How To Break The Cycle Of Comparison To Others


Comparing ourselves to others, for better or worse, is an all too common habit that's part of human nature. In a competitive world, where 'bigger and better' is encouraged and a way of life for many people, it's easy to fall into a cycle of inadequacy or, on the contrary, to feel a sense of superiority. However, much of what we see in people in real life and online is only a glimmer of the entire picture or a facade in some cases. Social comparisons left unchecked can also be a symptom of a much more severe issue, such as depression or an anxiety disorder.

  • Evaluate And Adjust Your Frame Of Mind

Our mindset is the groundwork for how we interact with the world and perceive life in general - it influences what we do, say, think, feel, etc. It is also quite malleable to external factors, such as when we admire someone for a characteristic we like or something they have. They may lead to an internal questioning of self-worth, and you may ask yourself, "Why do I lack what they have?" or "Why can't I will be more like them?"

This negative cycle of questions about your self-worth can be shifted with an action-geared mindset instead. The quality or thing they have that you admire is likely something they worked hard to achieve and can be attainable in your own life. You can view social comparison as a motivator for self-growth and to challenge your mindset with a can-do attitude.

  • Be A Winner - For Yourself

It's essential to remember that each person is unique, with their strengths and weaknesses of varying degrees. However, realistically, these are not a reflection of who you are. Competing with yourself gives you a clean slate, where you can analyze how and what you want to improve and formulate plans for those goals on your terms. It also helps to reflect on your past achievement and personal wins regarding self-improvement. Remember that it was solely you who made those improvements, not other people. Being self-competitive and crediting your success will help reinforce confidence and independence.

  • Evaluate What Triggers Your Comparison To Others

The first step in fixing a problem is evaluating what causes it in the first place. Consider when you compare yourself to others, how often you do it, the feelings you experience, and what thoughts run through your head when it happens. This valuable information will improve our self-awareness and allow us to evaluate our perceived inadequacies more in-depth. From here, you can track your experiences through journaling. Some points of interest to help you assess yourself may include:

  • Who triggered me to self-compare, and what events transpired?
  • How am I comparing myself - what thoughts did the trigger illicit?
  • Which emotions influence my thoughts? (anxiety, shame, disappointment, anger, etc.?)
  • What's the intensity level of these thoughts and feelings? On a scale of 1-5. One being mild to 5 being overwhelming.