Twentysomething Comparisonitis

Twenysomething Comparisonitis

They say one third of people in their twenties feel depressed.

I believe it, and this is why…

It seems that the society we live in today has somehow found a way to make sure that we compare every single aspect of our lives with that of other people.

It makes me kind of nauseous just thinking about it.

In our twenties, we’re paving our path, digging through dirt, figuring out which road we’d like to go down.

We’re discovering ourselves.

We’re discovering the world.

And that’s absolutely beautiful.

But is seems that every time we manage to achieve something great in our lives, we then feel the need to compare ourselves to other people.

We compare ourselves to coworkers. We compare ourselves to celebrities. We compare ourselves to that nerd we kind of knew in high school.

And you know what? That nerd is now a senior executive at a kick-ass  job. And that nerd is  getting married. And that nerd is having a baby. And that nerd is living in an awesome apartment. And that nerd is debt-free. And we know all of this because it’s plastered all over social media.

Suddenly, all the awesome stuff we’re doing doesn’t seem to matter all that much.

What matters, instead, is the fact that we’re not senior executives at a kick-ass job. And we’re not getting married. And we’re not having babies. And we don’t live in an awesome apartment and God knows we’re not debt-free.

A.K.A… life sucks….why me?

What did I do to deserve such a lame life?

Seem familiar?

If you say you haven’t felt this way, you’re probably lying. And that’s fine, I can’t force you to admit it… but we’ve all been there.

I’ve been there.

But we need to make a conscious effort to NOT be there.

Because when we compare ourselves to other people, the only things we see are the things we don’t have. 

And that’s a shame, because we should be saving our energy to focus on much more important things.

Instead of seeing the things we DON’T have, we need to focus on what we’ve accomplished. We need to focus on the good in our lives, and we need to be thankful for every bit of it. Then, we need to focus on our goals, on our dreams, on our next steps.

Not on the goals and dreams and next steps of other people.

So as you continue making the most of your twenties, make sure that you’re doing things for the right reasons.

Make sure that you’re saying “YES” to that job because you love it!

Not because you want everyone on Facebook to know that you have a job.

Make sure you’re getting married because you love someone.

Not because you want to post a picture of your 2 carat diamond to see how many likes you can get.

Make sure you’re having a baby because you’re ready.

Not because you’re tired of staying home with your cats while all your friends have mommy/baby play dates.

Focus on yourself.

Focus on your life.

Do things not so that the world can see, but so that you can know what you’re capable of.

So you can be sure of your worth.

Of your potential.

Do things so that you can live the life you’ve always dreamt of.

So that you can be happy.

Because you deserve that happiness.

You owe yourself that much.

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23 thoughts on “Twentysomething Comparisonitis

  1. Eszter says:

    One of my favourite quotes: “One reason we struggle w/ insecurity: we’re comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” (Steven Furtick)

  2. princessrenren says:

    oh yes! Preach, girl, preach! it’s true. and i won’t deny that i hate myself for checking FB and twitter and instagram to see some shitty stuff that my friends and other people post. it’s awful, but i know i’m doing something for myself, not for others to see :))

  3. Rebecca Fraser-Thill at Working Self says:

    Great post, Kayla! Such an important and pervasive topic. I’m working on a post to give concrete tips on how to overcome comparisons. It’s so challenging, though, that I’ve been working on the post for TWO MONTHS! Ridiculous – but it speaks to the extent of this problem and how hard it is to tackle.

  4. millennialonthemove says:

    As much as I love social media, this is one of the problems with it. No one tells you about the bad things in a Facebook status or tweet. As Eszter said above, we’re comparing our REAL lives to everyone else’s highlight reel. It’s like comparing your love life to a romantic comedy — which c’mon we’ve all done that too and wondered why our SO isn’t running through down pouring rain to kiss us goodbye. But social media, particularly for millennials and digital natives, has made it SO hard for us to live our lives without comparing to others. And in our 20s its the worst because there is no normal. We have friends who are married with 3 babies and friends who are single and still in school. It’s a tough time to navigate, but comparisons make it tough.

  5. Garland McWatters says:

    Right on. In my 20s, we called it, “Keeping up with the Joneses.”
    From that experience I came up with a definition of temptation: “Focusing on what you don’t have instead of what you do have, and convincing yourself that somehow you have been cheated and deserve to have what you don’t have. Then, you come up with elaborate rationalizations that it’s OK to do whatever you want to do, to get whatever it is that you think you were cheated out of, because you deserve it.” I know it’s wordy, but think about it.

  6. TK says:

    I remember going through my “quarter life crisis” about a month after I graduated college. I had only two months left of my lease and no job prospects outside of the job I held throughout college. I realized that if I didn’t find something quick, I’d have to join the masses and move back in with my parents. This fact so terrified me that I honestly broke down into tears one night.

    This only helped to boost my job applications as I asked for a cut of hours at work so I could devote half a day everyday to looking for a job. That effort got me that job that allowed me to live independently of my parents. Even though there is a lot I don’t have, I am happy with my life. I think having an optimistic attitude, even in the face of debt, is the key to achieving dreams. Sulking and depression tend to make me slower. If I am happy, I get things done and life progresses.

    Great post.

  7. Debt Blag says:

    Beautifully written! I think young people are so independent and motivated and it’s so wonderful. But I also get the feeling that there’s an anxiety to make sure we’re checking off the boxes and keeping up with each other’s goals as well. This is a wonderful reminder that we’re the one person we’re accountable to 🙂

  8. Carol Christen says:

    Excellent post. I reposted on LI and “What Color Is Your Parachute for Teens” FB page

    My grandfather once told me that happiness is underrated in our society. He was 86 at the time. The essence of the Protestant work ethic. I listened. Good on you for figuring this out early. Now, if we can just get people to appreciate where they are at the moment.

  9. keiyaS says:

    Beautiful! I needed this. It seems like people only post their happy and perfect lives on Facebook but I know they have bad days too. Of course they won’t post those which gives us a false sense of their good fortune. We really need to figure out what makes us happy and then focus on that. Social media is such a blessing and a curse. I think the key here is finding happiness from within and not letting anything influence it.

  10. wthreason says:

    Very nice post and I have to agree with everything that you just said as I struggle with this every single day – I try to refocus my energy on myself and on what I am doing because at the end of the day we all have our own lives to life and we better start making the best of it 🙂

  11. Tiffany Khyla says:

    I just loved everything about this! Everything you said was so true. I was in a pretty dark place in my life just a few months ago. I hated my job and didn’t understand why I even went to college if I was just going to work front desk at a hotel. I was trying to move to Australia for a year to figure things out, and just leave my family, friends, and boyfriend behind. How selfish. I was lucky enough to get promoted, and now I love my job, and all of those dark days just seem like a bad dream. I stopped comparing myself to my friends that were making more money than me, because a lot of them weren’t even happy! Now I’m at the point where I’m like, I’m supposed to be broke, I’m supposed to travel, I’m supposed to just take life as it is! I’m young. I’m not supposed to have everything figured out. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m a new follower from Her Campus, and I’m so happy to have discovered your blog!

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  13. The Katie Show Blog says:

    I love all of this! I think social media is such a great tool to connect with others but it has brought with it a huge theme of ‘keeping up with the jones” I feel like moments used to be moments, now they are moments that need to be captured perfectly and shared on the internet in this ongoing popularity contest. Seems so exhausting! Thank you for sharing!

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