You may have heard or been told you should stop comparing yourself to others, but that can be difficult.
What others do, often becomes a filter through which we see ourselves, which then can affect our actions. A part of our upbringing is influenced by what other people do.
For example, we may have been told, “This is what so and so did (or achieved).” Or “Why can’t you be more like so and so?”
That becomes a part of our programming. As a result, we have a habit of looking at what others are doing or not doing.
The Consequences of Comparing Yourself to Others
The danger of comparing yourself to others can include:
- It will lead to poor self-esteem.
- It will cause you to waste time and energy on what you cannot change or control.
- It will affect your mental and emotional states.
- It will deprive you of joy.
- It will cause you to believe you’re worse off or better than someone else.
- It can cause you to compensate by seeking approval and validation in unhealthy ways.
- It can make you believe you are not enough the way you are.
- It can cause uncharacteristic behaviours towards others.
When we compare ourselves to others, we’ll rarely conclude we’re exactly the same as them. If we conclude we’re better or worse than someone, we’ve created a distance or separation from them.
The interesting thing is we often only see the results of what someone achieved. We don’t see the struggles, sacrifices or challenges they had to overcome to produce those results.
Therefore, we have to learn to stop comparing ourselves to others.
I used to compare myself to peers who appeared to have progressed further than me. I’d look at how many followers they had or events they’d attend or places they’d visit. I’d wonder what they were doing to achieve those results and question why I hadn’t achieved those type of results.
This caused me to feel disappointed with myself and it also affected my motivation levels. As I’ve continued focusing on my personal growth, I’ve learned to let that go and stop comparing myself.
As my mental, emotional and physical well-being is a top priority, what others are doing or not doing isn’t my concern. All I can do is give attention to what matters to me.
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Even though it can be challenging, there are things you can do to stop comparing yourself to others. Here are five things, if applied consistently, will help you stop comparing yourself to others.
- Accept where you are in life. There is no need to feel frustrated because you are not where you want to be. Learn to accept this is your journey and it will be different to other people’s journeys. Accepting where you are doesn’t mean you have to settle for a life you don’t enjoy. It should be a reminder to acknowledge all your experiences to date.
- Use comparison as a trigger to check in with yourself. When you compare yourself to others, ask yourself, “What’s important to me right now?” Another question you can ask is, “What do I want?” That will take your focus off someone else and bring it back to what matters to you.
- Practice gratitude consistently. As simplistic as this sounds, the practice of gratitude will shift your focus and attitude. Comparison can cause you to focus on what’s missing. Gratitude will cause you to focus on what’s right or going well.
- Acknowledge others will always do things better than you. Everyone has different strengths, skills and natural abilities. Something you may do well may not be something another person does well. Accepting everyone is different and has their flaws and strengths, will free up mental energy and focus.
- Focus on something beyond yourself. This means having a calling or mission that consumes your attention and energy. When you focus on being of service to others, comparing yourself to others will not come into play. This is because you’ll not focus on yourself and what you can get. You’ll focus on what you can give to others.
Things to Do Instead of Comparing Yourself to Others
Here are things you can do instead of comparing yourself to others.
- Set meaningful or exciting goals.
- Do a social media detox.
- Identify skills you want to develop and focus on developing them.
- Maintain a gratitude practice.
- See the good in people and lift others up by being a positive role model.
- Learn from your failures and mistakes.
- Acknowledge yourself for things you did rather than things you didn’t do.
- Develop a higher level of self-awareness by continuously learning.
- Find people who inspire you and learn from them.
The best comparison you can do is to compare yourself to who you were or where you were. Compare yourself to yourself. This will help you acknowledge how far you’ve come, while keeping an eye on where you want to be.
As you learn to stop comparing yourself to others, you’ll have more energy to give to what’s important to you. This will help you create a better life.
Action Step: Next time you compare yourself to others, pause and question what your reasons are. Use it as a trigger to refocus on what you want and give your attention to it.
Question: What are other things you can do to stop comparing yourself to others?