by Jennifer Mudarrie, LICSW
In our culture, comparison and FOMO (fear of missing out) are a very real issue. Our “hustle culture” is fueled through imagery which sets us up to think others have “it” figured out and we can have the potential to get swept up in this setup. This pulls at our egoic self and often doesn’t get us to the true fulfillment or happiness we think we saw others achieve.
It’s common to feel that we must be productive to truly matter. We all have an experience of feeling “less than” when compared to others, especially online. Our culture thrives on marketing things to us. By design, messages everywhere are telling us “You want this, you need it.” It’s an age-old truth that the goal is to show us that by “buying in” we’ll achieve true happiness. But it’s hard work chasing that ideal and we must question who we are and what we want!
“They have it and I don’t.”
This toxic dynamic of “better than” feeds into the hustle culture making us believe that there are people that are better than others. We are therefore never enough. Instead, find ways to celebrate our differences while finding a balance in healthy competition.
Let’s go within and understand your values. What do you value and how healthy is it to compete for your own fulfillment? Look at things differently and value each person or each thing as it is instead of being some cracked code to happiness.
It’s time to evaluate
Comparing in two ways, either upwardly or downwardly leads to complications. Comparing with another company, person, or performance isn’t fair or accurate. That type of comparison leads to insecurity (upward comparison) or inflated sense of self (downward comparison).
Instead, think of job titles or grades as something that feed the ego and senses of achievement rather than fulfillment of being a good student or worker. To be clear, that’s not to say that personal fulfillment can’t come from achieving things like winning competitions but where do we draw the line when critique and comparison rake our story away? When does that become our daily mentality?
I encourage you to ask yourself whether you can find a balance between healthy comparison, like in competition for fun, without putting all the weight into doing life this way. What do you pay attention to? What role does it take? Is there a healthy line that you can find? Evaluate your statements for yourselves. See where they came from.
And remember, a weed is no different than a flower – we just added judgement to change it.
About Jennifer Mudarrie, LICSW: Jennifer is a psychotherapist with nearly two decades of experience in the mental health field based. She provides individual and family counseling, movement-based healing, clinical supervision and facilitates various workshops in the community with other multi-disciplinary professional providers.