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I Discovered the Key to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

I compared myself to the character I developed in my head

By: Rachael Dionisio

Photo of a girl looking in the mirror to see multiple reflections in different colors
Graphic By: Alicia Chiang

Being the “thief of joy,” comparison is a corrupt, endless cycle that may seem impossible to break. However, it is possible, and I’ve cracked the code on how to combat the feeling that you’ll never be them.

First, it is crucial to understand the cycle: the person you are comparing yourself to is actively comparing themself to someone else, and someone else is actively comparing themself to you. No one is ever completely content with who they are. If this phenomenon isn’t reassuring enough, think hard about these so-called dream lives you idolize. Do you even know these people on a personal level? Or did you create a persona of them in your head?

It is equally important to acknowledge that social media is extremely deceiving. The image someone attempts to own and display on the internet is probably inaccurate. Everyone tries to portray themselves in the best light, making their lives seem more interesting and glamorous than they actually are. As cliche as it sounds, you may be convinced that someone has their life together, but you never truly know what they are dealing with behind closed doors.

I once glamorized someone whom I knew personally, but not well. I thought that if I lived their life, I would have nothing to complain about. I was jealous of their success, looks, and wit. I even envied their family’s wealth and wished I had the luxuries they did. As it turns out, this person had been struggling with severe depression and anxiety for months and was prescribed a high dosage of an antidepressant. I would have never known because I didn’t actually know them. I just pretended to know them and then compared myself to the character I developed in my head. I quickly realized that this wasn’t fair to me.

We spend so much time wishing we had the personality traits, looks, or intelligence that others have, yet we never appreciate what we bring to the table. It is contradictory and hypocritical to strive to be someone else without taking pride in how far you have come on your own.

In a way, I have become the person that I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve always dreamed about attending a school like Boston University, but I never thought I would actually get here. Upset at my old school, I transferred with the hope that if I had any problems at all, they would at least be justified because I attended BU. I thought I would never have a valid reason to be unfulfilled with my life ever again since BU was my definition of fulfillment. However, moving schools batched a whole new litter of problems. Granted, I am so grateful that I made the decision, as it was the hardest one I have ever made. Nonetheless, I proved myself wrong. I learned that no matter what life changes I make, I’ll never be satisfied.

If embodying someone else who isn’t even content with themselves is counterproductive, we might as well own who we are and take pride in ourselves. What is the point of wanting to be someone who isn’t even content with themselves? We spend so much time pretending to portray a fake persona, yet we lose sight of what makes us each unique. The cycle will never end; however, it is possible to break once and for all.

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