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How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others (and Start Empowering Yourself)

Comparison Trap“Comparison is the death of joy.”
Mark Twain

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
Lao Tzu

One of the most common and destructive daily habit is to constantly compare your life and yourself to other people and their lives.

You compare cars, houses, jobs, shoes, money, relationships, social popularity and so on.

And at the end of the day you pummel your self-esteem to the ground and you create a lot of negative feelings within. And perhaps also outside of yourself.

So what can you do? How can you get a handle on this habit?

Well, today I’d like to share 3 steps that have helped me to move away from this – it does take some time though so be patient with yourself – and towards a healthier outlook and view of myself and life.

Step 1: Just realize that you can’t win if you compare yourself to others.

Just consciously realizing this is helpful.

No matter what you do you can pretty much always find someone else in the world that has more than you or are better than you at something.

Yes, you may feel good for a while when you get a nicer car than your neighbor. But a week or two later you’ll see someone from the next block with an even finer car than yours.

Step 2: Compare yourself to yourself.

Instead of comparing yourself to other people create the habit of comparing yourself to yourself.

See how much you have grown, what you have achieved and what progress you have made towards your goals.

This habit has the benefit of creating gratitude, appreciation and kindness towards yourself as you observe how far you have come, the obstacles you have overcome and the good stuff you have done. You feel good about yourself without having to think less of other people.

You can make this habit stick by for instance taking a few minutes each day or just each Sunday (or any day that fits you) to use a journal to write down how you have grown, how much closer you are to your goals now, what you have overcome and learned and so on.

By doing so your thinking will over time shift and your thought patterns will automatically become more focused on comparing you to you rather than to other people.

Step 3: Be kinder towards other people.

In my experience, the way you behave and think towards others seems to have a big, big effect on how you behave towards yourself and think about yourself.

Judge and criticize people more and you tend to judge and criticize yourself more (often almost automatically). Be kinder to other people and help them and you tend to be kinder and more helpful to yourself.

So focus your mind on helping people and being kind.

Focus on the positive things in yourself and in the people around you.

And appreciate what is positive in yourself and others.

This way you become more OK with yourself and the people in your world instead of ranking them and yourself and creating differences in your mind.

You are OK and so are they.

Image by Robb North (license).

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Julia Kristina October 28, 2014, 11:37 pm

    Thanks for this write up Henrik. Some really good reminders. I like what you said at the end: you are OK and so are they.

    I’m a Mental Health Counsellor and was at a training seminar a few weeks ago, and a really great little diddy that I heard there has really helped me and I’ve been also sharing it with my clients struggling with depression or anxiety telling them they are the only ones who are struggling, and everyone else has it all together. Thus then feeling bad for feeling bad (and boy, are most of us ever good at kicking ourselves when we’re down!) So this one goes like this:

    I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and it’s okay.

    Cheers!

    Julia Kristina
    http://juliakristina.com/blog

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