “should” look like. The last thing you ought to be doing: compare yourself to others. Everyone will handle adjustments their own way. Extroverts will find different outlets than introverts, freshmen may do things differently than graduate students, etc. Stop blaming yourself and stop pointing out all the ways you “should” be acting. Everybody is trying to figure things out for themselves; only you can do that for yourself.
Instead of focusing on your friends, roommates, or complete strangers, I challenge you to focus on YOU. Forget what your buddies or families are doing to cope. What works well for others may not well work for you. And guess what? That’s perfectly OKAY. There are no rules stating you must do X,Y or Z just because so-and-so is doing it. Think about what works for you, what doesn’t and how you can maximize your productivity. Others’ actions have nothing to do with you and your life choices. Please do not be tempted to impress others and please stop trying to be something that you are not (it is a wasteful use of your brain). Use your time to help yourself understand who you are as a person – conduct a self-assessment.
Who are you – Ask Your Brain Questions
How do you go about trying to understand who you are as a person? First, stop the urge to compare yourself to others, as tempting as it may be. Second, practice mental awareness. Get used to asking and answering for yourself, “What am I thinking, how am I acting and WHY?” Ask your brain questions, it loves to think of answers! And work to think about those answers, dig beyond just the surface. The third thing you can do is try to find patterns within yourself. Do you find that you are extra irritable in certain situations? Do certain people bring out the best or worst in you – why is that? You will be amazed at how much you can learn about yourself by asking your brain questions and taking time to self-reflect.
For additional tools and brain exercises to help you manage your COVID-19 circumstances, visit my YouTube video: Managing Student Life During COVID-19