How To Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Posted by on Mar 2, 2012 in Personal Development | 31 comments

Comparing ourselves to others, even to our idea of what we could be, is perhaps human nature. But comparison robs us of our confidence, our accomplishments, our worth.

I still catch myself comparing from time-to-time, and I’ve come up with some ways to re-direct my attention from what I perceive someone else has to the awesomeness in my life. I recognize my awesome skills and abilities, and the unique contribution I have to make to the world. I learn from other people’s successes and mistakes. I find ways to motivate myself to make progress on my goals.

Acknowledge your choices.

When I compare myself to others, I often conveniently overlook the choices and hard work they have made to get where they are today. I may not be willing to make sacrifices they made, or endure the hardships they faced to reach their goals.

I’m happy with my choices and my life, and I have the opportunity to make different choices at any time, on any day. I’m living a life that works for me, and that means I achieve success at my own pace.

Recognize your limitations.

“Never compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle.” ~Jon Acuff

When I find myself comparing, I consider if the person I’m comparing myself to simply has more experience. Of course I won’t be as successful as someone with years of experience when I’m just getting started.

Learn from someone else’s experience.

When I meet someone that has success I want I have the option to jump-start my success by learning from their experience. I can ask a more successful person to coach or mentor me. If they are unable to work with me long term, they may be willing to answer a few questions about what they’ve learned. I have an opportunity to develop a valuable contact, and maybe even a friend.

Make progress on your goals.

When I find myself comparing myself to others, I stop making progress on my goals. When I redirect my attention and efforts to my purpose, I stop worrying about what anyone else has. It doesn’t matter what someone else does, it matters what I do. I use this energy to motivate me.

be unique

Embrace your unique perspective!

I have my own voice, my own experience, and my own talents that no one else has! My gift to the world comes through sharing my unique perspective, not copying someone else’s. When I compare myself to others I minimize what’s great about me- something no one else can be. Making your own mark on the world builds confidence and lasting success.

Celebrate your success!

“Other people’s success is not an indication of your failure.” ~Jon Acuff

I see people with what I perceive to be greater success, and for a moment I envy them. Then I take a moment to reflect on my life and my success and realize I’m happy with where I am today.

Today I’m right where I need to be to learn what I need to learn, to enjoy the peace that comes with patience, to allow myself to keep pace with my success.

When you start comparing yourself to others, think of ways to leverage your experience to motivate and grow yourself!

I love your comments! How do you get past comparing yourself to others? How will you celebrate your progress today? How will you use someone else’s success to inspire you?

Image courtesy of WolfSoul.

31 Comments

  1. Hi Chyrsta,

    This post was so great. I know it’s from a few years ago, but I stumbled across it when I was looking up posts about not comparing yourself to others. I just wrote one for my blog about that as well. It’s so important to spread that message to the world! I agree with you that we all have our own special talents & our unique voice. It was what makes us who we are :) Great work! Thanks for sharing.

    Anna

    • Hi Anna,

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, I feel this is a topic I need to revisit myself. It’s so easy to get sucked into the comparison trap and no good happens in that place.

      Have a wonderful day and thank YOU for sharing the message, too!

      Chrysta

  2. Hi,

    I am 30 years old and staying in India with my husband of last two years. I can’t help but compare with other people around me. Funnily I wanted to get married to a guy staying abroad outside of India. But I met my husband and fell in love and now settled here. The choice I made is still haunting me. I still want to go out and stay for a few years but my husband in all likelihood does not. We never talk or take action on it. And thus I am living and sulking despite having a great job, family , loving husband . How ok earth should I stop comparing and accept this.
    I understand all the reasons theoretically but when it comes to living fully here I can’t get myself to do that and this is making me miserable from within and I am ending up blaming my DH.

    Jas

    • Thanks for commenting, Jas. (And sorry for my delayed reply- I have been out of town!)

      Learning to stop comparing myself to others was not easy for me. I had to remind myself over and over again that this was my life and I choose to make my life as great as I can. To live my own great life I have to take the focus off other people and on to me. I had to remind myself a lot in the beginning.

      It also really helped me to make daily gratitude lists- about myself and my life. It made me appreciate and realize all the little things that are really valuable in my life.

      I wish you well, and hope you can find peace with your current situation so you may begin to enjoy the life you have.

      Chrysta

  3. Wow Chrysta!

    Your post really has caused me to do some much needed soul searching! And I absolutely love two things you said above all else.

    First: ” My gift to the world comes through sharing my unique perspective, not copying someone else’s!’

    That is so priceless! I often do a post where I list seven truly inspiration quotes from successful and greatly admired entrepreneurs.

