Thinking About Parenting

Tips to Help You Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

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Tips to Help You Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Why not me?





Reality TV

One doesn't have to look very far to be exposed to the seemingly perfect lives of others. You scroll or flip through channels and find endless sharing of wealth, cars, homes, vacations, clothes, relationships, and more. 

Before you know it, you find yourself feeling inadequate, short-changed, and envious. 

Why not me? What do they have that I don't have? What's wrong with me? These questions and more leave you quickly checking off a list of all the things you don't have and can cover you in a cloak of unhappiness.

Here's the reality of it: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.


There are moments in everyone's life when we stop and compare ourselves to those who appear to be more fortunate or have it all together. It's hard to ignore the onslaught of visuals fed to us nonstop through so many posts and programs.

The truth is the comparison game was played long before the internet. Years before we were trying to Keep Up with the Kardashians we were challenged to Keep Up with the Joneses

I never met the Joneses, but it seemed clear that they had a perfect life and were obviously better than the rest of us.

They drove a better car than we did.

They lived in a better house than we did.

They wore better clothes than we did.

They went on better trips than we did.

But now we don't need to compare ourselves to the people in our neighborhood, at work, or at school because we can instantly use that small device in our hands to compare our modest existence to people all over the globe.

We find ourselves fixated on the lives of people we do not know and probably will never meet. 

I'm happy to share with you that there are some simple and effective strategies to help you cope and change those "Why not me?" thoughts when they intrude into your mind.

Tips to Help You Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

1. Do A Digital Detox

P.T. Barnum once said, "You can fool most of the people most of the time." 

I think even he would be surprised at the number of people who get fooled by social media. Almost anything can be posted and within a matter of minutes, people around the world view it and accept it as the truth. Without hesitation and even worse, without confirmation.

When did we become so gullible?

Very rarely does what we view on social media reflect reality and truth. Those carefully staged posts showing only the best side of someone's life can easily leave us feeling like we've been left behind in the game of life.

Connect with your feelings and honestly consider unfollowing or turning off notifications from sites that bring you down more than they lift you up.

Your mind reacts to what you regularly feed it. Make sure what you allow in through social media is positive and nurturing. I know that FOMO (fear of missing out) is real for many but is the repeated exposure to posts and information that damage your self-esteem really worth it?

I will discuss steps to completing a digital detox in my next post, but until then, consider either taking a full escape from those posts or simply checking them much less frequently.

2. Redirect Those Comparison Thoughts

In an earlier post, I discussed self-acceptance and the importance of not getting caught up in a compare and despair game.

Read: 10 Ways to Build Your Self-Esteem

When you see a post and your mind goes to thoughts of "I'll never be that pretty", or "I'll never drive a car that nice", or "I'll never be able to visit a place like that", or other discouraging thoughts, challenge those reactions.

Competing with everyone else on the planet is futile. There will always be people with skills, talents, possessions, and other traits and accomplishments above yours, just like there will always be those with less than you.

Being unique is what makes the world go around and the only one you should focus on competing against is yesterday's YOU. Redirect any bad comparison thoughts to gratitude for the things you have presently and your goals to achieve future dreams.

3. Celebrate Your Uniqueness

Take a good long look in the mirror. View with admiration and awe the reflection of the rarest of beings on the planet - YOU. Consider the awesome truth that out of the billions of people ever to walk the earth in the past, present, or future, there will NEVER BE ANOTHER YOU.

Celebrate that uniqueness. Take inventory of what makes you different and fix your mind on a little self-appreciation and thankfulness. The purest joy rests not in having what makes you happy but in being happy with what you have.

Read: 18 Ways to be Happier

Make note of your talents, quirky personality traits, friendships, accomplishments, good heart, sense of humor, and other attributes that combine to make you one-of-a-kind.

God doesn't make junk. You are meant to be you. Put your efforts into being the best version of yourself. That will be your best contribution to the world. 

I can never be you and you can never be me.

And that is grand!

"I'm losing myself trying to compete, with everyone else instead of just being me." 
-Demi Lovato

4. Set Your Goals

It is easy to get tangled up in the comparison trap when you don't have goals to focus on or a well-defined purpose in life.

Read: 4 Tips For Finding Your Purpose In Life

Having a firm foundation of values, purpose, self-worth, and clear goals allows little time to get sidetracked by thoughts of how much better someone else's life is. Choose your race and run that race to the best of your ability. 

Tie your definition of success to what's meaningful to you, your purpose, goals achieved, and the connections in your life, not by comparing your journey to that of another.

"Comparison with myself brings improvement, comparison with others brings discontent." 
-Betty Jamie Chung

5. Gain With Gratitude

When we spend our time comparing behind-the-scenes life to the edited highlight-reel lives of others, we often lose sight of all the good in our lives. Every one of us has something to be grateful for if we push pause and look closely. 

Read: 80 Things To Be Grateful For

Compose a list of all the things you have to be thankful for. If you truly put in the effort, you'll be surprised at how blessed you are.

I start most days taking time to give thanks for my home, Barb's love, a bed to sleep in, air to breathe, a heart that beats strong in my chest, my family, the great people who read my blog, friends near and far, and other things that I want to keep in mind not to take for granted.

Counting your blessings makes it easier to ignore the temptation to harbor pity and self-doubt when you don't think your life measures up to someone's social media post.

"Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged." 
-Helen Keller

6. Be Keen On Kindness

If you truly took the gratitude exercise above to heart, you'd quickly realize that there are always others who have less than you, who hurt more than you, and who would gladly welcome some of the things you might take for granted.

Be kind to others, especially those who lack the means to reciprocate. We all have different assets, skills, talents, and other gifts, but we can all be kind to others. Sharing your good fortune, time, respect, or just a smile will remind you of your blessings and reduce the need to compare what you don't have to what others do. 

And both the giver and receiver of kindness reap the benefits.

Read: Being Kind to Others

7. Remember Reality

Here's the first reality. NOBODY EXCELS AT EVERYTHING.

You don't have to be the best at everything you try. In fact, that thought process keeps many people from trying new things and enjoying new experiences.

Be the very best version of you. You should seek to celebrate each other's successes, yours too, instead of making everything a top to bottom ranking.

"You can't compare an apple to an orange. It will cause a lot of self-esteem issues." 
-Craig Sheffer

8. Run The Right Race

If you were on the track team and your skill was the shot put, it would not be expedient to expect to place well in the one-mile race. It would also seem petty not to be happy for the winner of the one-mile race, or for them not to congratulate you on a good shot put toss.

Every person has their own race to run. It would be less than prudent and even self-defeating to waste your talents trying to compete in someone else's specialty. 

Look on others for motivation to be the best you, and not as a source of envy. Find your purpose in life and run that race with effort and commitment. Being true to yourself is the best start to running that race.

Read: 4 Tips for Remaining True to Yourself

Final Thoughts on Comparing Yourself to Others

I admit that it is easy to fall into the comparison trap. There is so much media (both mass and social) consistently working to get us to do just that. 

The next time you encounter feelings of self-doubt or insecurity because of some post or advertisement, pause on purpose and remind yourself that it's only your inner cheerleader getting briefly knocked off the pyramid. Brush that cheerleader off and return it back to the top of the pyramid with a little positive self-talk.

We all have those moments but remember how boring the world would be if we all looked the same, sounded the same, wore the same clothes, drove the same car, and possessed no differences.

Embrace your unique qualities and the talents of those around you. There are more than enough events in the track meet to go around. Run your event the very best you can.

Now go live your best life,