This is one of the most common mistakes we see in the game today and a reason you may not be confident in yourself and slow in your progression. It is a lot easier said than done like anything in this world. Especially with today's environment of constant social media use, the quick gratification online, people posting the "highlights" in their life always. It is tough to step away and not compare yourself and want more out of yourself, trust me I totally understand. When you see kids your age committing to NCAA D1 schools at 15,16,17,18 years old and you are getting nothing. It makes you feel worthless or if you are not as good. Which is understandable.
But, the constant worry, the energy you spend on worrying about others, comparing yourself to others or always trying to one-up that person next to you or to the person you see online. Could be energy spent bettering yourself on and off the ice. That energy you use to "show off" could be used to shoot thirty more pucks that day, or spend 20 more minutes stick handling, or spend 1 hour watching an NHL game. The point here is, you are WASTING time and energy looking around you, surfing through Instagram or Twitter or whatever social media you use when you could be using that time for the greater good.
Constant self comparison is extremely detrimental not only to your mental health but overall health as well. You know the story of those people on Wall Street or those sales people who are always trying to one-up what someone at the office did or their competitor did. Therefore they spend endless nights trying to perfect their pitch, stay in the office too late, put substances into their body to perform quicker and last longer in the day. In the end they gain weight, develop a disease, have heart problems, have high blood pressure and now are stressing out about that. That is exactly the habit you are creating in yourself when you sit on social media or constantly sit there and think about all the "good" other people have in life or the stuff other people have that you do not have. Look at what you have in your life, look at the good in your life. You have a bed I am assuming, a computer or iPhone (if you are reading this) which means Internet connection as well, you may have good health, the ability to see, read, hear, write, walk, etc. You have a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, people in your life to support whether that is parents or friends. You have way more than you think you have, therefore if Tim on social media has the top of the line CCM stick or access to the top of the line hockey trainer, or whatever it may be. Great for them, sometimes you need to create your own top of the line equipment and be your own top of the line trainer. At the end of the day you have way more to be thankful in your life than you know. You just have to see it and consistently try to see the good in every situation.
The time will come when you are going to compare yourself to others, it happens. In some situations comparing yourself to others may be useful for motivational purposes or it can be detrimental. It all depends on how YOU see things and react to things in life. I even use comparison to help motivate me constantly. But, I do not compare myself to Auston Matthews, a 21-year-old NHL super star when I am 23-years-old and not even close to an NHL superstar, but that is fine. See if I compared myself to Matthews I would probably be miserable everyday of my life! There is good to comparing yourself to others but you need to know how to use it. For me, I always tell myself when I am working out early, eating right that at 40-years-old this will pay off and when I can have a catch with my kid and still coach/skate at 40-years-old while other 40-years-old will be 100 lbs over weight it'll be worth it.
Comparison is very tough for young players, I coached a group of 14-year-old's this season who for their age were either a little late in the puberty time or just getting started in it. So, whenever we played bigger or faster teams they would always compare themselves to the opposing teams and immediately count themselves out for the game. I would say when we played those teams, we watched and did not play. Because when the other team is warming up and you see how big and fast they are and you are thinking "man these kids are my age and I am 5 inches shorter, 70 lbs lighter and slower. I am going to get killed!" It happens all the time even at the NHL level. You see some 4th line guys playing against Nikita Kucherov probably thinking "this is Kucherov I can't keep up with him." Therefore before you even try, mentally you already lost the fight!
I hope this makes more sense to people and makes you second guess yourself next time you compare yourself to players your age, opposing teams or even your friends and family. It is all a mental game, you compare yourself and think of yourself as worse or not as superior or "good" as the person next to you, you already checked out for the day. One simple thing I like to use as an example. Think about a job opening, the application list some qualifications, you meet about half of them but the other half you clearly do not meet. Therefore you sit and look at the application and look at ALL the things you do not qualify for instead of the things you do qualify for. You don't apply, someone else gets the job that you know and you think, if that person got the job than I could of! This is all a mental game, instead just like that application next time you are playing vs a team better or a player better than you think about what you have and make the most of your positive aspects!
Comparison can be a dream killer but always at the end of the day no matter what, realize that you have full control over what goes into your mind and how you perceive it. Therefore do not let comparison kill you, use it to fuel you and better you if anything!