You're smart, driven, and ambitious. Nothing can stop you. All you need to do is be yourself. You'll look for success, and you'll find it. That's what we've been taught our whole lives, but neuroscience is revealing new truths about how the mind works and why the comparison is such a futile waste of energy.
If Einstein were alive today, he’d probably be all for the idea of not comparing yourself to others. After all, if you want to invent the next big thing the last thing you should be doing is standing on the shoulders of giants. Instead, you should be figuring out who those giants are and toppling them from their pedestals.
The whole point of this article isn’t so much about what to do but rather why not do things. There are many reasons why comparing yourself to others could be bad for your mental health—and I’ll introduce a few here—but before we get into them let’s talk about what happens when we compare ourselves in general terms:
When we compare ourselves to others, we are really comparing our perceived reality to someone else’s. The problem is, that we don’t really know what’s going on in their heads. All we see is the highlight reel of their life—the parts they want us to see. We don’t get to witness the behind-the-scenes footage of their struggles, insecurities, and failures. And even if we did, it’s not like we’re living in their shoes so we can’t really know what it feels like to be them.
Enough of the melodramatic introduction, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Here are five reasons:
Is It Normal To Compare Yourself To Others?
Well yes and no. It’s perfectly normal to compare yourself to others in some situations, like when you’re trying to learn a new skill. But it becomes unhealthy when you start comparing yourself to others in every aspect of your life and beating yourself up for not measuring up.
What we do know is that when we compare ourselves to others, it triggers a toxic mix of emotions—jealousy, envy, insecurity, and self-doubt. These emotions are corrosive and can eat away at our self-esteem, motivation, and happiness. So if you’re looking to improve your mental health, it’s probably a good idea to avoid comparison altogether.
Why Do We Compare Ourselves?
As long as there have been people, there has been comparison. It’s human nature. We compare ourselves to others because we want to know where we stand. Are we doing better or worse than them?
The problem is, that comparison is rarely accurate and it almost always leads to negative emotions. So instead of comparing yourself, focus on your own progress and celebrate your accomplishments—no matter how small they may be.
Comparing yourself to others is also a way of distracting yourself from your own life. If you’re feeling down about your situation, it’s easy to compare yourself to someone who seems to have it all. But the truth is, that person probably has their own problems and insecurities—you just don’t know about them because they’re not on display.
So instead of comparing, focus on the things that are important to you and work on making them a reality.
Are You Distracted From Your Own Goals?
Let’s face it, you’re not focused on your own goals. Yup, I’m calling you out. You’re so busy comparing yourself to others that you’ve lost sight of what you want in life. And even if you do have your goals in mind, a comparison is a powerful form of procrastination.
It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game and before you know it, hours have passed and you haven’t accomplished anything. So instead of comparing, focus on your own goals and work towards achieving them.
A comparison is also a form of self-sabotage. When you compare yourself to others, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be perfect and that is a good thing. A big part of life is learning to accept our imperfections and striving to be the best version of ourselves.
So instead of comparing, focus on your own progress and celebrate your accomplishments—no matter how small they may be.
You’re Giving Up Your Unique Talents And Abilities
We all have unique talents and abilities. And when we compare ourselves to others, we’re saying that their talents and abilities are better than ours.
We each have our own strengths and weaknesses and that’s what makes us special and unique. So instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your own talents and abilities and work on developing them.
Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time and energy. It’s also destructive to your mental health. So instead of comparing, focus on your own progress and celebrate your accomplishments—no matter how small they may be.
So there you have it, five reasons why comparing yourself to others is a recipe for misery. The next time you find yourself feeling down because you’re not as good/smart/pretty/whatever as someone else, remember these points and try to reframe the situation. You’ll be much happier for it!
Do you have any tips for avoiding comparison traps? Share them in the comments below! And if you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and or family.
This has been “Don’t Compare Yourself to Others – 5 Reasons Why” with Peter Stefanyszyn. Tune in next time for more tips and advice on entrepreneurship, self-help, parenting, and more.
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