Stop the “Compare and Despair” Game

Everyone masochistically plays the “compare and despair” game in their head in varying degrees. But chronically pining over the life of another, while tearing yourself down, has no purpose whatsoever. It destines you to misery.

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others in today’s society. Online and offline people can be incredibly fake and go through lengths to create a persona of their best selves. It’s easy to fall in love with that image others create. Then you turn the scope on yourself and feel you don’t measure it up. It can lead some people to such feelings of inadequacy that depression and self-loathing. This very issue plagues society.

So, what purpose does it serve? None! Comparing yourself to another does not change your reality. You just cause another source of misery and maybe anxiety. You can duly note how others are in the world without tearing yourself down — keep it objective and not a personal attack on yourself. Then move on with your life. Don’t even let the negativity of insecurity get a chance to build into something bigger. You literally have to stay focused on yourself.

I only had this realization recently. It hit me all at once. I was travelling to a large city to attend an Soka Gakkai International meeting. There were dozens upon dozens of people there. I had to wade through a wave of people just to get to the room where the meeting was. Eventually everyone was seated, and I took the time to observe others.

I was insecure. I’ve been rather sick lately — causing rapid weight loss and subtle acne — so I didn’t feel confident. I also had other things bugging me that I can’t remember at this moment. I just remember feeling inadequate around everyone.

A moment after observing everyone in the rows in front of me, I had the breakthrough where I was able to stop playing the ‘ol “compare and despair game.” Everyone in the room, in the damn building, have lives I don’t even know about. It makes no sense to feel inadequate to others who are all so unique. There’s several billion people on this planet, and I’m just me. No more and no less. To compare myself to someone else and to want to cherry pick qualities from others to transplant to myself is throwing away my uniqueness.

Since I am all about self-improvement, I now keep my nose to the grindstone on my own life. I’m creating my own little successful niche in the world where I am fully satisfied. It’s pathetic and a waste of time to be play “compare and despair” when I can direct my thoughts and emotions into something more productive.

In a society where self-loathing, or at the very least feelings of inadequacy is common — I urge others to quit too.


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