Stop comparing yourself to others is easier said than done. By now, comparisons are a daily habit, one that bring us up, most mostly makes us feel bad about ourselves, our achievements and our goals. But it doesn’t mean you cannot change, by changing your thought patterns you can avoid making damaging comparisons and live a happy and fulfilling life.
Why It Doesn’t Make Any Sense to Compare Yourself to Others
You would probably agree that it doesn’t make much sense to compare a rock to a zebra. How can you compare the two things? They are so totally different that comparison is just silly. The rock is better at being a rock, and the zebra is better at being a zebra, but to compare and contrast one to the other does nothing but waste your valuable time.
The same is true with you and anyone else.
In our article about How to Boost your Self-Esteem with Gratitude, we pointed out that it makes a lot of sense to be grateful for having a roof over your head, access to safe drinking water, and food in your belly. Those essentials of life are not guaranteed to anyone. So, when you realize how many people struggle in those areas, your comparison of yourself to them makes you incredibly grateful.
Unfortunately, people compare themselves to others in ways that don’t make any sense.
Men compare their balding hairlines to friends that have a lot of hair. Women look at a pair of shoes on a friend and wish they could afford expensive shoes as well. Some people even compare their children to the children of other parents. This is a fruitless practice, because what does it accomplish really?
Let’s say your best friend has a child that goes to school with your kid. They are the same age, the same gender, the same physical size, and may even look a little like. Your friend’s child makes straight A’s, is on the chess team, the debate team and the pep club, and plays three sports. Your child, on the other hand, is physically uncoordinated, works very hard but struggles to get good grades, and has no interest for after-school and intramural activities.
Comparison here can only hurt your child. Instead of embracing and loving the characteristics that make your child unique, you can stifle development, damage self-esteem and ruin the relationship you have with your child when you compare him or her to another kid. Give your children the best resources and opportunities to become good people and successful individuals, and stop playing the “nobody wins” comparison game.
The same is true when you compare yourself to others. You may as well compare the previously mentioned rock to a zebra, because you are so unique that looking at your life and existence in regards to someone else offers no room for comparison.
Taking Control of Your Own Goals
When you think about it, you really only control your own actions. This means you should set your own goals, and they should not be based on the achievements of others. Think about the things you want in different areas of your life. Write down a very specific target, instead of vague one. Instead of writing down, “I want to be rich”, you would write, “I will make $____ this year.”
Accordingly, a goal in any area of your life other than finances needs to be specific as well. This allows you to target your actions on a daily, weekly and monthly basis towards a year-end accomplishment. If you desire to make $100,000 this year, you can see that breaks down to just $2,000 a week. Over the course of a week days that becomes $300 a day. Then you can structure your game plan on a daily and weekly basis to attain that much more achievable figure.
At each level of your progress, record what happens.
No matter what your goal is, in what area of your life, you must track your progress. This allows you to compare you against yourself. You can see whether you are headed in the right direction or not, change your game plan accordingly, and get back on track to creating the reality you want to achieve.
The main goal is to start to compare you against you and no one else, and you will find it produces much better results in your life than comparing yourself to others.
Changing Your Thought Patterns to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
A simple way to get yourself to stop playing the comparison game is to develop new thought patterns. This may be difficult to do, especially if you are constantly beginning every one of your thoughts with “I wish …”, “If I only …”, and “If I was like …”. You can stop thinking these damaging and limiting thoughts with the following practices.
Remind Yourself That No One Wins the Comparison Game
You look at a person and realize they are better at something than you are. Maybe they have more of an item you desire than you have. This does not make them better than you, or make you worse than them.
When you start comparing yourself to that person, you resent that individual because they have outperformed you in some way. You also begin to resent yourself, beating yourself up for not being “good enough”. No one wins in that type of game.
At first you may have to consciously remind yourself of this fact. Over time though, if you consistently tell yourself you automatically lose with your comparison to others, you will begin to appreciate the achievements of those people you used to envy, as well as your own skills and characteristics.
Start Being Kinder Towards Others
There is a lot of research that shows how you think about yourself is mirrored by how you think about others. This is true with behavior as well. Those that treat themselves positively also do the same to other people, even strangers.
Seemingly random acts of kindness that help others can change your thought patterns away from pointless comparison, and toward self-realization.
If you are grubby, gruff and mean-spirited to others most of the time, this reflects a self-image. Angry, unkind people are often that way because they see the world as mistreating them. The world has been unfair, and they have this belief because they have compare themselves to others and find themselves lacking.
Angry unkind people reach out negatively instead of positively, and will always find some comparison to back up their erroneous belief that they deserve to look down on themselves and others.
Don’t be this person.
Start smiling more, even if you have to work at it. Help your coworkers. Open your eyes to opportunities to assist others throughout the day. You will find that your attitude towards others will create the way you think about yourself.
When you see others as deserving assistance, and kindness and love, you view yourself in that way as well. This means you begin to appreciate the person that you are, rather than desiring to be someone else.