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The Comparison Game

By February 3, 2011perfectionism

by Natalie Lynn Borton

I recently wrote about wanting what you’ve got, but today I’m talking about a different side of the same coin: comparison. Today’s post is inspired by a simple and wise tweet from my beloved fiance:

I can’t say for sure, but I’d venture to guess that most of you have played the comparison game. You know what I’m talking about–you wish you had a body like that girl you just walked by, a job like so-and-so, an exciting life like that girl who always posts exotic travel photos on Facebook.

Even when our lives are going well—we’re healthy, we’re employed, we have close friendships—we easily perceive that someone else’s life is better and we decide what we have isn’t good enough. I say the word perceive because we never really know what’s going on inside. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve played the comparison game before, only to find out that my perceptions were nothing but an image, and the girl whose body/salary/vacations/etc. I had so envied, actually didn’t have the perfect life after all.

Social media is the worst in all of this. Don’t get me wrong, I love my technology! I am amazed at how effective email, Facebook and Twitter have been in maintaining close relationships with my friends and family who live far away. But that’s not the function of social media I’m talking about—I’m talking about how we can let it poison our minds with the false belief that others have it better than we do.

We read about what someone ate for lunch, how much they love their job, how wonderful their friends and family are. We see online conversations that probably shouldn’t be public, and we are so quick to think that our lives are less-than-awesome in comparison. With each Facebook post, photo album or Twitter update, we see nothing but a fragmented image of who these people are, an incomplete (often more perfect) version of their lives that is untrue.

Do you play the comparison game? Why do you think it’s so easy to imagine that others have it better?

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