We’ve all been done it at some point in our lives, comparing our talents, skills, personalities, a lot of things about ourselves to other people. I have done this myself and have struggled with it for a long portion of my life. For example, we see other people and sometimes think ‘I wish I was muscular like that guy or I wish I had great hair like her’. There are times when we make a mistake or mess something up, we may feel low about ourselves. We may begin to think that we can’t do anything right and think that the people around us have no trouble doing anything. This kind of thinking can hurt our self-worth and influence us to believe in lies.
You see someone who has a nice car, nice clothes, a lot of friends, is doing well in school, work, or just life in general and you think ‘that person must have no troubles or problems at all’. Sometimes you get jealous or envious of the other person and start comparing your accomplishments to the other person. When we do this, most of the time we conclude that the other person is better than me. Our self-esteem and our self-worth takes a hit when we do this. People sometimes think that they if they had what the other person had, they would be happy as well. For example, I have been in predicaments where I felt that I’m struggling to get an A in a class and everyone else is getting A’s without trying. This however wasn’t true; it was my insecurities getting the best of me.
A common comparison I have witnessed and experienced is seeing a friend, family member, or stranger in a relationship with another person and I start thinking that those two people are happier and doing better in life than I am. The truth is that those in a relationship may not be as happy as you think. So it seems silly that we would think that, but our insecurities get the better of us sometimes and our minds send us on a downward spiral. We have our own lives to live and shouldn’t try to mimic what other people are doing. The reality is that what works for some people may not work for other people. For example, someone who chews gum before taking test to relax may not work for the person next to them. This other person may do some deep breathing to relax. The thing is that both methods can work, it all depends on the person; we are all wired differently.
Here are some ways we can start to break this cycle and start doing our own thing:
1) Discover what makes you unique This may require some trial and error, but discovering what your capable of is part of your life journey and that can be fun. Maybe you have a knack for painting, building things, maybe you have always had a way of taking great care of animals than your friends. You should find out.
2) Focus on what you do best You have your own skills and talents. These things are what makes you unique. Close friends and family members may see special things about yourself that you don’t. Ask them and then excel in them and you’ll find your own peace and happiness.
3) Find and embrace joy When you are filled with joy, life gets easier. Create your own joy by doing things you love. Overtime you may begin to feel that confidence returning and your perception of measuring up to someone else fading away.
4) Distract yourself Comparing oneself to others can become a habit and it may take some time to break that thought cycle. When that thought cycle starts, try distracting yourself with something else. Focus on something else, get a song in your head, an object (I’ve focused on the color of bark of a tree), say something to yourself like ‘stop or no’, get invested in a movie, video game, watch TV, listen to music, try talking to someone, dance around. This could take some trial and error as well, but if you work at it you’ll find something.
5) Challenge the thoughts The thoughts that make you think that someone is better than you may not be real. Challenge the thought with positive things about yourself. List your skills and talents. Think about the compliments you have gotten, most people wouldn’t have said those compliments if they weren’t true. What are you good at? You are good at something. If it helps make a list of the positive things about yourself. Keep that list on you or somewhere where you will always see it. Recite these things when you wake up to help start your day. Overtime, your mind will begin on focusing those positive factors as second nature and you will begin seeing that what made you feel inferior to someone else was false.
We make our own path and our own choices, we shouldn’t follow someone else’s. The path that someone else is on may look good, but it may not be the right path for you. We are all wired differently and part of the journey of life is finding what works well for us. People will follow the herd as a way to not be alone or are afraid to stand out. This can lead to following someone’s path that isn’t a good one. We may know that this way of life or path is bad for us, but we are afraid to break away out of fear of something bad happening or our insecurities have something to do with that.
Doing our own thing and finding what works for us is a step in breaking the habit of comparing ourselves to others. This idea can be confusing because people only look to obtaining happiness, but there is more to it than that. What we have to do is see that there is a good and healthy part and the happiness part. Let me explain, someone may be happy in their life, but that happiness is coming from putting other people down. This scenario has the happiness part, but it’s lacking the good and healthy part. Both parts have to be together in order for your confidence to grow which I admit can be challenging and will take time. Our insecurities, the lies we get told by other people, and other things lower our self-esteem which hurts our confidence and we begin to compare our self-worth to other people. Don’t be hard on yourself, be patient, this can be beaten, it takes time, effort, and not giving up. I know you can do it.