Tips for letting go of social comparison.
1. Opportunity Cost
No one likes to miss out on good stuff that other people have. But keep in mind that EVERYBODY experiences “opportunity cost”.
If you’re not familiar with the term opportunity cost, it means that when you make any choice you are choosing not to do other things, at least not right at that moment.
I recently read an article about someone who is a celebrity in their field and the article mentioned that the celeb was turning 50 and was planning on fulfilling a long held dream of going to Paris. I’m sure the person would’ve gone to Paris already if it were that important to them, but still, the example illustrated that pursuing their career and getting to the top of their field has had opportunity costs.
Anyone who you are envious of is making choices that have opportunity costs too.
2. Develop your internal compass to help you decide what goals to pursue rather than getting caught up in social pressures.
For psychology PhDs, being an academic/researcher is generally considered more prestigious than being a clinician. Two years ago I made the decision to give up my academic/research career because it wasn’t the right fit for me at that point in my life. Making the decision to leave a great job as a university lecturer to start my practice was a big leap of faith in my internal compass.
Part of what made it hard was that everyone around me (my lecturer colleagues) had all chosen university life so I was choosing to give up something that the people around me highly valued.
3. Stop thinking you’re better than people.
If you think you’re better than some people (because you think you’re smarter or whatever), it naturally follows that you’re going to see yourself as not as good as some other people.
4. Observe what works better.
What works better for you in your life – focusing on what opportunities you have, or focusing on what opportunities you don’t currently have?