    Congratulations, because your excellent inspirational advice just made that list!

    And secondly, you advised, “When I find myself comparing myself to others, I stop making progress on my goals!”

    That is really excellent advice and excellent insight as well!

    I’m so glad I discovered your blog! And thank you for sharing your truly inspirational thoughts!

    Even though I’ve only read a couple of your posts so far,you have opened up a new (and much needed) train of thought! Thanks!

  4. Chrysta, Thanks for this post, I liked it. I have often compared myself with other’s life in terms of personal, professional achievements/talents. My friends of my age have much rewarding career’s and are married and happy in their lives. Hence I tend to compare myself and feel down at times and a question pops up in my head as to “why me God?”. Off late I have realized that everyone comes with their own set of circumstances/situations, luck, choices which they make. By comparing ourselves with others we actually get into this self sabotaging trap that we are no good enough. As you said we should all have gratitude for what we have and have been uniquely endowed with. All out talents, abilities are partly acquired and gifted by god, so every person is unique in their own ways.:)

  5. Hi Chrysta,

    This is an excellent subject. I personally think that is not a good idea at all to compare oneself with anyone. That is a recipe to fail, as a matter of fact. Unfortunately, we all do it. Sometimes we even go so far to look for any similarity with someone else to compare with them.

    As internet marketers/bloggers we may do that a lot. Why do they seem to be way more advanced than I am? But what we don’t know is where did they started from? I know some people who like to say there were complete beginners like a year ago, but there weren’t, really. So, let’s beware to who we are comparing ourselves with.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Sylviane!

      I agree we don’t always know when someone got their start, as there are many other factors we can’t possibly know when we compare ourselves to others. When I catch myself comparing myself to other bloggers, for example, I don’t know how much time they have to blog versus the time I have. Maybe they have a built-in subscriber list from previous blog. There are so many factors I don’t know and truly those factors don’t matter far as much as how much effort and energy I put into my own success- regardless of what anyone else has!

      When I am comparing myself to others, if I think I am better or less than someone else, I’m doing myself a disservice! The best way I know to grow is to start with a healthy, appropriate sense of self and I don’t have that when I compare.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  6. Hi Chrysta,

    I think this is one of my hardest challenges. In my career of Marketing, everything is about comparing yourself to others.

    What’s the benchmark for conversions, how many comments is that blog getting, how many subscribers do they have…

    So I have to deprogram myself from carrying that habit into my personal life. Something I always tell myself is that people are like books, they all have a beginning and an end, but the journey in between is different for each one.

    Who knows what can happen in a lifetime. There are too many ups and downs to say that you can’t eventually overcome those you compare yourself to.

    Bryce

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Bryce!

      As I was thinking about businesses need to make comparisons to stay relevant and competitive I thought about the data informing, rather than judging. Making informed business decisions doesn’t require us to place positive or negative value on the data we collect, only that we use that information to understand customers, markets, and organizational effectiveness. Perhaps in our personal lives it also applies to use any comparison to simply inform our goals and progress, but not to judge.

      I love what you shared about ups and downs and the unknowns of life- this is absolutely true! Just because we don’t have something we want right now doesn’t mean we will never get it. If we focus on making progress, we may accomplish all that we set out to, or perhaps find the journey has adjusted our original goals and we want different things.

      We all have the opportunity and choice to live a great life every day! All we have to do is do it. :)

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  7. Fantastic post, Chrysta. I needed to see it, and the Acuff quote you included. Even though I realize the limitations that comparing creates, I still have to fight it. Thanks for the insight.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Michelle! This post seems to have resonated with many, and perhaps it’s because comparing ourselves to others is a shared challenge for all of us- especially those of us that have the motivation and drive to live a great life.

      We all struggle from time-to-time and often the most we can do is learn to recognize our struggle, accept it, and move forward to the best of our ability.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  8. I use to do this Chrysta but it’s been years now. What stopped me was I had the thought of the Tom Hanks movie Big when he woke up in someone else’s body.

    I kept thinking about not living in my own home or being connected to my family and friends although I know this is a little extreme. But when I was comparing myself to others and what they had or who they were that’s the first thing that would start to hit me and I would realize that I’m just fine the way I am.

    I may want some of their experiences but I believe that over time we can all have what we want if we reach out and ask for support, advice or help in some form or fashion.

    I love how you shared that we can have these experiences and be very happy with who we are and where we are today, right now.

    Wonderful post Chrysta and thanks for this fabulous reminder to us all!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Adrienne!

