• Anita Chastain, MBA

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others [Guide]

Updated: 3 days ago

The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. Steven Furtick

Here’s the simple truth about comparing yourself to other people:


I've learned that when we compare our life to others, we come up short.


The list of ways we compare ourselves to others is long: Money, relationships, height, weight, careers, cars, personality, friends, and more.


These comparisons steal your happiness and leave you with resentment, jealousy, and anger.

You're filled with inner turmoil and pessimism. You feel unhappy and unfulfilled.

If you want to live a happier life, stop comparing yourself to other people.


In this article, you’ll learn more about how comparing yourself with others hurts you. You’ll also learn practical ways to stop making those comparisons.


6 Reasons Why Comparing Yourself to Others is Bad

There are many reasons it’s a bad idea to compare yourself to others. Here are six of the most important reasons:


It’s harder to do just about anything when you lack self-confidence. You second guess yourself. You wonder if you did the right thing or if you’re even able to do the right thing.

1. You lose self-confidence. Self-confidence —the belief you have in yourself —matters. It’s harder to do just about anything when you lack self-confidence. You second guess yourself.


You wonder if you did the right thing or if you’re even able to do the right thing.


When you feel better about yourself, life is easier.


2. You waste your time. Life isn’t fair. It’s not.


Look around you and you’ll see that some people were born with great hair and a quick wit. Others were gifted with a special talent or skill. They were born with those characteristics and you weren’t. And that’s ok. You have your own unique gifts.


Why criticize yourself for lacking a characteristic you weren’t born with? To criticize yourself for something you weren’t born with serves no purpose but to hurt you.


It wastes your time and makes you feel bad too.


Our comparisons with other people tend to be lopsided. We compare ourselves to someone who has something we don’t have. Making that comparison sets us up for failure.

3. You set yourself up for failure. Our comparisons with other people tend to be lopsided. We compare ourselves to someone who has something we don’t have. Making that comparison sets us up for failure.


There was no upside to making that comparison because the odds were against you to begin with. It’s like making a bet where there’s a 100% chance you will lose.


Being on the losing side of that comparison hurts your self-esteem and self-confidence. It confirms your worst doubts about yourself. Reinforcing your doubts create a cycle that feeds on itself.


You gain nothing in setting yourself up for failure, and there’s a lot to lose.


Your friends and are no longer your friends. Now they’re your rivals. Rather than celebrating their wins with them, you stew in your own resentment and envy.

4. You see others around you as competitors. Your friends and are no longer your friends. Now they’re your rivals. Rather than celebrating their wins with them, you stew in your own resentment and envy.

In 3 Reasons to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others, Dr. Deborah Carr states that social comparisons can make it hard to celebrate others’ success. Jealousy can prevent you from supporting the people around you. Over time, the lack of support can hurt those friendships.


Life is richer and more meaningful when it includes people we can count on. Losing their support hurts.


Think long and hard about what their loss will mean in your life.


A large part of our happiness and well-being depends on one thing: Our ability to recognize what we can control and what we can’t.

5. You invest mental effort in things you can’t control. A large part of our happiness and well-being depends on one thing:


Our ability to recognize what we can control and what we can’t.


The time and energy you spend trying to control things you have no control over leaves you with a missed opportunity:


You missed the opportunity for more happiness, meaning, or fulfillment in your life. For example, you could have called a friend, gone for a walk, or signed up for a class to learn something new.


It's important to understand and accept that you can't control certain things in life. And, if you do try to control them, you end up frustrated, angry, and discouraged. In short, you end up creating a whole new set of problems.

Put your time and energy where it will make a difference. If you can't control it, let it go and move on.


6. You create a habit that’s hard to break. The Cambridge Dictionary describes a habit as “Something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it.”


When self-comparison becomes a habit, like other habits, it’s hard to break.


It’s like hitting yourself in the head over and over. If you do it often enough, it becomes a habit. And an unhealthy one at that.


So, what can you do to break this habit?


8 Practical Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

It is possible to stop yourself from social comparisons. Here are the techniques I use to stop comparing myself to other people:


1. Remind yourself that social comparison is bad for you. This is the starting point. You must believe that comparing yourself to other people hurts you in the long run.

If you don’t believe it hurts you, there’s no motivation to stop.


Neutralize comparisons by following them with a positive or action-oriented thought.

2. Neutralize a comparison by following it with a more productive thought. Neutralize comparisons by following them with a positive or action-oriented thought.


For example, assume a coworker got a promotion and you didn't. Instead of feeling discouraged, create a plan to achieve your career goals.


Creating a plan shifts your mindset from negativity and passivity to positivity and action.


When you feel good about yourself, there’s less reason to compare yourself to someone else.


3. Focus on what you have to be grateful for, not what you’re missing. This is one of the best ways to recenter yourself when you feel like you're missing something that someone else has.


