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Teaching Kids About Comparison

March 21, 2022
Image From: ljubaphoto from Getty Images Signature/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

Have you ever heard the saying, “Keeping up with the Joneses?” We all do it from time to time, we try to “keep up” with the community around us – with the latest trends, cool holidays, fun parties. As we see that old friend from high school post about their most recent luxury vacation, the green eyed monster of jealousy seems to just take over and we begin wondering why we can’t have their life!? It’s not fair!!!  Especially with the impact that social media has these days, it’s hard to avoid seeing how “great” others appear to be doing!! Though… is it the whole story?  And… is sending out the message that “your life is so great and glamorous” really THAT important?  

Our opinion: Of course not!! Not if it’s a waste of money and not actually making you happy.

The issue with comparison (and especially comparing ourselves to others) is that we often forget that everybody has different versions of happiness. While some of us are happy traveling the world, others might be happy spending their money on growing a farm. Comparison has been said to be the thief of joy and, in my opinion, this couldn’t be more true. 

Comparison fogs our vision, preventing us from finding contentment and loving the life we have been blessed with. We all have different loves, passions, and talents.  Perhaps, instead of comparing ourselves to others, we can compare ourselves… to ourselves!  Look at yourself last year (or 5 years ago) versus today… how have things improved or declined?  What can you work on to be a “better you”? 

Kids are often comparing themselves to others.  Growing up, it can be easy to question your self-worth and your “place in the world”.  Do you really “belong” or do you feel like you’re an “imposter”?  These feelings can be very common and normal.  Teaching your children about contentment from a young age will likely follow them to adulthood, helping them find happiness with the life they have and preventing them from falling into debt while trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” A few tips for helping your child (and yourself!) combat comparison include:

  • Teaching them that their best is good enough 
  • Celebrating personal growth rather than the end results
  • Encouraging them to set and pursue goals THEY want to accomplish
  • Encouraging them to embrace their uniqueness
  • Having them name three things they love about themselves daily. 

When a person focuses on their own goals, their own talents, and their own passions, they will be less likely to get caught up in the comparison game.  Additionally, we don’t want to be obsessed with comparing ourselves to others, because, we only see a “filtered” version of others.  People often show of their “best” moments… while, with ourselves, we see every moment!  This isn’t a fair comparison.  

We all have a unique version of success and happiness. Getting caught up in trying to conform to society’s version of success will only leave a person feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. Let’s teach both our children and ourselves that our best IS good enough, what we have IS enough, and our goals ARE something worth pursuing.  Are you working hard to be the best version of “you”?  Remember, that’s enough.  You are awesome!!

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