How to Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling on social media, comparing yourself to those you follow? Having this access to the lives of others (whether it be friends, acquaintances or complete strangers) has led to this comparison trap. If we see these people living (what seems to be) their best lives online, we can’t help but think…why am I not doing that?
This can happen when you see people you know get married, have kids, travel, or excel in their career. This is something that’s only more recently become an issue with the rise of social media. Otherwise, we’d never know what that girl from our junior year marketing class project was up to now.
Certainly, it’s easy to get sucked into this comparison spiral when you’re not feeling your best self. And it’s completely normal to not feel your best self 100% of the time. We all get down sometimes, but it’s important that we get back up. However, when you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, it makes getting back up a little more difficult. It’s not unusual to stop trusting our own thoughts and beliefs in order to pursue a life more similar to those we compare ourselves to.
We all measure success in different ways but can get caught up in how others view success. For example, you might put work first and measure success as getting to the top of your company. You haven’t settled down in a relationship yet as you just haven’t found someone worth settling down with. Then you notice your friends and acquaintances all start to get engaged, married, have kids, etc. You think to yourself – should I be doing these things? What am I doing with my life? Just because people you know are achieving certain milestones right now, doesn’t mean that you need to. We all move at our own pace and there’s no reason you need to get married right now just because your friends are. It’s difficult in the moment, especially if you do want to settle down but have chosen to focus on your career. But if you want it, it will come. Patience is key.
So how do we eliminate this constant comparison? We cannot control what others do or share. Some people find it helpful to take a social media break so they can limit the potential for comparison. But we suggest looking for strength within, so you don’t let the others win. Knowing that wherever you are right now, this is where you are supposed to be. When you can accept that and shift your perspective of the outside “noise” then you won’t feel the need to compare yourself to others.
Of course, this is easier said than done. So we broke it down into 3 steps to make this process a little more manageable. These are things to remind yourself when you start to notice the comparison trap kicking in.
There’s enough happiness to go around
Just because those you surround yourself with seem to have it all right now, that doesn’t mean it can’t be the same for you! There’s plenty of happiness and abundance to go around. Think of abundance as a greater form of happiness. It’s not necessarily having an abundance of money and things. Abundance is like success – it means something different for everyone. It can include gratitude, health, a sense of purpose, loved ones, etc.
Your happiness is your own. There’s no need to compete with others to prove your worth. We know we shouldn’t care about what others think, but we often do it anyway. Accepting that there is enough abundance to go around is a positive affirmation to have in your back pocket. This is something to remind yourself of next time you’re scrolling through those (what seem to be) perfect photos on Instagram.
Let your feelings be your guide
Whether these are feelings of joy, fear, excitement or sadness, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings. Don’t bury them. Pay attention and simply be with your feelings. This is a great introduction to mindfulness and something that will be very helpful in the long run. Over time, there’s this external “noise” that comes into our lives and this can steer us away from our feelings and inner truth. As difficult as it can be, never ignore your feelings. After all, they’re the best form of internal feedback. It’s your mind’s way of telling you whether or not this person / situation is right for you.
Once you develop this trust with your feelings (and no longer ignore them), you’ll be able to trust yourself. In turn, you’ll be more confident in yourself and your decisions…without having to worry about how others might respond.
Be encouraging rather than discouraging
When you find yourself scrolling online, you can either feel discouraged (not living up to this “standard” and feeling like others are surpassing you in life) or encouraged (feeling inspired by someone and admiring what they have to offer). This is taking that same thing we often use as a self-loathing comparison and turning it into something more useful. Being able to have a “good for them” attitude (as opposed to “why can’t this be me?”) is the shift in perspective you need to end the comparison spiral.
Feeling inspired will only motivate you to create more happiness and abundance in your life. And isn’t that what we all want? This shift in perspective likely won’t happen overnight, but it’s good practice to get your head in a more positive space. Knocking ourselves down or discouraging others doesn’t get anyone anywhere. If you find yourself in this discouraging state, take some time to focus inward and re-align with your personal truth. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Focusing on the why can be challenging (as we don’t always see it at first) but it's essential to get to the bottom of these destructive behaviors.
We want to be the ones encouraging ourselves and others. Because, remember…there’s enough happiness to go around!
Of course, if you find yourself in the comparison spiral…don’t beat yourself up over it. Show yourself some compassion. It happens to the best of us. Thankfully, you now have the tools to get out of that spiral. Your new-found self-awareness will give you that sense of empowerment we all strive so hard for.
If you’re finding it difficult to end this constant comparison and would like to speak with a professional, schedule an appointment with one of our therapists today.
If you are seeking counseling in New York City, contact us today to learn more about our services!
Request a Consultation
Fill out the form below to have one of our therapists reach out to discuss consultation services in New York City.