The Danger of Comparing Ourselves to Others

Hannah Tishman, LMSW

We encounter dozens of people throughout the course of our day. Whether it is during our morning commute, in a meeting at work, or with friends, it is inevitable that we interact with others on a daily basis. As a human species, we instinctively compare ourselves to one another. We compare as a way to figure out where we fit in amongst others and to more deeply understand ourselves. It is not only a survival technique, but it is how we function as social animals.

We are created to have unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. There will always be someone “better” or “more successful” according to our minds. When we compare ourselves, we end up minimizing our own unique qualities, which can lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Remind yourself of these three things to stop comparing yourself to others:

  1. “Perfection” is an illusion. Everyone always has something going on behind the scenes, even if it is not spoken of or portrayed on social media.

  2. Using others as a benchmark to evaluate ourselves may disable us from being able to appreciate both our own and others’ successes.

  3. Comparison fuels insecurities and creates feelings of worthlessness.

So… how do I actually stop comparing myself to others?

1. Start by practicing self-awareness

  • By recognizing your thoughts and feelings. Bring awareness to what is going on in your mind and practice identifying the roots of your thoughts by asking yourself, “Why am I feeling this way and what is the core belief under my feelings?”

    • An example of a core belief is: “I’ll never be pretty enough”.

  • Practice being mindful. Try to refrain from judging your thoughts and feelings, allowing them to come and go, while not indulging them.

2. Focus on your strengths.

3. Accept yourself for who you are —strengths and weaknesses included.

  • Practice self-love by stating, “I am enough” while looking in a mirror.

  • Speak to yourself as if you were speaking to a child: kind and softly.

4. Identify what you can and cannot change.

5. Instead of seeking differences amongst others, look for commonalities.

  • By seeking what you have in common with others, the voice in your head telling you “I am not good enough” will be less prominent and eventually will fade

     

It is essential to focus on self-improvement rather than “comparing and despairing”. This will allow you to meet attainable goals, to celebrate your own successes, and to have supportive, fulfilling relationships along the way.


Hannah Tishman is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you are looking for support in finding solutions to enhance your overall wellness, contact Cobb Psychotherapy by calling 718-260-6042 or emailing reception@cobbpsychotherapy.com, and see how therapy can help.

Elizabeth Cobb