ILLUMINATION
Published in

ILLUMINATION

A Quick Fix About How To Stop Feeling Bad Instantly

I’m spitting it out right from the start-stop comparing yourself to others.

Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered what were the happiness levels of people years ago? Here’s a quick hint: research states that people were a lot happier and more content with their lives in 1957 than today.

In brief, the research states that economic growth doesn’t potentially increase people’s happiness, while lower economic levels are a probable reason for elevated levels of unhappiness. I can see where the researchers are coming from — people are happy with everything sufficient but are feeling rather discontent when their needs aren’t being met.

But let’s take a rather different approach to this — let’s discuss individual happiness since I honestly believe that people in the past felt happier in their personal lives as well, compared to today. The logical thing to do is to ask ourselves what is the reason behind this phenomenon. I’m calling it this way because it should be on the contrary, in fact — nowadays we are more capable of achieving more, having more, and being whoever we want to be. Yet, back in the day, people felt more stable ground in terms of who they were and what made them feel happy. But why?

My take on the situation has to do with the constant state of comparison we live in today. Think about it — in the past, how often did you witness people feeling down just because they were constantly surrounded by others’ unrealistic images of happiness and fulfillment?

But first thing’s first — there is a negative state of comparison, yet there is a positive one as well

When I speak about comparison, I don't mean it in a bad way only — in reality, there are plenty of instances when comparing ourselves to others can actually greatly benefit us and our states of happiness.

Usually, though, those instances have to do with comparing ourselves to others in the context of exchanging experiences and learning from one another. Please note that this healthy approach to comparison actually enables us to keep moving forward and further develop our skills and competencies.

Numerous times I’ve compared my work and my development in the programming and software development industry simply by checking with other professionals’ experiences — I love educating myself on experts’ paths and what they have to share in terms of knowledge, tips, advice, and opinions regarding various topics in the niche. This I call a positive state of comparison — thanks to the example of many fellow professionals, I’m able to check with the niche’s standards and be able to offer upgraded and competitive services. When you come to think about it, this ultimately leads to any business niche’s constant development.

But then we have the negative state of comparison that is greatly fueled and influenced by social media and the unrealistic image so many people aspire to maintain in the digital world.

I bet many people have felt instantly unfulfilled the moment they hit social media and witnessed a lifestyle that seems to be so out of reach for them. That is if they lack solid ground regarding what really pulls their own trigger in terms of happiness. When you are self-aware, you’re able to navigate through your own happiness levels, without having to constantly compare your lifestyle to one of the people in the digital world.

Constantly comparing your lifestyle to others’ can potentially harm your well-being and mental health

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

I remember discussing the matter with a friend of mine years ago. She mentioned that there was a time when she felt extremely happy with spending a peaceful and relaxing Friday night, only to soon begin to feel down once she opened a social media app, filled with highly photoshopped photos of people.

“There I was, in the coziness of my own home, getting exactly what my body and mind needed — relaxation and some time off. After a hectic week, all I needed is to decent in the corners of my consciousness and reminiscent over the last few days. But my content disappeared the moment I witness photos of people attending those great parties in exotic places, living for the moment, etc. I remember I instantly thought how I was wasting my life on the couch instead of turning the world into my oyster!”

So here’s the thing — if we are not completely self-aware of what we need and what we want, we are more prone to discomfort and disappointment simply by comparing ourselves to others. Because nowadays we have this constant access to what everybody’s doing — we are surrounded by photos, vlogs, trips, business development, intensely active lifestyle, etc. It’s easy to suddenly start viewing our own life as less happy, less exciting, and less successful.

This predisposition slowly but surely leads us to a place where we stop enjoying our life the way it is. There’s this risk of trying to attain a certain lifestyle we don’t particularly want — we just think we want it because of all that heavy influence.

In fact, the cure to this is to be authentic to yourself.

Take the time to sit down and really reflect on your life. Go into detail about every single field of your life and try to determine what happiness and success mean to you.

  • remember that this is your life and you are in full control of how you want to live it
  • don’t forget that what you see on social media is carefully curated — the majority of people post only the positive side of their lives
  • be aware that living authentically to what matters to you the most is the healthiest thing you can ever do
  • try to avoid daydreaming about someone else’s life if, in reality, this lifestyle doesn’t correspond to your needs
  • ask yourself what makes you truly happy — envisioning a happy and fulfilled life for ourselves can show us the direction we are supposed to take
  • as cliche as it may sound, the only person you need to compare with is yourself — that’s where the success is! Note that being inspired by other people is different from comparing yourself to them — inspiration leads us to development, while comparison can direct us into bitterness and discontent

We all have our own paths in a life filled with obstacles, goals, dreams, and experiences. Why would we wish to abandon all that and focus on the life of others? What about our own life?

To wrap things up

I’m a vivid believer in inspiration as a source of power and determination to continue our growth and development. But inspiration means further elevating our own life, not wishing to change it altogether.

Wanting to live someone else’s life can take us to a point where we don’t particularly like the life we own — directing your gaze elsewhere is a sure sign that soon you’d lose your balance and focal point. This abdication from your skills, experiences, and desires is the path closest to unhappiness — can you think of something else sadder than this?

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ivan Popov

Ivan Popov

i was once an athlete. then a journalist. now i am a ceo of vipe studio. still running marathons though.