7 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Why You Should
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They say, “A thing of beauty needs no comparison, only an eye to behold it…”
I'm a mid-life woman, and so far I haven’t met any ‘non-comparing’ females in or out of my circle.
And of course that includes me as well 😉
I mean whether we're willing to admit it or not, we're always comparing ourselves!
There’s always the girl who’s (younger and) thinner than you, or the woman whose butt looks better in jeans; someone who’s prettier than you, someone who's smarter or seems to have more.
How about the chick with the gorgeous boyfriend?
And if none of that holds true, there’s definitely someone who has a better job.
No? How about someone who’s more fortunate or happier than you?
Not to mention the lady who has more friends, a nicer home or…. Perhaps a different skill set?
Then there's always the other end of that spectrum. Someone who has it worse…
… And it goes on 😉
And let's be honest...We christian women know better.
But right now, we're talking real talk.
So the question is this, how to stop comparing yourself to others?
And the answer is, simple – stop doing it.
Life is NOT a competition.
Nobody is perfect, and all of us have the potential to be better versions of ourselves.
Comparing Yourself to Others Psychology
The truth is, we are taught the idea of comparing ourselves to others from very young.
This drive to compare ourselves to others was named 'Social Comparison' by social psychologist Leon Festinger, in the 1950s.
According to Festinger’s research, “human beings have the drive to assess their opinions and to know more about their abilities and when they are incapable of evaluating their opinions and abilities, they tend to compare themselves with others.”
Festinger was the first to use the term “Social Comparison”.
Social psychologists Aspinwall and Taylor did research on esteem and comparison, in the 1990s.
Their research showed that depending on someone’s level of motivation and self-worth, comparison can either be Upward or Downward.
- Upward comparison, compels us to compare ourselves with those who are better than us, and
- Downward Comparison urges us to compare ourselves with the ones who are worse than us.
Comparing upwards with a good self-worth can motivate us, but the same can negatively affect our psychological well-being if we have a low self-esteem, and this is where most of us need work.
"Comparing Myself to Others" Anxiety
We can create unnecessary situations of anxiety for ourselves.
We put ourselves down and find fault in ourselves because we see others as possessing the very attributes we wish we had.
The truth is, people have their own struggles underneath whatever they display.
So much in our society is competitive, and we give in to that competitive nature without considering that we’re putting our self-worth at stake.
7 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Instead, we should continually remind ourselves of the following:
1. All of us are notable in a particular sphere. We all have things in us that are worthy (and we should endeavor to magnify those) for which we’re being admired as well.
There’s always someone that is looking at you, admiring your traits. After all, we’re all on the same spectrum. 😉
2. Rather than Compare, Observe to learn and grow. Instead of seeing ourselves in negative comparison against others (having or being more or less than someone else), we can remind ourselves that we’re still learning.
We can choose to emulate that which is truly admirable to learn and grow.
3. We must realize that folks don’t know our insecurities, and we don't know theirs. Seriously.
People have their own insecurities and they’re way too busy with their own self-conscious stuff to analyze us.
Just as we’re thinking about ourselves, they’re busy thinking about themselves.
4. Remember that comparison can be competitive. The yearning to possess what someone else has or is isn't healthy.
And being competitive in a negative way can lead to saying or doing things that can demean us in the longer run.
5. Admitting our insecurities and vulnerabilities openly decreases our tendency to compare ourselves with others. It helps us to accept ourselves "warts and all".
When we accept ourselves as we are, we realize that others have their own unique attributes, but also their own set of insecurities.
That approach releases us from the vicious grip of competition.
We begin to admire others and work on our own stuff.
6. Taking others out of the equation, or comparing ourselves to ourselves helps to increase our self-worth.
The only way to "win", is by being a "better you" than you were yesterday.
If there's to be comparison, then let that be the nature of the competition.
For instance, instead of telling myself, “Oh Sarah is so much thinner than I am”, I can say, “I lost twenty pounds during the last 4 months. Wow! I’m proud of myself. I’ll feel awesome when I lose 10 more.”
7. Flip the script by replacing comparison and judgment with love and kindness. When we’re in the process of comparing ourselves with someone, we’re in fact stirring up negative energy, which is being sent out to the other person.
Remember that what goes around comes around.
Instead, be happy that the other person is so blessed, and know that you're blessed as well.
Whenever we find ourselves in the comparison trap (and it is a trap) we can hold our fire and send love and kind thoughts to the person we’re comparing ourselves to (and to ourselves as well).
We can compliment them; we can appreciate what is positive about them.
Appreciating others is a super positive habit with a boomerang effect. It makes us more self-compassionate.
Comparison is toxic.
It breeds competition and brings insecurity, anxiety, depression, isolation and jealousy.
In addition to that, you can be competing against that which isn't even real, so it's a "no win" situation.
You see, that lady with better hair could be using a dye/weave/wig.
The one whose butt looks better in jeans might be using butt pads...
Learn to put things in perspective.
If there’s someone who’s thinner than you, then of course there’s someone who’s ‘thicker’ than you too.
If she has a better cleavage, don’t forget that you can still rock what you have (they're called "push-up" bras). 😉
And yes, it looks like she has a better boyfriend, but he might not be a "good" man.
All questions like...
How to stop comparing yourself to others physically?
How to stop comparing your body to others?
How to stop comparing your looks to others?
How to stop comparing your progress to others?
… have one and the same answer, and that is to appreciate and acknowledge what you have been blessed with.
The truth is, everyone has a different path and there’s no such thing as a perfect life.
All of us need to carve out our own path to be happy and successful.
When we admire those with whom we compare ourselves, they become our stepping stones to success.
So ladies, let’s say goodbye to the habit of comparing ourselves to others.
Love & Peace!
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Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.