Why Compare?

By Cherise White, LMSW

It starts when we are young and become more aware of ourselves and begin to notice how we are similar and different from others. It’s normal to compare and see how you may line up to others in various aspects of one’s self and life. However, comparison can also be a trigger for negative thinking and foster a never-ending web of negative self-beliefs. It can be stressful once you gain awareness that you have a tendency to compare yourself to others, but this stress combined with the feeling of not being able to stop comparing can impact one’s mental health. 

Sure, we learn by comparing ourselves. Even in learning environments we are often ranked and compared to others taking an exam, by GPA, or when completing tasks. However, comparison in general can lead to increased stress and low-self-esteem. It could cause a person to feel like they will never be good enough or measure up. 

Tips For Dealing with Comparison

Source: https://www.criticalcactus.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/JIDDU-KRISHNAMURTI-Don%E2%80%99t-compare-yourself-to-others.jpg

Source: https://www.criticalcactus.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/JIDDU-KRISHNAMURTI-Don%E2%80%99t-compare-yourself-to-others.jpg

  • It could be helpful to ask yourself, what am I comparing myself to? What does this comparison do for me? How is it impacting me? What specifically is it I have interest in and how may I go about achieving it?

  • Another possibility is to challenge yourself to scan your environment and discover what it is you are seeking. Are you wishing you would be more ambitious, skinnier, wealthier, healthier, more attractive, bolder, more outgoing, braver, more adventurous? Discover what the thing is and develop goals to help you begin to achieve it. Turn your comparison and wanting of what you are missing into action.

  • Lastly, when we compare and work towards becoming what we see in others we have the potential to lose ourselves. Try creating and blending various elements from your discovery to develop your uniqueness. It is much more challenging to not compare and stand out than to emulate.


Cherise White is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy LCSW. 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