Comparing yourself to others is something that just about everyone does. Some of us do it more than others. It’s an easy thing to do and we often do it without realising and it is a very hard habit to break. It can bring a confident person down and for someone with low self-esteem, it can be absolute torture.
I compare myself a LOT to other people and I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. I do it over little things, things that have no real significance like handwriting. I compare myself to people I admire and people I don’t. And I can tell you it is exhausting and painful. I can also tell you that it doesn’t help in self-improvement either at least in my experience. I compare myself to people who’ve achieved something before me and even if/when I achieve that same thing it still doesn’t make me feel any better because they got there quicker than me and that makes me feel pathetic and like a failure. If I have a crush on some guy and he chooses another girl over me I compare myself to that girl and think if I was as pretty as her or as funny as her he would have chosen me or other boys would. Thinking this way about myself has not helped with my self-esteem if anything it lowers it every time I give into it because I always find something else to compare.
However, all is not lost as there are ways of combatting this problem:
- Be aware of your thoughts. The thing about these thoughts of comparison is that we think them without actually realising it which is how it becomes such a habit in the first place. Becoming aware of these thoughts and the harm they can cause you will help you start to break the cycle.
- Understand that comparison is usually unfair. For example, I can’t compare my cooking skills to a professional chef’s because they have years of training and experience that I don’t. But that doesn’t mean I’m terrible at it or that I should never cook or try to get better at it.
- Know your own achievements. We tend to undermine our own success when we compare it to that of someone else which is a skewed way to think about them. When you think of your accomplishments, think only about them and focus on your strengths. Remember that you have potential and you should go on at your own pace.
- Focus on the greater things. Life is not all about money or recognition. You could be beautiful, rich and famous but these aren’t much without true character behind them. Love, kindness and empathy are just some of the greater things in life.
- Remember that nobody is perfect. No matter how attractive, intelligent or talented a person may seem they will have their flaws just like you and everyone else. Don’t focus on your negative traits but realise that you’re human and are prone to mistakes and imperfection and learn to be ok with that. You’ve got to take the bad with the good.