How to stop comparing yourself to others: 5 practical tips

Comparisons can be odious, but there is nothing we can do about it. It is an intrinsic aspect of human nature to compare yourself to others, both in the good and in the bad, especially in the bad.

Others always seem to have something we crave: a good car, toned bodywork, better pay… If we just look at how good they are and compare it to what we think we lack, we won’t be very. happy.

Knowing how to stop comparing yourself to others is something you’ve probably asked yourself more than once.. Obsessive comparisons are bad for our sanity, which is why we’ll explain how to end them. Stay tuned.

    Why it’s important to know how to stop comparing yourself to others

    Comparing yourself to others is common behavior. It is quite normal to do this, because comparison is an essential element in people’s social life. In fact, social psychologist Leon Festinger described 1954 as human beings we create part of our identity by comparing ourselves to others, by evaluating our abilities, our looks, our opinions and even our social standing by comparing ourselves to others.. We resort to this strategy when we cannot objectively and independently assess our characteristics.

    Festinger spoke of two types of comparison: on the one hand, we would have the comparison upward, when we compare ourselves to another person whom we consider superior or gracious in an aspect that is meaningful to us; the other is the top-down comparison, when we do it with someone we consider inferior or who has nothing at our disposal. As a rule, increasing comparisons are a source of discomfort and frustration, while the descendants generally bring well-being and satisfaction.

    Although trite, we shouldn’t think of over-comparisons to be healthy. Comparing ourselves to others can often be very damaging to our mental health, especially considering that we tend to make comparisons more upward than downward. In fact, even in people who have some sort of disability, we’re more likely to look at what we don’t have and they don’t do it the other way around.

    Consequences of comparing yourself to others

    As we have mentioned, the upward comparison is a source of discomfort and, if done on a recurring and persistent basis, ends up having serious consequences on the mental health of those who practice it. Because the person constantly compares themselves and believes that they are inferior to almost everyone, their self-esteem and self-worth gradually decline.

    Some of the main consequences of over-comparing include:

    1. Decreased self-esteem

    As we said, our self-esteem weakens compared to others. The reason is that we stop focusing on ourselves and our abilities, always making us see them as inferior to others..

    While comparisons should motivate us to improve what we lack the most, constant comparison can make us lose hope that there will always be someone better off than us.

    It can go so far as to cause rejection of oneself for not having the qualities that others have and which are so desired.

      2. Waste of time

      The comparisons are automatic, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take time off. When you fall into one of them it can spin over and over again, delve into its “faults”, always very subjective. It may be that these same faults are also sought out in others, in the hope that other people have the same problem or even worse.

      Whether up or down, the comparison will waste time. Time that we could invest to improve the desired quality or, directly, take advantage of it to have a more pleasant life.

        3. It harms our social life

        Compare yourself to others this often causes us to feel embarrassed by the presence of other people whom we perceive as better, more qualified, attractive or better endowed..

        It may also happen that when we are trying to make friends with them or when they are, we cannot help but constantly think about all that they have and all that we are missing, overwhelming us and feeling a unhealthy envy towards them. . Friendship can become a kind of competition or a relationship of excessive vain glory, a toxic dynamic.

        4. Lower your mood

        He who is constantly compared is not happy. He is not able to see what he has and how much he really needs. He doesn’t see the good things that make up his personality and obsessively focuses on the bad things he thinks he has.

        Comparisons extinguish our joy, they cause us discomfort and dissatisfaction. Feeling less than others and making our self-worth dependent on what we see in others ruins our well-being.

          Tips for comparing yourself to others

          As we have mentioned, comparisons are a normal aspect of the human condition, which is given to our interaction with others. However, being human doesn’t mean we have to do it often, as we’ve said before. Comparisons can hurt us a lot, that is why we need to know how to control them, which we can achieve by applying the following tips to our lives.

          1. Recognize that we compare ourselves to others

          The first thing is to recognize that we compare ourselves to others. It sounds simple, but it’s more complicated than it looks, because when comparisons have become a very common habit, which we do almost every day, it’s hard to notice. It has become a daily dynamic, something we keep thinking about when we walk or breathe.

