Comparison actually is a fundamental human impulse (according to Pyschology Today) so preventing it completely is pretty difficult. Interestingly, comparison can be positive – measuring yourself against another could be motivating or inspiring. But those comparison thoughts can be quite difficult during the age definition of ‘early twenties’.
Right now, I’m in that age ‘definition’. And I know myself, alongside others, compare ourselves regularly, no matter how successful someone else would see them. Some would class this as ‘social media comparison’ as the online sharing of the ‘good parts’ of life can quite easily make yourself feel inferior. But does this mean that actually the people we follow on instagram aren’t right for us? In reality, do you need to know that an old school friend has bought a house at age 22?
So, I’ve learnt that it’s all about how you ease the scenario, reducing the impact (where possible) that the comparison trap could have upon your wellbeing. It is tough, there will always be one comparison that your mind will automatically make. If you’re in need of some techniques to try and mitigate it, I’ve got your back…
REMEMBER YOUR OWN PATH
I think this gets mentioned a lot as a graduate, you’re aspiring for your dream job, aspiring to live where you want and it is fundamentally your own path. Someone else’s path is different to yours, if they’re moving to London for to work in finance and you didn’t want to move to London, nor work in finance, then there is no direct comparison to exist. Stick with your gut feeling and work to achieve for what you want your path to be.
NOT EVERYTHING IS ‘PERFECT’
It’s easy to forget this a lot of the time and I’m not convinced that the ‘perfect life’ does exist. Finding what makes YOU happy is the key to your own ‘perfection’. At the end of the day, I’m sure you could speak to many people who do love what they do, but wouldn’t define their life as perfect.
IT’S OKAY TO FIGURE THINGS OUT AT A SLOWER PACE
The prospect of getting a job unrelated to your degree is actually really common. The statistics may state that 90% of graduates are in work six months post-graduation, but the type of work never seems to be defined. If you’re leaving university in your early twenties, it’s actually pretty daunting and a ‘stop-gap’ is actually really common too. Slow and steady can win the race too right?
FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO
Whether you’ve recently graduated or not, there is pressure on individuals in their early twenties. Which is why it’s even more important to find something you LOVE, the peaceful escape from everyday life. For me, this blog is a creative outlet, I love writing and I love the engagement that comes from talking about something I write about, the reward of knowing that people do enjoy reading the posts (the best compliment you could ever give me is “I like reading your blog” – hint hint).
I can’t declare that I never compare myself to others, but these techniques keep me on track wellbeing-wise. So the next time you’re scrolling through social media and see that someone has bought a house or secured their dream job, remember that your path is not in direct comparison with theirs. Instead, own your own path and focus on what you can do to make yourself feel rewarded.
Let me know how you feel about comparison and what you do to try to mitigate it in the comments!