Shelby Williams
Adolescent and Young Adult Psychotherapist

5 Ways to Stop Negative Comparison

We all have a natural tendency to compare ourselves to others.  Sharing stories and experiences can bring people together; however, when we negatively compare ourselves it can make us feel really sad or insecure.

Negative social comparison moments are something that happens to everyone at one point or another.  For many, these moments happen all the time.  If you can think of a time when you were feeling jealous of another person’s looks or accomplishments and, as a result, you started to feel inadequate or crummy, then you’ve experienced negative social comparison.  If these negative comparisons become a habit, they can make a person feel greater stress, anxiety, & depression.  They can even influence people to make self-defeating choices.

Here are some tips and things to remember to help you stop negatively comparing yourself to others!

When we wish we had something that another person has, we often are only wishing for a specific aspect of a person – not everything about that person. 

If we look at the person as a whole, we realize that they are humans with their own flaws and challenges just like we are.  For example, someone who does really well in school might have health problems.  Or someone who has a great relationships with their siblings may not have a good relationship with their parents.  We all have our own insecurities and struggles.

 

Sometimes when we compare ourselves to another, we are idealizing them in some way. 

It’s important to remember that, chances are, they couldn’t even live up to the flawless and unrealistic image we have of them. When you’re only seeing a snapshot of someone’s life, you don’t have any way to know what they’ve gone through to get there or what they might be struggling with privately. 

 Remind yourself that social media does not always accurately reflect reality. 

Don’t rely on social media to tell you what someone else’s life is like. It’s not usually a complete picture of someone’s life – it’s just the parts they want the world to see, like a highlight reel.  Don’t compare your whole life to everyone else’s highlight reel.  You may even want to set boundaries around how much time you spend on social media if you find yourself comparing yourself to others often.

Practice gratitude and focus on your strengths. 

Try writing down three things you’re grateful for every day.  The more you recognize what is good in your life, the more content with your life you will be.  Additionally, write down your own strengths, talents and accomplishments.  You can be humble and still acknowledge what’s great about you! 

 Learn to compete with yourself rather than others. 

Where are you now compared to where you were one year ago? Or five years ago? Focus on your own goals and getting better for the sake of meeting your own goals and aspirations, rather than being like others. 

Use these tips to focus on learning about yourself without comparing yourself to others. Each of us has our own unique strengths and skills we bring that are important, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. If you’re struggling with self-esteem or negative comparison, chat with us today for more support in focusing on yourself and changing your mindset.