How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Will Aylward
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Let's be honest, you are a bit of a loser. There are heaps more people in the world who are more successful, better looking, richer, sexier, and a hell of a lot more popular than you. Do you see them? Just look around you!

Now tell me...as you read that, how did you feel? Are you going to let me write about you like that? If I told you this to your face, would you nod along in agreement or would you give me a good bop on the nose?

Good for you if you would do the latter! The truth is, I think you are incredible. No one else does you, better than you! But I have a question: why do you talk to yourself like that?

Self Pity and Negative Talk

It's not hard to become disheartened these days and to end up talking to ourselves in this critical and negative way. Facebook and Instagram are perfect catalysts for those moments of self-pity and dissatisfaction, staring at our phone screens admiring how well everyone else seems to be doing.

"Wow, Sasha from High School has it all! A new car. New job. She married her dream guy, living in a dream house, and her kids are all so adorable."

Sure, there may be people who seem more 'successful' (whatever that even means to you), but do you ever stop to notice how many people are worse off than you? I mean, in the eyes of many people in the world, you have it all: access to clean water, a roof over your head, opportunities for an education and employment.

Switching to gratitude from a place of comparison feels very different, doesn't it?

Why Do We Compare?

Here's the thing...comparing ourselves to others is a natural and inherited instinct. It's important that we are able to quickly analyze others to see how similar they are to us and to ultimately decide whether or not they are a threat to our survival.

Although this ability has a positive intention and served us when we were living in caves and survived in tribes, this is not a habit we want to strengthen and practice in the present and future.

It's exhausting, childish, and simply doesn't serve us at all.

Imagine that you became more 'successful'—maybe you got a raise and promotion, or you can finally lift off in Crow pose and hold it gracefully—you'll still be comparing yourself to the guy or girl above you on the next rung of the ladder. So you have to ask: where will the comparison end?!

A More Positive Reality

Unless you stop with the comparing, you will continue to feel a sense of jealousy or dissatisfaction. So I'm proposing an alternative. How would things be different if:

1. The only person you compared yourself to was the person you were yesterday? If you had a healthy sense of competition with just yourself, striving to improve yourself whilst staying mindful of the fact you are enough right now?

2. You only paid attention to your own greatness, your own successes and the things that make you admirable in the eyes of others?

Step into this way of living for a moment and notice how it would feel to live from this place.

The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

Do you think a lion looks at a zebra and says "Oh, I wish I had her stripes...they really make her look slim"? NO, the Lion is too busy grooming his beautiful coat and mauling antelope with his huge teeth to care.

Do you reckon the birds look down at the fish and ask, "Why do they have fins and we're just stuck here with these stupid wings"? NO, they are too busy soaring through the skies.

Another point I want to make is this: have you ever considered that there are people who admire you and wish they could be more like YOU? You have qualities, quirks, skills, and strengths that are completely unique to you. No one in the world can boast of exactly what you have.

So please, stop comparing yourself to others. Realize how unique you are and the greatness that lies within you. When you catch yourself comparing yourself to others, remind yourself that they, like you, have strengths and imperfections. Be extraordinary.

Image credit: Loren Peta