Comparing ourselves can be a good thing. Looking at someone that inspires us and motivates us is good for our own lives. Just like anything else, however, too much of it or the wrong perspective can be a bad thing and this is especially true when comparing. If comparing leaves you feeling insecure, inadequate, or depressed about your own situation, then you need to learn how to stop comparing yourself to others. Here are eight essentials you need to know.
Why Do We Compare Ourselves To Others?
Before we get into the how I’d like to discuss the why. Why do we compare ourselves anyway? Well, according to Leon Festinger’s Theory of Social Comparison Processes, people tend to compare themselves with other people in order to evaluate their opinion and ability. Comparing is “built-in” so to speak. That’s not inherently a bad thing either. We can use comparison information for things like motivation that will help us to improve, or to learn socially acceptable or unacceptable behavior.
Comparison is not bad unless we overdo it. People who constantly compare themselves can ultimately feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled in their lives when they really should not be. If you can honestly say that comparing yourself to others is affecting your life negatively, then read on.
Comparison Trap Dangers
I mentioned a few reasons already for how comparing ourselves to others can negatively impact our lives. Here are a few others.
Comparing Steals Your Joy
You can’t really enjoy your own life if you are thinking about the lives of others. The quote, “Comparison is the thief of all joy,” is true. No matter how happy or accomplished you are, you will be unable to enjoy it if you are looking at someone else.
You Can’t Focus on Your Own Path
You are running your own race. You need to focus on your own path, otherwise, you’ll trip and fall. Someone once said you have been equipped with all the tools and resources for your own life and challenges. You are not equipped to live someone else’s life or be like someone else.
It Makes You Feel Less Important
If you compare yourself to other people, you feel less important than them. This can cause all kinds of issues such as letting people take advantage of you or missing out on opportunities.
How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
1 – Remember What It Is Costing You
When you catch yourself comparing yourself to others, stop and think about what it is costing you. Is it costing you your peace of mind and gratitude? Are you upset, sad, jealous, or angry? Is it costing you your confidence and self-esteem? Are you down on yourself or feel inadequate because of it?
I knew this woman who had a beautiful home. Who had a great family, and a successful career. She made it all on her own and was very proud of herself that she was able to accomplish so much at a young age. One day one of her friends purchased a brand new home that cost more than hers and she just fell deep into a comparison trap. She was extremely bothered that her friend’s home was newer and fancier and she totally forgot all the amazing things she accomplished and forgot about the beautiful home she had built for herself. That pride she had felt was replaced by anger and inadequacy.
I don’t know about you but that seems like a high price to pay. Is falling into a comparison trap worth it to you? Stop comparing yourself to others by remembering what it is costing you.
2 – Think About What You’ll Gain When You Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
On the flip side of the last tip, try to think about what you’ll gain if you can stop comparing yourself to others. You’ll have peace of mind and be more grateful for what you have. You can be a more supportive friend and family member when you are not in that comparison trap.
You can also focus on improving yourself and reaching your goals. Comparing takes up much of your time and energy. Instead of spending that time and energy on others use it on yourself. Get super focused on improving your situation if that is what needs to happen or super focused on gratitude for what you have and what you have already accomplished.
3 – Think About Your Great Qualities and Accomplishments
If you want to stop comparing yourself to others, focus on what you bring to this world and the things that you have accomplished. You have strengths and talents that no other person has. Comparing has a way of making us forget that. You have also accomplished so much in your life. I love this question:
“What do you have now, that you used to dream of having?”
For me, it is my home. I used to dream of having a house like I have now and I force myself to ask that question almost every day to keep me grounded. It’s crazy how when we achieve something we quickly forget it. What have you accomplished? Did you learn a new skill? Do you have an amazing home or a loving relationship? Did you dream about being a parent or having the job you have now? Stop comparing yourself to others and instead compare what you once dreamed about having with what you have now.
4 – Practice Gratitude To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
When you practice being grateful, it keeps you focused and grounded on what you have in your life. No matter how far away you are from your goals and dreams, you realize that you have some amazing things in your life to be thankful for.
I mentioned in the last tip that I ask myself each day, “What did I used to dream of having, that I have now?” That is a great start to practicing gratitude but you can go further.
Take a moment each morning, and each evening going through the things you are grateful for in your mind. Every little thing you can think of counts and will help you avoid the comparison trap. I go through a list of things every morning. From being grateful that I woke up, to the challenges I am currently facing that will make me better.
If you want to power up your gratitude, I also suggest grabbing yourself a good gratitude journal. Writing things down helps to reinforce gratitude.
5 – Stop Comparing Yourself To Others by Staying Positive
You may not be exactly where you want to be at the moment but you will get there. You have to keep a positive mind and stay optimistic. Keep your eye on the prize. Just like practicing gratitude, practicing positivity takes a proactive approach. A great way to stay positive and be proactive about it is with positive affirmations.
Think for a moment of the things you say to yourself when you are comparing. “I can never look like that?” “I wish I was that talented and popular.” “If only I can have my stuff together like they do.”
Words and thoughts like this will keep us negative and down in the dumps. Instead, use positive words, and thoughts when you find that you are comparing. You can say things like, “I may not be where I want to be right now, but I’m getting there,” or “I’m good enough just the way I am.” Keep your mind steered towards the positive as much as you can. Being positive all the time is not possible but you can work to be positive most of the time and affirmations are a great way to do this.
6 – Realize Comparing is Unrealistic and Unfair
You have to realize that when you compare, it’s usually unfair and unrealistic. You typically compare someone else’s best with your worst. It’s apples and oranges. Trust me, they may have things in their life that you want, but I bet there are many other things they have that you want no part of. You may also not see all of the failures the other person has experienced. People you look up to and admire typically aren’t born the way they are. They were in your shoes once before, they struggle like you are struggling. You’ll get there. Just keep things in perspective.
7 – Consider It’s All A Sham To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
In this age of Social Media, nothing is real anymore. A culture of “pretending” has emerged and the name of the game is “Be Better Than Everyone Else.” Don’t play this game. Consider that the person you are comparing yourself to is hiding their true self. Most influencers, celebrities, and even people living next door to you put on a show. Behind, closed doors, however, they aren’t what they pretend to be.
Getting you to compare yourself and feel bad about where you are now is big business. For example, there are countless stories of fitness model scams trying to sell programs on how to get buffed or build a bigger booty because hey, it worked for them. In reality, many of these people just use steroids or other less-than-honest means to get more attention on social media so they can sell you hope. Don’t buy into the hype. That’s not to say that there aren’t real people out there who want to help you to get better and be better but more often than not, it’s a sham.
8 – Start Comparing Yourself to Yourself
Instead of looking at where you are compared to others, look at where you are now compared to where you were in the past. Look at where you were compared to where you were one year ago or five years ago. When you want to stop comparing yourself to others you have to start comparing yourself to yourself.
When you do this, you’ll realize that you are always improving. You are always getting better. Even though you may still fall short of where you want to be, you’re moving forward. You’re growing. You’re becoming stronger. You’re learning. You’re gaining wisdom. You’re making progress.
Comparing yourself to others is not going to go away overnight. What you’ll find, however, is that as you work on these strategies, over time, comparing won’t have the same negative effects that it once had. You’ll be more inspired and motivated rather than depressed and self-deprecating. Stop comparing yourself to others by remembering what it’s costing you, thinking about what you’ll gain if you stop, thinking about your great qualities and accomplishments, and practicing gratitude. You can also try to stay positive, realize comparing is unfair and unrealistic, consider it’s all a sham, and by comparing yourself to yourself.
How have you struggled with comparison? Let me know in the comments.