      I love your story about relating comparing yourself to others to actually being that person and I agree I don’t really want to be anyone but myself. My life hasn’t always been easy or happy, but it’s mine and I’ve made the best of it. My challenges and suffering have given me the opportunity to be strong and compassionate and wise and funny and I am so excited to share these gifts with the world every day. If I were anyone else but me perhaps I would not have my unique perspective and talents.

      I agree that we can have similar experiences as others and all we have to do is work for it. It’s a great opportunity to ask for guidance or help.

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  9. Hi Chrysta,

    I agree with you. I used to fall into trap of comparing myself with others because I forgot the point you made. “They have more years of experience”.
    As you rightly said it is a human tendency to compare ourselves. This starts from childhood to most of us. Fortunately my parents never compared me with others.
    Looking back now I see that because I decided to stand on my strengths, I have been able to make a lot of positive impact in my life and a few others who are connected with me. If I only looked at everyone as competition, probably I would not have done that nice.
    Even in business, companies often worry a lot about what competition is doing and they forget their own strengths. Competitive analysis is important but that need not be goals of business and personal success. Many people fail to see their strengths because they are very worried about how others are doing.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Ashvini!

      I loved the point Jon Acuff made about comparing our beginning to someone else’s middle and it’s certainly a perspective I hadn’t considered before. I loved hearing Jon share that quote!

      I also loved what you shared about standing on your own strengths and making a positive impact- this has been true for me, as well. When I embrace my own talents my contribution is far greater than when I try to do what someone else has done. When I know my strengths I can leverage them to my greatest advantage!

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  10. Hey Chrysta,

    I’m having a little love affair with your latest writings. :) I will say that up front.

    Ya know, I think that the ego has such slippery entanglements that people miss, thinking they’re something they truly are not. The amount of pure energy that is literally drained from us by allowing ego attachments like this to persist and run free is quite amazing.

    And most people do not realize the amount of ego that goes into comparing oneself to others in the ways you have described.

    I know I am one person who suffered from this complex for more time than I care to admit. It was a lot of reading and self-evaluating that allowed me to recognize that this was ego at play. Where ego is at play, there is a misbehaving child crying out from the inside somewhere who needs to be addressed, however firmly and gently at the same time. lol

    A Course In Miracles and the works of Byron Katie were very helpful for me in learning more about some of these things. :)

    So enjoying the topics in here, Chrysta! Looking forward to sharing in more of this type of conversation!

    Cat

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Cat!

      I love what you’ve shared here and I couldn’t agree more. When many people think of ego they think of overconfidence, however in my experience most people struggle with underconfidence. We think we are less than we are- that others are more successful and have more than we have. We doubt ourselves far too often. Whether we think too highly of ourselves or too little, it is our ego in charge.

      It has also been my experience that overcoming my character defenses, or character defects, takes firm and gentle action to make progress.

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

      • Hey, you’re most welcome, Chrysta! I’m happy you enjoyed my comment!

        The ego is indeed tricky. Some of the most ego-driven (and narcissistic) people I have ever spent time with were the underconfident type. It’s a slippery slope to make assumptions about the ego and the self due to the nature and design of it.

        Being aware, open, and gentle are helpful ways to begin. As with all valuable things in life, it requires time and patience for us to grow through these things.

        Hope you’re having a sunshiny start to your week!

        Cat 😉

  11. Hey Chrysta,

    I am the ultimate person who could endorse this view. I used to compare myself too much to others and that always made me feel a little low. Oh, wait… too low. Once a young cousin came to me and said this “I wish I was tall like you” and then I realized how much we end up playing the compare game. I want to be someone but someone wants to be me; so why not I be me and let someone be someone… if you know what I mean and aren’t rolling your eyes around! 😉

    It might take time to realize that no one can do a better job of being me and I need to work on being comfortable in my own skin. If I need to compare; I can do it two ways. Be thankful that I have a roof on my head and food to eat – little luxuries we take for granted and others are struggling for. Or compare ourselves to someone who has overcome barriers and achieved what they want.

    Really enjoyed this Chrysta! Have a lovely day! :)

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Hajra!

      I love what you shared and I agree that everyone wants something someone else has. When we compare ourselves to others, we can easily minimize our own great qualities so why not practice celebrating our gifts and talents.

      I love that you brought up gratitude, as this is one of my favorite practices in every situation! When I am comparing myself to others, actively acknowledging all I have to be grateful for is a wonderful way to adjust my perspective and help me realize I have plenty of awesome things in my life! There are always at least as many things to be thankful for as there are to wish we had. It’s all a matter of perspective.

      I also love that you suggested being inspired by someone who has overcome great obstacles to achieve the success they have. No matter the challenges I’m facing, there is someone, somewhere, that has faced a similar challenge and overcome. I may have a lot to learn from this person, from motivation to strategies for progress.

