My dating life ebbs and flows. I go through periods where I feel like I need to put myself out there and DATE because without any effort I’m not going to meet someone right? Other times, I’m like NOPE, not trying. Everything happens for a reason and if I meet him I’ll meet him, if I don’t, then well, I’ll just continue living and enjoying my life.
It’s quite a dilemma. Dating is exhausting, yet if you aren’t meeting people somehow and putting yourself out there, then how do you find ‘the one’? Amidst this internal debate of what to do, it’s really hard not to notice the people having success and moving forward in this aspect of life. It’s even harder to stop comparing your life to theirs and wonder what is going on.
What’s worse, is that once you start comparing one aspect of your life to someone else’s, like dating, you also start comparing the rest of it. For instance, that person who seems to be just like you but got married first? You’ll start to notice every little thing about them – clothing, style, what they do with free time, what they say, etc. Don’t get me wrong, we all don’t be come stalkers. Much of this is self conscious and all of it is detrimental.
So what can we do to help us stop comparing our lives, dating or otherwise, to everyone else?
Ignore social media
It doesn’t help that there’s social media and the hashtag #couplegoals running rampant. Anyone who looks at a couple’s pictures and deems their relationship successful needs to re-evaluate life. Sorry to be harsh, but its true.
Social media does NOT paint the whole picture. Anything on social media is just what people WANT you to see. What about what you can’t see? Think about that for a minute. No person or relationship is perfect, so if you are seeing perfection, it’s likely falsified in some way.
Don’t get caught up in someone else’s story
The same goes for the relationships you see in person, with your friends and their significant others. Those examples may be more real, but again they are not perfect. We will never know anyone’s full story, so comparing your life with anyone else’s is only going to make you miserable.
This holds true for other aspects of life as well, including jobs, vacations, and random weekend events. Just because someone is posting about it and looks great, doesn’t mean that it was.
Another’s progress is not your failure
For those that truly are actively looking in the dating scene now, I think it’s really easy to compare what you are doing to others, especially when you don’t have what you are trying to get. I am definitely guilty of this. I have assumed that because I’m not in a relationship that I am lacking in some way, or that I am falling behind in what I should be doing. However, as it says in “Girl Code”:
someone else moving forward in one aspect of life does not mean that you are doing anything wrong; it does not mean that you are failing.Girl Code
Remind yourself that what may look perfect to us may be riddled with conflict. Others’ happiness may just be what they want us to see and not a real reflection of what’s happening behind closed doors (or off of social media). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every relationship is secretly miserable. I just want to remind everyone that we simply don’t have the whole story, and an accurate comparison of lives should include it all don’t you think?
Ditto for other aspects of life. Your colleagues’ progress in their career, job title or income, for instance, doesn’t mean that you’ve lost. Another blogger’s success and growth doesn’t mean that there isn’t any success or growth left for me. There is plenty to go around and in fact, if we help each other instead of comparing ourselves to each other, we’ll all have more of it.
Re-evaluate your feelings
One way that helps me stop comparing, especially with dating, is to remind myself of what I actually want. Am I looking for a relationship because it’s truly what I’m ready for? Or am I antsy because my friends are all taken? Or because my family is pressuring me? Or because society has hammered into my brain that because I’m in my 30’s “its time”.
Shut the door on all the noise and instead ask yourself what your own priorities are. What do you actually want right now? How do you want to be spending your free time? On first dates making small talk? Or pursuing that business plan sitting at the back of your file drawer? Do you want to pursue a relationship with someone? Or figure out your own feelings first?
Are you comparing yourself to people and finding yourself angry or sad? Or do you feel inspired? The act of comparison puts focus on what’s missing in our lives. As a result, we either feel cheated or become motivated. The comparison that helps you is great; by all means, take that inspiration and run. On the flip side, if you’re getting the negative effects, then you definitely need to re-evaluate why it’s bothering you so much and make efforts to address those underlying issues.
Stop comparing and trust your own path
Trust me I get it. Same boat here. Some people go on ONE Internet date and end up marrying the guy (yes, I’ve seen this happen more than once). But at the end of the day, I remind myself, that TIMING is everything. Both parties have to be ready; have to be in a place in life where being in a relationship is a priority, (key word here is BOTH).
Some people go on ONE job interview and get the job. Some people have no issues while being pregnant; some people seem to never struggle or want for the things they get in life.
And that’s great. But that’s not everyone. Comparing yourself to others will only disrupt your peace of mind.
So, revert your gaze from all the social media posts and remind yourself of who you are, what you want. If your current goal includes a relationship, then get out there, date, meet people, stay open, and be you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just know that the people you are meeting are for a reason; the dates that don’t work out and jobs you don’t get are teaching you something.
Pay attention to these life lessons, learn what you can, and keep moving forward on your path. If you must, get on to making comparisons of yourself with yourself. Think about who you used to be and who you are now. Think about what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come. Find gratitude in everything you DO have (versus what you don’t) and find your self-confidence in that. What you are capable of and have done is not the same as anyone else. In fact, there are probably many people out there who want what you have. So, trust the path you’re on, show some self-compassion with whatever you’re struggling with or working towards, and know that you’ll eventually get to where you need to be.
In addition, be sure to be honest with yourself about what you really want. Often, we find ourselves making comparisons because we care what people think, or we see something we never thought of before. Take a step back and reassess. For instance, if you realize that a relationship is not a priority, then don’t fight yourself. Do whatever it is you actually want to do with your time. Do you want to travel more? Go for it. Do you want to work on that business plan idea? Do it. All your experiences will form you into the person you are meant to be, and when you are ready, you’ll truly be ready. No questions asked.
Be patient. Be focused on you. Be confident with your own path.
Do not compare yourself to anyone else.
Featured and Pinnable image courtesy of unsplash.
Sanjana is a physician anesthesiologist, avid traveler, and entrepreneur. She founded The Female Professional in order to give women a voice and a platform to express themselves. With her experiences as a physician, as a CEO of a startup, and as a writer, she understands the struggles and frustrations that women face. She also understands what it takes to move past those things and come out on top. Through this platform, Sanjana aims to empower women to be their best, authentic, selves, achieve work/life balance, and live life to the fullest.