Have you ever wondered if it is possible to stop comparing yourself to others?
We start the comparison game at an early age and everyone does it. It is actually happening in my house right now thanks to our kids.
They compare the speed at which they can brush their teeth. Get dressed. Race down the stairs.
After dinner, they compare the sizes of their stomach. He Whose Stomach Bulges the Most is King of the Castle.
It’s cute and sometimes exasperating to see how they measure themselves against each other. Their sense of identity seems tied up in who can lift their bed the highest.
Maybe your sense of identity is also tied up in how you compare to others. Let’s talk about how to stop comparing yourself to others.
The effect of comparing yourself to others
It is part of human nature to compare yourself to others. According to Social Comparison Theory, comparison to others is how we evaluate ourselves. We measure our own abilities against that of others to give us an idea of how we are doing.
It could be the incentive you need to bring about changes in your own life when you see someone else’s achievements. On the other hand, seeing how well you are doing in comparison, can give your self-esteem a little boost.
But if you find that often you feel bad, envious or discouraged, it is time to stop comparing yourself to others.
1. Live more intentionally
To live with intention simply means that you pay attention to your life and what you are doing.
Every day is a new opportunity to choose actions and make decisions to support you in being the person you want to be.
I’ve found that since living more intentionally, I don’t really care to compare myself to others so much.
It’s most likely because when you live intentionally, you are consciously living in alignment with your values and goals.
When you are being mindful, and you focus on living the present moment instead of the future or the past, you begin to feel happier.
2. Develop your sense of self
When we fall into the trap of always measuring ourselves against people around us, we end up feeling either inferior or superior to others.
Basically, this habit of comparing yourself to others is driven by an underlying sense of not being enough. We have a deep-seated belief that who we are is not enough. And we want to confirm if this is true or not by seeing how others are doing.
Your sense of self is the perception you have of yourself.
When you have a strong sense of self, you can get a more realistic evaluation of yourself. Your perception is not colored by insecurities, memories of past failures or wishful thinking.
Develop a stronger sense of self by learning to silence your inner critic. Start to believe in your own abilities. Set small goals for yourself that you can achieve and acknowledge your success when you achieve them.
3. Just stop comparing yourself to others
A guaranteed way to make you feel bad about yourself is to compare yourself to others.
Seeing someone else’s new job, lovely home, obedient children or big bank account and thinking that it is better than what we have, makes us unhappy. It causes us to have anxiety and stress and it drags us down into a spiral of negative thinking.
Our habitual way of thinking creates neural pathways in our brain, which is the brain’s way of saving effort and being more efficient. Even if you have hardwired this behavior, it is possible to break the habit of comparing yourself to others.
Each time you catch yourself that you compare yourself to others, change what you are thinking. For example, instead of thinking “So-and-so is better off than me” remind yourself that you don’t really know what is going on in their lives.
When you see someone else perform a task or achieve a goal that leaves you feeling inferior, look for something in your own life to be grateful for or proud of.
Live a self-directed life
Make the decision today to stop comparing yourself to others and to start living mindfully and with intention.
It’s funny to watch little kids compare themselves to see who is the best. But when we are adulting, it becomes tragic when we allow our sense of self-worth to be dictated by how we measure ourselves against others.
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