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Personal Development

Why You Can’t Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Just how many times have you been depressed because somebody is doing better than you? For some people it is every day, for others, it is once in a while. It is very easy to compare yourself to others. We never appreciate our own effort. All we see is what somebody has that we do not have. Why is it that you can’t stop comparing yourself to others?

In this post, I will share the day to day life hindrances that make it hard to stop comparing yourself to others. Sometimes it is small things that we are not aware of and other times it is because we accept to be those situations. To stop comparing yourself to others, you have to first know what causes you to compare yourself to others.

[bctt tweet= “To stop comparing yourself to others, you have to first know what causes you to compare yourself to others.”]

There are many issues and circumstances that cause you to compare yourself to others. Knowing what to do in such situations will help you control the comparisons. What really causes you (me too) to compare yourself to others and how do you go about it?

Before that,

As I was researching what to write in this post, I came across a famous poem called Desiderata. When I was growing up, there was a copy of this poem that had been hang on the living room wall. Once in a while, I would read it but I was too young to understand everything. 

When I grew to understand it, there is one bit I loved. It taught me that there was no need to compare myself to others.


If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 


Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

I need not say more. The fact about life is that we can never be at the top always. It is good once in a while to check where you are by comparing yourself to your competitor. This does not mean you constantly wish to be where they are. It is a time to create a strategy, goals, and objectives to meet in order to fulfill your mission.

Here are some of the factors that make us compare ourselves with others

1. Friends

Friends image

You may find yourself in a situation where your friends are the biggest contributors to your habit of comparing yourself to others. Choose your friends wisely because they have the capacity to make or break you. Are your friends always bragging of their wealth? Do they constantly talk about irrelevant issues? What is their circle of concern?

You and your friends want to go have fun but you clearly know you do not have enough money for that. What do you do? Your friends are constantly on vacation and you start to ask yourself where you went wrong. 

Some of the most poisonous people come disguised as friends and family.

Unknown

I believe it is good to have friends who share the same struggle as you. People who will actually be there for you and help you whenever you need their help. Friends should lift you when you are down. You should be comfortable enough to discuss some struggles with them without fear that they will look down upon you.

What to do?

Balance out your friends. Have friends who add value to your life. If all that your friends talk about are their amazing lives, trips and never about their struggles; you need to think about creating good friendships. The best friends are those who have seen you struggle, supported you and shared in your achievements.

2. Family

Family image

Comparing yourself to others may have been naturally instilled in you from your family. Comments such as, “Your brother/sister does this better than you or Why can’t you be like him/her?” Your parents may have used such comments but that does not mean you can’t get out of it.

It may not be fair to blame your parents. They could be oblivious to the effect such statements had on you. More likely than not, your self-esteem was tampered with. You began to see yourself as inferior hence you began comparing yourself to others.

Growing up in an environment where you are not appreciated as an individual could affect you to a great extent. You may never feel like you are good enough. Hence, you cannot stop comparing yourself to others.

What to do?

Begin to take such comments lightly. Whenever you hear them, remind yourself that you are a unique being. Always know that your siblings cannot and will never be similar to you. There could be things they do better than you but it does not mean you are a failure.

The first step in order to stop comparing yourself to others is to accept that there will be people who are better than you. Believe in yourself and trust in the process. Even if you feel your siblings are doing better than you, continue doing your best. You are here to make you happy not anybody else.

3. Society/ Culture/ Traditions

Culture Image

This one is tricky. You may not realize it. Common generalizations e.g. at this age you should have moved out of your parents house or you should have kids by this age. As much as they help steer society in the right direction, people have different priorities in life. 

People have become successful at age 60 and their life is perfectly okay. Your favor’s timing is not the same as somebody else’s. Life may be slow for you and you cannot afford to move out. Limiting yourself to what other’s think can truly hurt you and put you under constant pressure.

[bctt tweet= “Live a life that makes you happy. You are in competition with yourself and yourself only!”]

What to do?

Live a life that is authentic and appropriate to you. If you are doing your best and working harder towards something, society should not dictate where you should be. Have your own timeline and work with it. However, aim to achieve the best you can from life. Don’t take advantage of anybody.

4. Celebrities

Celebrity image

I am usually very shocked when I hear of drug overdose or suicide cases affecting celebrities. The question I always ask myself is,  “How and why do they allow themselves to reach such extremes?” Their lavish lives are all over social media. They are worth billions. I mean, who doesn’t want to be like them?

On the other hand, celebrities give us a skewed impression towards life. Nobody will show you their internal battles yet we are fighting to be like them. We go out of our budget to buy expensive clothes, luxurious bags and unnecessary items because a celebrity has them.

Not owning expensive stuff does not mean you are cheap. It means that you respect yourself so much and material things do not measure anything in your life. If you can afford it, go ahead and buy. If you can’t, accept and find something fit for your pocket.

What to do?

Enough of doing things because celebrities are doing it. Reduce how much you care about their lives. This will allow you to live a content life. Stop giving yourself a reason to see how inferior you are. Spend more time knowing how your friends are doing than what the latest trend is. 

Some things only matter if we care about them. If you do not care what the latest trends are, then it won’t matter whether or not you are wearing it. Care about the right and important things.

5. Social Media

Social Media Image

This is the king of why you cannot stop comparing yourself to others. You see all these beautiful pictures of people celebrating their successes. The wonderful vacations and perfectly edited photos. I want a body like that one. People cannot advertise their failures and what they have gone through to be where they are now.

Social media is the icing on the cake. The process of baking the cake is messy and requires time and patience. Nobody will show the mess. As you scroll through the feed, remind yourself that everybody has a mess. They baked a cake and what they have displayed is the final product.

What to do?

Everybody you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always!

Unknown

Follow relevant people on social media; those that will encourage and motivate you. It is not about the likes, retweets, comments etc. If you feel somebody is causing you to constantly compare your life to theirs in a negative way; please just un-follow. Learn to love your life.

Reduce your time on social media. Make some time to reflect on yourself. Read a book instead. It is easy to get carried away by social media. It has led some to depression. The one thing you should remember always is that there is a struggle someone is facing that you do not know.

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How do all this make me compare myself to others?

Simple. They give me the person to compare myself to. In a world where you would be alone, you wouldn’t compare yourself to anything. It does not mean that you entirely stop comparing yourself to others; it means that the only comparison you make should motivate you to be a better and love life.

Finally,

If we learn to take everything with a pinch of salt, we will reduce comparing ourselves to others. Learning to appreciate your effort and looking at others with the aim of learning from them and not competing makes a big difference.

Be aware of these factors. When you need to slow down it is okay. If you feel a friend is too much, feel free to take some time off. The bottom line remains that this life is yours.

Remember to read the Desiderata and let it stick in your subconscious mind.

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Reina Janet is a young talented writer and the founder of El Mieles. She believes in making the world the best place for you by inspiring you with her creative writing and personal stories that help you to love life and also solve day to day challenges. Get to know her more.

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