Don't compare yourself to others

I know how tempting comparing our life to that of a friend, co-worker, or neighbor can be.

He has a BMW and I don't.

She has a Louis Vuitton purse, but I don't.

They have beautiful children, but we don't have any.

If you're constantly comparing your life to others', you'll never be truly happy. Why?

Chances are, there will always be something someone has that you don't.

I've talked in other posts about how people's need for approval can prompt them to act, dress, and live like their peers, even if it isn't what they really want to do.

It doesn't matter whether they incur loads of debt or go against their core values as a result. Some people cannot resist the urge to keep up with those Joneses.

The pressure to conform to societal norms is alive and real. But no one says you have to succumb to it.

Do things -- whether it's buy a fancy car, dress in a certain style of clothes, or have children -- because you want to, not because it's what expected of you.

People will always want you to follow in their footsteps because it validates their own interests, beliefs, and opinions.

But you're your own person -- with your own set of likes and dislikes. To follow the herd mentality is to betray the values you hold dear.

Maybe you don't want to eat meat because you're big on animal welfare. Maybe you don't want to drive a car because of potentially harmful effects to the environment. Perhaps you're opposed to drinking because you hate the taste of alcohol or stopped imbibing ever since your friend, a heavy drinker himself, died of liver cancer. Maybe you would rather live a childfree life because you want to maintain peace and quiet in your household.

These are all legitimate reasons for breaking such societal norms, but it isn't as if you have to justify your decisions and views to anyone. If they just can't accept that you want to do something differently -- likely out of insecurity -- they don't deserve you in their life.

When someone does something differently, it gives some people pause. They may question whether they themselves are making the right decisions or following the right trends. Psychologically, it's always easier to single out others as weird and play it safe by following the crowd.

Let your true self shine through. We only have one life to live. We might as well present an authentic version of ourselves to the world than a fabricated one meant to appease the masses.

Be you. Be unique. Take pride in yourself!

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