How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparing ourselves to others is probably something we’ve all done at least once. We look at other people’s lives and wonder why our lives aren’t any better.

We see what other people have and wish we had that. As I reflected on how much I’ve done it, I notice it’s been a lot less as I’ve gotten older.

It’s actually been hypothesized by researchers that we start comparing ourselves to our past more as we age.

As I was researching this topic, there was something else I discovered that was interesting.

I was reading a Psychology Today article titled “The Comparison Trap”, and apparently, making comparisons with others can be a good thing sometimes.

We can choose to look to others as inspiration for the type of person that we want to be someday. I’ll give you two examples of mine:

  • One of my favorite athletes is Cam Newton. I admire how much fun he has being himself and expressing his personality. I’ve thought to myself, “Wow, that’s the kind of comfort I want to have being me.”
  • I’ve admired people who I thought were really smart. I wanted to develop my mind to think more deeply like they do.

So, comparison isn’t always a bad thing, if you use it in a positive way by letting it motivate you. If you use it in a negative way to feel down on yourself, then you need to work on stopping that.

Here are some simple ideas that might help you.

Paper with words don't compare yourself to others. How to stop comparing yourself to others

1. Know the cause and avoid it.

I saw this tip in another Psychology Today article on making comparisons and thought it was a great starting place.

As the old saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t see something to compare yourself to, you’re less likely to do it.

Think about the situations where you find yourself entering the battlefield of comparison. In this day and age, the most common place that’s our battlefield is social media.

When scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, it can be a fight not to think someone else’s life is better than yours.

  • I can only imagine the number of women who felt they weren’t pretty enough looking at heavily edited Instagram photos.
  • The countless number of men who felt down on themselves for not having the successful career or the beautiful woman they see others have.

For some people, limiting social media may help significantly reduce their desire to compare.

Think of other places you often do it. Maybe you feel insecure when you see other people in really good shape at the gym.

You can choose to workout alone at home or run in your neighborhood. Wherever you feel the desire to make a negative comparison with yourself, try to avoid it if possible.

Out of sight, out of mind.

2. Focus on working on yourself

I mentioned earlier that researchers hypothesized we compare ourselves to our past as we get older. But of course, you don’t have to wait until you get older.

You can start focusing on doing work on yourself and tracking your progress over time. Here are some questions you can ask yourself.

  • Is the person you are now better than the person you were before?
  • If not, think about what improvements you’d like to make. Do you want to be more diligent in your work? Are you wanting to be in better shape?

Create a plan to tackle these things you feel insecure about. With being more diligent, you could decide to schedule specific times in your day to work.

With getting in shape, you could start following an exercise routine and learn how to eat better.

Think about something you’re good at or feel proud about. Do you ever find yourself comparing your best attribute to other people?

I would guess probably not that often. If that’s the case, then if you improve on the things you feel insecure about, you’ll feel less of a need to negatively compare yourself to others.

3. Recognize your positive traits

One of the main reasons we make negative comparisons is we don’t feel good about ourselves. Working on yourself is one way to tackle that.

The other way is to start recognizing your positive traits. Do you remember Muhammad Ali?

He used to always say to himself, “I’m the greatest.” Now I know some people might find that arrogant. But is it coincidence he’s recognized as one of the greatest boxers of all time now?

If you don’t feel comfortable calling yourself the greatest, that’s fine. I don’t call myself that either.

But I do however recognize that I’m a pretty darn good writer. I do recognize that I’m a smart person.

What positives do you recognize are true about yourself? Remind yourself of those things as often as you need to. Be your own greatest supporter.

The better you choose to feel about yourself, the less you’ll care to negatively compare yourself with others.

4. Be grateful

The one thing many of us can feel down about is seeing others who have more than we do.

The thing that gets lost in focusing on what others have is not appreciating what we have.

There are those in this world who don’t enjoy a roof over the head, a bed, or a regular meal.

We can be very grateful if we’re fortunate enough to have our needs met.

There are also things that we wanted that we do have now. Remind yourself to be grateful for those things as well.

With so much you already do have, you may realize you don’t need all that other stuff people have. You might even feel you need less of it.

If that feeling comes to you, here’s how you can start becoming a minimalist.

5. Know that everyone’s journey is different

One of the great illusions in life is thinking we’re supposed to be at a certain point at a certain time in our lives.

I’ve known many people who all thought they’d be out of the house, married, and with kids by 30.

When that didn’t happen, there was a feeling of not having had success in life. I myself have moments where I felt like I’ve just been wasting my time.

But I came to accept that my journey was never going to be like someone else’s journey. In the same way, your journey will not be like mine.

We all have different sets of challenges that make our time work out differently than others.

Recognizing that can help you stop feeling down about not being where society expects you to be at a certain age.

You’re on your own path to success, and it doesn’t matter where anybody else is in life.

As long as you know you’re putting in the work to get somewhere and be somebody, you can be proud of yourself.

Only use comparison as a tool

As you follow these tips to help you not negatively compare yourself, I want to remind you to use comparison as a tool.

Let others who you admire for what they’ve achieved motivate and inspire you. Don’t let them bring you down.

Use comparison to make you better as a person. At the same time, always remember how good you are and how good you have it.

All of this will help you to feel less down about yourself and start feeling your best.

Nov 2020 long pins

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  1. Hazel Frei-Selby says:

    Hi Eric,

    Just want to say how much I appreciate reading your words.
    Find your articles on various topics
    both make great reading and are
    highly informative.

    So a big thank you for your articles.
    Kindest greetings from Switzerland.

    1. Hi Hazel,

      Thank you for your very kind words. It means a lot to hear that my articles are positively impacting someone. And also to know how far these words are stretching across the globe. I appreciate your loyal readership.

      Kindest greetings from America.

  2. Maria Pinto says:

    Yes today when I hear it may rain I am grateful for a roof over my head, food on my table, comfortable clothing, music to listen to, a good movie, and my cat always there to bring me joy!
    I think to not be comparing yourself to other people you need to cultivate inner peace, to be content with what you have and know that that is enough.
    It is like comparing yourself to your neighbor next door who seems to have it all.
    The beautiful wife, two perfect children, the perfect home, etc. They may also have to not so perfect debt & the stress that goes along with it. Maybe your car is older but it is paid off. Maybe your house needs some work but you are able to do the repairs yourself & save a lot of hard earned money.
    The grass may seem greener but is it?

    1. That’s wonderful, Maria. It really is the simple things in life that we can be thankful and happy for.

      And that’s such a true perspective others often don’t consider. For all the good we may see others have, there may come with it stresses and problems that we have no idea about.

  3. This was lovely to read for a great start to 2024.
    Thank you Eric for this lovely article.
    Kind greeting from Canada!