      You see, I simply loved your response! Thanks so much for joining the conversation. Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  12. Well done, Chrysta! For me, it is being comfortable with what i am doing with the time I have. If my inner spirit is satisfied by what i am doing, then I keep doing my thing and ignore the noise around that can be distracting. Comparing, or envy, can be dangerous, especially if you try to mirror what you think they are doing. When that happens, your soul will intervene and be dissatisfied… some may even say restless!

    This is a very important post to think through and work through. As i said, well done! Jon

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Jon!

      I absolutely love what you’ve shared, and I agree when my focus is on living a life that is valuable and satisfying to me, the rest is just noise. It comes back to aligning my choices, my actions, and my life with my core values. When I am living a meaningful life nothing can take it away from me.

      This post certainly has inspired some wonderful conversation- thank you for being part of it! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  13. Chrysta,
    What you’ve written is so meaningful to me. Just the other day, I let a twinge of that “how come I’m not where they are” slip into my brain. And what you’ve written here – it’s a good solid reminder for me – that I’m where I am supposed to be – and there is so much good in that (and there really is an amazing amount of good!). So, thank you for this today – and for reaching into my heart and grounding me back in what is truly important…

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Lance!

      The twinge you mentioned slips into my mind from time-to-time, and I remind myself that I am truly am happy with my progress today. I do want more for myself and my life, but I know it would be overwhelming to have it all at happen at once, and I know that I am living a life that is meaningful and valuable to me today and that is what’s really important to me.

      I am happy to read that this post gave you an opportunity celebrate the success you have today and be happy for what you have achieved so far. Yay!

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  14. Chrysta.. I have been so BUSY lately, my inbox is filling with posts I haven’t read yet…

    I am so glad I opened this, this morning. You always bring such beautiful light to my day. Your post reminded me of a quote I have on my inspiration “wall” (it outgrew a “board”).

    “Your journey has molded you for your greater good. And it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time. ~Asha Tyson

    Thank you for the light.

    • Thanks for your AWESOME comment, Amber-Lee! I appreciate your continued support. :)

      I love the quote you shared and it is perfect for this post. When we can celebrate where we are today, and the wonderful gifts we have to share, any thoughts of comparing ourselves to others are washed away.

      Thanks for joining the conversation. Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  15. You and I are so in tune, Chrysta! We must have been best friends in our past life. Not that I buy into all of that, but you make me question it big time!! 😀

    I have been really dealing with this one, lately. And have come to the conclusion that it just doesn’t pay to compare ourselves with others. It leaves us feeling worst than we would have started out as in the beginning!

    We each have different experiences, that’s factual. But like you said, we should only learn from others experiences and not compare our own to theirs.

    What I’ve begun to work on when it comes to comparing myself to others, is know that first, when I find myself doing this it’s totally my ego that’s doing the comparison.

    It would love to have me stressed out and depressed because I’m not doing it like Susan or Ray (both made up). 😀

    But, Susan and Ray, have gotten where they are because they owned their gifts and talents. If I want to get to the place in my career and life like them, then I will certainly have to do the same; own my gifts and talents.

    Loved the quotes! Loved the post! And love you for being you! Keep up the great work, my friend. This was awesome! 😉

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Deeone!

      Anytime I start comparing myself to others no good comes of it. I want to have a happy and purposeful life and to do so I must practice focusing on the areas I can do good work, and let go of everything I can’t. For me that means no comparing!

      I also know that the real value and meaning behind my life is not some external measure of success. When I am happy and content the feeling does not come from external indicators of success, it comes from being happy with who I am and what I have.

      I love what you shared about owning our gifts and talents! It’s really the only way I know to make progress on my goals.

      I’m so grateful for your friendship, Deeone. We are kindred spirits. :)

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  16. A nice post! I do think comparing ourselves to others is an easy trap to fall into. It’s always nice to be reminded to NOT do that- especially someone as inspirational as Jon Acuff! No matter what we do, we each have the opportunity to make a difference, in our own way. I love that part of blogging and writing, as it allows us to be ourselves. BTW- I enjoyed meeting you. I sat a couple seats to your left listening to the amazing Chris Mann!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Sara! It was great to meet you at BlissDom! I wish we could have had more time to talk one-on-one. Maybe next year.

      I love what you shared about having the opportunity to make a difference in our own way- what an empowering message! When we compare ourselves to others, we minimize our power, our beauty, our voice. The best way to get back on track is to focus on shining in our corner of the world. Each of us inspires someone, simply by being ourselves.

      I agree this is one of the wonderful joys of blogging. There are a lot of blogs out there, yet each blogger has a unique voice and perspective to share with the world.

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

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