Gratitude is a powerful tool for changing how you feel about yourself or your situation.

I can remember being stuck in a traffic jam in my old beat-up car a few years ago. I looked with envy at the shiny, new, SUV's around me.

I was jealous they had a nice new car and I didn’t.

That jealousy distracted me from an important priority I had set in my life – to avoid debt. So, I reminded myself that my old beat-up car was paid for and reliable.

Gratitude completely changed how I felt in that situation. Instead of being jealous of the new cars around me, I was thankful to have a reliable car and no car payment.

As the years have passed, I've grown a lot in my awareness of and appreciation for gratitude. I've learned that being grateful changes your whole perspective, not just how you see yourself but also how you see your life.


It helps you have more appreciation for what you have and less concern about what you believe you're missing.

4. Spend less time on social media. Don’t compare your life to the lives you see on social media. Why? Because you’re seeing a piece of their life and only the part they want you to see.


Most of the time people don't share their insecurities or challenges on social media. You see the good, not the bad.


We all struggle in life. We all have challenges. So, don't look at someone else's life and think how much better it is than yours. You're not seeing everything.

But here's the thing:


We all struggle in life. We all have challenges. So, don't look at someone else's life and think how much better it is than yours. You're not seeing everything.


Keep a balanced perspective about what you see on social media. Spending less time on social media can help you keep a more balanced perspective too.


Positive thinking doesn’t eliminate life's challenges, but it does make it easier to deal with them.

5. Fill your life with positivity. If you could change how you felt by thinking more positive thoughts, would you do it? I know I would… and I do. Positive thinking doesn’t eliminate life's challenges, but it does make it easier to deal with them.


Research shows that positive thinking is good for your physical and mental health. So, how do you become a more positive thinker?


Here are a few ideas:

  • Focus more on the positives in life than the negatives.

  • Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself and who value you for the person you are.

  • Fill your social media feeds with inspiring and uplifting messages.

  • Spend less time watching the news.

  • Do more of the things you enjoy and less of the things you don't.

In short, choose to fill your life with positivity, instead of negativity.


We’re often harder on ourselves than we are on the people around us.

6. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. We’re often harder on ourselves than we are on the people around us. Talk to yourself using language that is kind and compassionate. Don’t be so quick to criticize yourself or to see yourself in a bad light.


Be nice to yourself. Stop spewing negative self-talk and quit comparing yourself to other people.


Think about it:


Would you say those same things to someone else when they talk about their life? Would you encourage them to make the same comparison you are making? I doubt you or most other people would.


Be nice to yourself. Show yourself the kindness and compassion you would give someone else.


Create actionable, realistic plans to help you achieve the life you want.

7. Build the life you want. You are the architect of your life. Own that role.


You make decisions every day about what you will do or not do. Use that power to create a life that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.


Decide what you want, then create actionable, realistic plans to help you achieve your goals. Along the way, accept and learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes. But don't judge your mistakes and successes against someone else's life.

Judge your progress based on your own goals and expectations. They're the only ones that matter.


It’s your life, treat yourself fairly. Measure your progress against your own goals and expectations.


If you can’t control it, you can’t change it. It’s as simple as that.

8. Let go of things you can’t control. If you can’t control it, you can’t change it. You can do your best to cope with the situation given the circumstances that you're dealing with, but that all you can do. It’s as simple as that.


Here's a good example of how to cope with something you can control:


We all know that we can't control the weather. We're stuck with days that are sunny, and days that it rains. You know that you can't prevent the rain, so you accept the rainy days when they happen. And when it does rain, you cope with it by carrying an umbrella to stay dry.


That’s all you can do.


You can’t argue with mother nature, and wishing for a sunny day won’t make the rain go away. So you accept what you can't control (the weather) and cope with the situation (the rain) by carrying an umbrella.


Stop trying to control things you can’t control. The effort does little more than set you up for failure.


You'll be more successful if you work on responding to the situation instead of trying to control the factors that created the situation.


A lot of our happiness has to do with how we feel about ourselves. You can either think and act in ways that create more happiness in your life or in ways that drag you down.

Summary

A lot of our happiness has to do with how we feel about ourselves and our situation. I believe we have the power to make choices that create more happiness in our life. We also have the power to make choices that drag us down.


One of the worst ways that we drag ourselves down is by comparing what we have to what other people have. These types of comparisons make us feel worse and direct our time and energy toward the wrong thing.


Once you stop comparing yourself to others, you may find yourself enjoying life a lot more.

How do you break the habit of comparing yourself to others? Email me at anita (@) simplelife365.com and let me know.

Related articles:

25 Simple Happiness Habits

25 Best Questions to Find Your Authentic Self

Feeling Discouraged? 36 Inspiring Quotes to Lift You Up

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