Quit the Comparisons

In a day and age where only the top achievers are acknowledged as successful, teenagers have no choice but to feel pressured to be better than others, whether it is in athletics, academics, creativity, popularity, or appearance. They make subjective comparisons against others when they should be setting objective goals for themselves.

As cliché as it may sound and as hard as it is to live out, people need to learn to be themselves. They must set their own goals and work their hardest regardless of what others do. It is a natural human tendency to compare and be compared, but doing so causes more harm than good. While it might help people develop a healthy motivation to set higher goals and improve, the majority of the time, they only grow stressed.

According to a study directed by the Dove® Self-Esteem Fund, an entity that is committed to building the confidence of girls and women, “7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships.” The very words used in the poll reflect the fact that girls are comparing themselves to others. They think they “do not measure up,” but what are they measuring themselves against?

Nothing that is objective.

The study also reveals that “up to 12% of teen boys are using unproven supplements and/or steroids.” Guys feel the pressure to look a certain way as well, so they change who the are and risk harming their bodies to live up to other people’s fickle standards.

In academics, comparisons play out in a different manner.

Take for instance a student who continuously compares his grades with others. If he compares himself to all the students who scored higher than him on a test, his self-esteem will most likely plummet. On the other hand, if he knows he received a higher grade than most students on the test, his pride will skyrocket.

These constant upward and downward comparisons are not beneficial to the student. If he continues to set others as the standard, he will never learn to do his best and be content with his efforts. Even a student who always performs better than the rest of his peers would not have the right motivations if he took pride in the fact that he was more academically “successful” than his peers.

Success is important and encouraged, but success does not mean being better than someone else in a certain way. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so success means that the person accomplished a desired purpose or aim.

People must remember that comparisons are subjective, but goals are objective. They should set stable goals to reach instead of spend their lives trying to live up to fluctuating standards.