          To recognize it, we need to be vigilant and identify some indicators such as dissatisfaction with self, desire for skills and other positive traits that we see in others, see how we behave competitively with others. others, or feeling jealous of a friend on a daily basis. , partner or person from social media.

          It is essential to identify in which contexts we feel this way, with which people, with what specific trait or aspect and, very importantly, what emotions this produces in us. A highly recommended trick would be to write it down in a journal or on a sheet, analyze the whole comparison, delve deeper into the guts. Once we are aware of the problem, it will be easier to work on the solution.

          2. Identify what we want to change

          Once we understand how we compare ourselves to others, it’s time to reflect on who we are and how much we’ve accomplished. As we’ve seen before, we certainly have some really good stuff. No one is perfect, of course we will have a few flaws, but neither are we a complete disaster.

          There is always a skill, a trait that puts us above others. When we compare ourselves to others we realize these apparent flaws, so it’s time to look at the strengths. It’s complicated, as the human mind seems to be designed to constantly apply the bias of negativity, but luckily and with a little effort we can break free from its tyranny.

          Identifying what we want to change will help us put in the means to improve it, instead of spending energy on identifying what others have that we don’t have. Additionally, knowing how good we are will motivate us to understand that just as we have accomplished some things, with more effort, we can accomplish much more.

            3. Don’t idolize others

            It’s one thing to admire someone and another to idolize them, to glorify them in everything.. It’s okay to want to look like someone you think of as a role model, either because of her condition or because of everything she’s accomplished, but not overdoing it. We must understand that the many things he possesses is only the desirable part of that person, as he will also have flaws and, perhaps, complexities. This person has weaknesses, just like you and anyone else.

            4. Less use of social media

            Social networks don’t represent the real world. In this virtual space, people only show their best faces, giving the false impression that they have no difficulties or flaws. If we expose ourselves too much, we are more likely to compare ourselves and to feel that everyone is better than us.

            Behind all the photos of apparent success and positive experiences that we see on virtual platforms is normal, battery life. Travel photos, expensive clothes, toned bodies… all of this is something that those who publish them have decided they want to show others. They don’t show how many times they stayed home, what old clothes they still keep, or how many times they skipped daytime practice to stay home to watch TV.

            These networks have the problem of being so huge that no matter what we do, we’ll always find someone better in just about anything we compare ourselves to. What is recommended is to use social media less or, directly, to learn about certain platforms that will only increase our insecurities and frustrate us.

              5. Seek professional help

              Whether you think you need it or not, best of all advice is seek professional help to assess the severity of this problem. After all, excessive comparisons cause psychological distress, which must be treated by a psychologist. Behind these comparisons are often self-esteem issues, an obsession with a beauty canon, or relatively unattainable skills. Psychotherapy, no matter how often the comparisons are made, will increase our well-being.

              Bibliographical references

              • Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. pages 117-140.
              • Gulas C, McKeage K. Extension of social comparison: an examination of the unintended consequences of idealized advertising images. Advertising review. 2013; 29 (2): 17-28.
              • Gómez L. Social comparison and self-assessment from an evolutionary approach. psychology writings [Internet]. 2005; 7: 2-14.
              • Dijkstra P, Gibbons F, Buunk A. Social comparison theory. In: JE Maddux, JP Tangney (Eds.), Social Psychological Foundations of Clinical Psychology. New York: The Guilford Press; 2010. 195-211.
              • Tesser, A .; Campbell, J. (1982). “Maintain self-assessment and the perception of friends and strangers.” Personality Journal 50 (3): 261-279. doi: 10.1111 / j.1467-6494.1982.tb00750
              • Vogel E, Rose J, Roberts L, Eckles K. Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of popular media culture. 2014 ; 3 (4): 206-222. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000047
              • Rodríguez M, Huesca A, Peiró J. The effect produced by social comparison and its influence on burnout. Rev. Psychosocial Psychology. 2006, 21 (63): 229-239.

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