We often read that comparing ourselves to others isn’t a good thing to do. On the one side it can lead to emotions such as feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem or jealousy, On the other hand it could lead to a feeling of superiority or smugness. Either extreme is negative. However, perhaps a little careful comparison has its place.
I have a tendency to set a high standard for myself. There are numerous things I have done in my life where I felt my achievements were not good enough. I don’t think my achievement would have been good enough in my eyes, no matter how well I had done. Over time I have learnt to lower my expectations of myself somewhat. I find it is sometimes helpful to actually compare myself to others, but with care.
At times I look around at others whose achievements or standards are similar to mine and see they are not stressing. They are satisfied with that level. Perhaps I should also be satisfied with that level for myself.
While it can be useful to set goals at a high standard, it is possible to put too much pressure on oneself. It can be that as soon as one achieves a particular goal one feels the need to set a higher goal. This can result in a lot of stress. Ongoing stress can have negative effects on health. It can result in high blood pressure, ulcers, indigestion, sleep disturbance, depression or anxiety. Being stressed can harm your relationship with other people because you are more likely to be irritable and difficult to get on with.
There will always be people who appear to have achieved more than you have. There will always be those who haven’t achieved as much. There will always be those who are neater and those who are more untidy, those who are more generous and those who are less generous and so on. Too much comparison isn’t helpful but sometimes looking around and thinking, ‘Hey, I am doing okay,’ may be healthy. It is all a matter of achieving balance in life.