How do everyone else live their lives

Why comparisons with others make you unhappy

One can think of comparisons with others as broken and fall into chronic self-hatred. Fortunately, I'm no longer 14, but 29 and, compared to before, I'm now happy to be myself and no one else. A very uplifting feeling. So maybe getting older alone does a lot.

Apart from the fact that you already have one yourself, you cannot copy biographies

But I still don't have it completely under control. At three o'clock in the night I sometimes sit pale and crooked in front of my laptop and google like an obsessed person who are my age and do things similar to me or who have decided on paths in life that I could imagine. "What, she has two children, is only 30 and is already working on the seventh film?", "She did it right, just emigrated", "And if I had just studied painting?", "Oh God, I would have just got a doctorate / to open a restaurant / to study medicine ”moments.

It's crazy to seriously want to be another person. Apart from the fact that you already have one yourself, you can't copy biographies and usually don't want to do it one-on-one. However, just taking details of a person as an example is not particularly helpful either. It's really bad with writing styles. I read books or texts and think: “This is how you should write!” Then I read someone else and think: “No, like that!” Another one: “No like that!” And so on. And then I start a text and can only write it the way I write it.

The good thing is that here, at the latest, the vicious circle of comparing with others finally begins to reveal itself as great stupidity: The people, biographies, talents that I envy and that I would also like to have and with whom I fail miserably during my comparative attacks contradict each other .

Even if you could swap with someone, you wouldn't be anyone else

If I envy writing style number 1 and plan to only write like this from now on, I cannot write at the same time as envied writing style number 2, because then it is no longer a style and certainly not mine. Likewise, I can't get annoyed that I'm not the successful entrepreneur who already had two children at the age of 21 and still manages to get everything done, and at the same time want to be the 31-year-old single woman who leads a crazy bird-free life as an artist. No matter who I swap with, I wouldn't be anyone else. Person AB envies person BC envies person CD and so on. Nobody is the whole alphabet.

But sometimes it mistakenly feels like that, and maybe that's the problem. At half past two at night you read all the great Wikipedia articles, interviews, obituaries, essays, résumés, blurbs of people who have made it to something much earlier than you, be it an extended family, world literary fame or honest insight that only a life as a Tai Chi monk in the middle of rice fields is the real thing.

In eternal comparison with others you become the five-year-old defiant version of yourself again and think things like "They all always have everything and I never have anything!"

At some point it is as dazzling as scrolling through the Instagram feed for hours: In the scrolling trance, all the images of the many, many others merge into a single great super life that is only one thing, and that is your own. You then become the five-year-old defiant version of yourself again and think things like “They always have everything and I never have anything!”.

And what you tend to forget anyway is that stories are always more glamorous than reality. The fact that the life of others really feels so much better from the inside than your own, even as shiny as it looks in the photos or sounds in the texts, is one thing above all in 98 percent of cases: fake news.

Which would actually be nice: To be presented anonymously to yourself, to envy yourself hotly and deeply for a lot and then someone would tear down the curtain and say: But that's you!

But it doesn't work somehow. Or only sometimes, at the height of the summer rush of white wine spritzer, in short, beautiful moments, called happiness, very seldom seen, but when it is, then blatant. Most of the time, you're just hanging out in the present as normal, side by side with the most loyal of all friends, the chronic self-doubt.

The good thing is, most of them feel the same way. Maybe even worse. Perhaps the very ones you never would have thought would. Thinking about it helps a lot.

If it still doesn't help, you have to throw in the aspirin among the medication against self-doubt and just think of people who are less on it than you are. And then of course the old grandpa saying always applies anyway: Just be yourself, because the others already exist.

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