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How to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others


8th December 2015 by Svetlana Bikulich


“Comparison is the thief of joy”. This undeniable expression of Theodore Roosevelt, the ex-president of United States of America, has always been really topical and is now applicable to our society more than ever.

Being not exclusion from those, who are also concerned with this issue, I desperately want to find the answer to the question “Why do we constantly compare ourselves to others?


Trying to solve this complicated dilemma psychologist Leon Festinger back in 50s started his research on a topic of social comparison. He found out that by comparison a person could whether feel himself/herself on the top of success or drop from the cliff of disappointment. Social environment regularly whips us up, we look at others and think: “Yes, I should definitely live like this, I should go on the vacation there, I should do this many squats to look like this model”.

The desire for comparison is dramatically growing with the development of social media. Our self-satisfaction is falling with every minute spent scrolling down the Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram news posts. Well, it is not surprising since someone is lying under the sun on a yacht somewhere near the Canary Islands right now, while we are busy with cleaning our apartments or sitting in an office. It seems like the whole world is living its life to the full and we are hiding somewhere in a corner.

A report made by the charity Girlguiding stated that because of the images and photos, which teenagers and young adults see every day in social media, 24% of adolescents aged between 16 and 18 say that they are not very happy or totally unhappy with their lives. Moreover, 52% of young women are not satisfied with their appearance or even feel miserable about that. That is all because people in social media show themselves from the good side only: glossing over their stories, filtering photos. And as a result, we observe an attractive page, full of colourful pictures, so that we cannot take our eyes off and start feeling blue, since our life is not that perfect.

Of course I am not saying that you should stay far away from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to not disappoint yourself. Of course not. You should work on yourself. You ask how?


How to fight the desire for comparison?


First, think about who gains in this situation? Nobody. Only you loose and suffer because of your thoughts, distresses and miseries. Even though that it is scientifically proved that humans cannot control the process of comparison, as it happens subconsciously, there is still a way out. Our aim is to turn an upsetting process of comparison into something positive. If we think about that more deeply, comparison can be considered as a strong stimulus for our self-improvement and work as a motivation for you to develop yourself. Start working on yourself and stop complaining on your miserable life. If you finally pulled yourself together and decided to better your life, here are some advises how to start.

  1. Know what you want from life. A person, who does not know what he wants always gets lost in the unstoppable flow of others’ opinions. Do not rush and think before you act. What are your real goals? Try to analyse all your life principals and if you are lost, attend some seminars and training courses and see how others cope with the same issue.
  2. Compare yourself to … yourself. When you know what you really want but feel that it is still a long way till you reach the perfection, compare yourself with the person you were yesterday, a week or a month before. If you do even a little progress, it will still be visible and give you more motivation to continue. Only when you feel that you have enough strength and experience, you can start competing with someone, who is better than you. You won – perfect! If you lost, you have something to think about and understand what you lack and what you need in order to reach the goal.
  3. Strive for the ideal. There is always a person who is stronger, more beautiful, and cleverer but it is not a reason to give up. It is a stimulus to become stronger, cleverer and more talented every day. Little and big progress makes us feel happier and more successful but success does not come easy.
  4. Lean how to boast. The best way to overcome the lack of confidence is to praise yourself and tell people about your accomplishments. List your strengths and every time try to add something to that list. It would be even better if you do it in front of the mirror. The majority of women answering the question about ‘what part of their body they find the most attractive’ name their face. Psychologists call this mere exposure effect, which explains that people tend to express undue liking for things merely because of familiarity with them. Thus, more we look at ourselves in the mirror, the more we like ourselves.


What do we have in the end? The article is called “How to stop comparing ourselves to others” but in the end of a day comparison happened to be a very useful tool. So, if you know how to make use of this tool properly, you will definitely benefit from it. Maybe all you need is to look on obvious things from a different perspective? Find yourself and become a unique person. Being loyal to yourself in the first place and being aware of your worth, what can be more fascinating than that?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde



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