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Misspegasister28's avatar

How to not compare myself so much?

Asked by Misspegasister28 (2098points) November 2nd, 2015

I have a huge problem of comparing myself to other people (friends, family, classmates, etc.) and it’s becoming a big problem because it’s destroying my self-esteem and it’s keeping me from being happy. How do I stop comparing myself to others and how do I learn to love myself?

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6 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

The practice of noting contrasts, making comparisons and attempting to improve based on the observations – competing, in other words – is a pretty well-ingrained human trait, I think. You might be able to eliminate it from yourself – perhaps – but in succeeding at that you might become a kind of person that you never wanted to be in the first place. (I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, only that it would be such a fundamental personality change in you that it would make you “a different person”, and the possibility that you wouldn’t like that change is a real one.)

So what I would suggest instead is that you maintain the character trait, but develop it in a different way. Use yourself as your own measuring stick, your own yardstick of comparison.

Consider a sport such as golf or bowling. They are competitive sports in that players play “against” each other – they measure their scores against each other to win contests. But the way they become better at what they do is to develop habits of practice, consistency and relentless comparison of “doing better today what they didn’t do quite as well yesterday”. In other words, compare your performance from today – in whatever way you hope to improve – against how you did the same thing yesterday, last week, last month, last year.

Or consider the things you know, understand and simply “do” now that you never knew, never understood and never even attempted in the past.

When you make these kinds of comparisons you are very apt to fall short in some ways and at some times. Not every step leads upward. You’ll fail and fall on occasion. You’ll become frustrated at times with lack of progress and even backtracking. You’ll have to deal with that. (You’re already dealing with it, in fact, but when you compare “the best you can do” against “the best that the best around you” can do in all different aspects of your life, then it’s no wonder that you will fall short. You will always fall short unless you are “the best at everything, ever and always”. And that’s no mortal person that ever lived.)

However, the comparisons you make against “yesterday-you” will not be – cannot be unless you have a very, very warped outlook – “invidious”. That is, there will be no envy of “yesterday-you”, because there is no possible way on Earth that you or anyone else can BE “yesterday-you”. The only way to go is forward, and you can only benchmark and note where you are today, make a plan for what you want to achieve tomorrow, and then work that plan and measure against that plan. Adjust the plan as your capabilities and desires change, but always measure yourself against your own plans, and only against your own plans and expectations.

I’m not saying that you will never be in those contests – as golfers and bowlers are often in competitions, too – but the real struggle is to limit your most intense activity and practice, your day-to-day living, against your own goals, plans, ambitions and standards. I think you might like the person that develops from those habits.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It takes practice. I’m hoping you’re quite young. But whatever your age, recognition of this debilitating handicap is a huge achievement. Believe me, you’re absolutely on the right track.

johnpowell's avatar

Facebook is people lying to project their best. They are scared as fuck when they have bloody stool just like everyone else.

marinelife's avatar

You first need to love yourself just as you are.

One way to stop negative self-talk very effectively and to build up your self esteem is to read and do the exercises in the book Self Parenting: The Complete Guide to Your Inner Conversations by John K Pollard.

Coloma's avatar

The fastest path to misery is comparison and envy and jealously.
There will always be someone thinner, richer or prettier/more handsome than you.
I’ll throw out a bit of poetic philosophy.
Does the Rose compare itself to the Daisy?

Does the Mockingbird compare itself to the Bluebird?
Nothing in nature makes comparisons and is content to rest in its own, unique beingness.
Be like the rose, grasshopper. lol

clairedanajames's avatar

It takes a lot to accept that you are being comparative, and that’s a good sign that you are on the right track. Just try to focus on yourself and be content with it. The key is to be happy with whatever you’ve got. But you need to channel in your entire positive thoughts towards it.

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