Comparing Yourself To Others
Comparison is a natural human tendency, but it can also be a source of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. The Stoics believed in the power of rational thought and self-control in managing emotions, including the tendency to compare oneself to others.
Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.Seneca
As the Stoic philosopher Seneca said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When we compare ourselves to others, we often focus on their strengths and successes and neglect to see our own. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with our own lives.
The Stoics believed that by understanding and accepting that we are all unique individuals on our own paths, we can learn to let go of the need to compare ourselves to others.
Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of — that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.Ryan Holiday
One technique the Stoics used is called “premeditatio malorum,” or premeditation of evils. This involves taking the time to imagine and prepare for potential negative events or situations, in order to reduce our emotional reactions when they do occur. By preparing for potential challenges and setbacks, we can focus on our own journey and not waste energy comparing ourselves to others.
It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.Marcus Aurelius
Another Stoic technique is called “ataraxia,” or tranquillity, which involves accepting and embracing the present moment without judgment. This can help us to let go of the past and future and focus on the present, reducing feelings of anger and frustration. By embracing the present, we can focus on the present, and not compare our present with others’ past or future.
Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.Marcus Aurelius
In addition, the Stoics believed in the power of “virtue ethics,” or the idea that a virtuous person is one who lives according to moral principles. By striving to live a virtuous life, we can reduce feelings of anger and frustration by understanding that our actions have consequences. By focusing on our own growth and progress, we can let go of the need to compare ourselves to others.
How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?Epictetus
In conclusion, Stoicism offers a powerful set of tools for managing the tendency to compare oneself to others in a constructive way. By understanding that we are all unique individuals on our own paths, and by practising techniques such as premeditation of evils, ataraxia, and virtue ethics, we can embrace our own unique journey and let go of the need to compare ourselves to others.
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