Let’s Talk About £££ Comparison, Baby
Stop comparing yourself to others financially and learn to love what you have.
If you have used social media today, you’ve probably compared yourself to someone who seems to have more than you. It might have even been subconscious, but all too often when we look at some insta-celeb or influencer and register that they have an awesome home / pair of shoes / designer dog the message we are sending to ourselves is “I have less”. Swiftly followed by “gotta get more!”.
Why is this behaviour so destructive? Well in the first instance, it’s expensive! Trying to keep up with the Joneses / Kardashians by buying the stuff that they have might make you look rich to strangers in a photograph but in reality could leave you in debt and unable to afford life’s basics. And that’s never a good look.
Don’t beat yourself up, though - it’s natural. Comparing ourselves to others is normal human behaviour. Competition among and within species is, after all, a cornerstone of evolution. But by looking closely at the way we compete with others we can educate ourselves out of falling victim to poverty-by-jealousy. Here are some key pointers to consider:
When you see [insert name of your chosen fancy celeb or wealthy neighbour] with some snazzy new item, what positive attributes are you ascribing to them? That they’re really happy? Healthy? That they have stable relationships? That they, unlike you, woke up that morning in tip top mental and physical shape and devoted the first hour of the day to doing something they love? Come on. We know that isn’t true of many people, however rich they are. Money doesn’t fix your wellbeing or that all-important relationship with yourself. In fact the chances are that person had to buy their snazzy new toy precisely to fill a gaping hole in their sense of self-worth.
Would your life really be improved if you had oodles of spare cash to spend on ephemera? Would it give you the motivation to eat right, exercise, do good in your community and nurture your truly sustaining relationships (you know, those ones that are nothing to do with money, such as with your children, your pet or your granny)?
Avoid the things that make you give in to these superficial self-criticisms. OK, so you know in your heart of hearts that Kylie Jenner’s walk-in handbag closet wouldn’t make your life better. But you still can’t help feeling like you’re not enough when you see it. So don’t see it! Every time you find yourself being drawn down some online rabbit hole like one of those lists of “the twenty biggest mansions in LA” or a facebook post of someone who can afford nicer holidays than you (and has the lack of social grace to plaster it all over social media), click away from the page. Do something that makes you feel good instead. It’s in your power to make that choice every time you go online.
Remember, remember - it’s all relative. How many women of your age in the developing world would love to have a digital device like the one you’re reading this on? Even in the area where you live, there will be countless people who would look on all that you have with disbelief that anyone could be so fortunate. And disbelief that such a lucky woman could feel like she still hasn’t got enough.
If the green-eyed monster has a powerful grip on you, hack it! Start comparing yourself to people who are rich in kindness, self-respect and environmental responsibility. Then at least you’ll be striving for something that benefits others and makes you feel genuinely good about yourself.
Finally, as with all these things, don’t be too hard on yourself. You are designed to keep an eye on the activities of your peers and with good reason. Just keep checking in on your behaviours, responses and triggers so you can stop feeling bad about yourself and making crazy spending decisions to try to plug a hole that really doesn’t need to be there. You have a lot. Value it. Enjoy it!