Written by Anna Wang
Have you ever said something like, “I wish I was like so-and-so”? Chances are you have and probably didn’t think much about it. Comparing ourselves to others can be motivation or inspiration for improvement, but on the other hand, too much comparison can lead to low self-esteem with thoughts like, “Why can’t I be as good as so-and-so?” Along with frustration, feelings of jealousy and hopelessness may become prevalent and lead to anxiety and depression. Sometimes, people may start to pick on other people’s faults to make them feel better, which is just as unhealthy as picking on your own flaws.
Why do I Compare Myself?
Humans are naturally social creatures. With social media, we’re only more exposed to others and can see people we believe are ‘perfect’, post about their life. When we see someone who is successful in life, we often feel jealous that we haven’t achieved that success yet. However, it is important to remember social media most often shows the good, and not the bad.
How Can I Stop?
Be aware and avoid your triggers: start noticing situations that make you feel the need to compare. Is there someone you know that is constantly bragging? Do certain activities, like being at a luxury store at a mall, make you feel inferior? Make a list of who and what you compare yourself to and avoid them when you can.
Don’t compare someone’s ‘outsides’ to your ‘insides’: remember that everyone has their own struggles. Social media is often curated and you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
Remember that money doesn’t guarantee permanent happiness: seeing celebrities living a luxurious life may make you feel unhappy about what you have. Know that money won’t solve your problems and will just buy temporary happiness.
Be grateful for the life you have: you may envy someone else's life, but someone may be envying yours. There is always something, no matter how little, to be thankful for.
Turn the comparisons into motivation: instead of feeling envious of others’ success, be inspired to achieve your own.
Be proud of you and your growth: instead of comparing yourself to others, think about where you were a month or a year ago. Focus on what has changed and what you can continue to improve.