Over time many of us have experienced self-doubt, lack of confidence or even low self-esteem. Although, the triggers for these negative responses may vary, the end results are typically the same, be behave with uncertainty and questioning behaviors prompting us to make comparisons between ourselves and others. Unfortunately, we all have certain triggers that can cause our confidence to take a sudden nosedive. For some, it may be seeing a friend we have not seen in years, he/she doesn’t seem to have aged, has an amazing career, family, etc., while we appear to be struggling in those areas.
If you are self-conscious about your physical appearance, lot in life, relationship status, etc., seeming someone from your past that appears to “have it all” can be jarring. Seeing others have appear to have “made it”, can force many of us to re-evaluate our lives and personal choices.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to feel bad about oneself is to compare yourself unfavorably to others. Too often we are tempted to compare ourselves with those we deem more attractive, smarter, has a better career, married, and has the family we yearn for, makes more money, and has more friends. Comparing one’s self to others for an extended period of time can begin to breakdown our self-esteem, leading to self-doubt, shame, envy, and resentment. Constantly making comparisons to others can lead to pronounced negative feelings, such as, depression, anxiety, anger, self-doubt, and self-depreciating thoughts.
Negative consequences of comparisons can include:
- Breakdown of self-esteem
- Distorted view/perception of self
- You are usually making comparisons based upon inaccurate or incomplete information
- Keeps you stuck in a cycle or fantasizing or idolizing others without making personal changes
- Making comparisons does not help you accomplish your goals
- Making comparisons rob us of valuable time
- Comparisons are usually unfair
- Negative social comparison has elements of narcissism
- We have nothing to gain by making comparisons
- Comparisons usually place us in a losing situation
- Once started there is no end to the number of comparisons we can make
Techniques to help you refrain from making comparisons include:
- Being grateful for what you already have
- Pursuing personal interests and goals, not pursuing things you think you should be interested in.
- Being mindful no one is perfect, no one “has it all”
- Become aware of your own personal strengths and successes
- Stop measuring your worth and successes against that of others.
- Find inspiration without comparison
- Ask yourself do you want to become the other person or a better version of you
Making comparisons between ourselves and others can be quite tempting, however, the goal is not to become the person you are comparing yourself to, but building upon and becoming a better version of ourselves.