Comparing myself to others is basically my second nature. Before I can stop myself, I think about how someone else is smarter, more successful, or more attractive than I am, and I feel insecure and envious. I jokingly blame this on me being a Scorpio, but my humor hides the painful feelings that are much more prominent in my heart.
To help myself and others who may struggle with comparison, I spoke with a psychologist about how we can avoid it. She had four fabulous tips.
Engage in activities that will make you feel better about yourself.
When we compare ourselves to others and feel bad, it’s usually because we aren’t totally content with where we are in life. To help with this, we can keep busy and work hard, pursuing our dreams and engaging in esteem-boosting activities.
“Get busy and do what you need to do to move forward in life. Take courses. Find a new job. Apologize to someone. Do a favor you promised. No matter how big or small, doing what you need to do for yourself or to clear your conscience or to help someone else will give you less or no time to compare yourself to others,” said Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, positive psychologist, author of “The Enchanted Self:, A Positive Therapy.”
Find a role model or mentor to help you.
We all need support from others sometimes, whether that’s by trying to act in similarly honorable ways or by asking for advice.
“Find a mentor. We all need support to move forward. The mentor may be a therapist or a friend or a person in your field that cares about you, or even someone from history or politics, such as Joan of Arc or Mrs. Roosevelt or Mrs. Obama,” Dr. Holstein suggested. If you’d like to find a therapist, Psychology Today has a database you can filter through.
Be thankful for where you are now.
Being mindful of and thankful for the present and what you have right now is so key when avoiding comparison.
“Find ways to be more mindful about what you have now in the present and what you are working on for your future. In other words, count your blessings,” Dr. Holstein said. If you need some structure or guidance with this, Therapist Aid has some helpful positive psychology worksheets.
Celebrate and share your achievements.
Remember that you’re an accomplished and special person too.
“Celebrate your achievements no matter how small. Keep a list of what you have accomplished or perhaps find a friend where you each update each other on successes and what is the next conquest to handle,” Dr. Holstein suggested.
According to Dr. Holstein, practices like these four can help you focus on the positive so much that you hardly have time for comparison.
“All of the above I call ‘Coping For Success’. The human mind does best when it has focus and particularly when the focus is not on comparing yourself to others, but is on making something of yourself that will help you develop your talents and potential,” she said.
“Is it all fun? No, but the upside is a life well-lived as you pay attention to your goals and talents. I can guarantee you will be too busy to do much comparing!”