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Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: An Alternative to Competing with People

Comparing

“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” ~Unknown

We all do it or have done it at some point in our lives: We compare ourselves to others and gauge where we are based on what we observe them to be doing.

If this was simply an observation, that would be one thing. But in comparing ourselves to others, we often end up judging ourselves. There’s no one worse to judge!

If you have ever noticed, it doesn’t matter how many people are on your side, cheering you on. If you can’t get on your own side, you never get past “go.”

The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having, or doing more.

And this just leaves us coming up short.

But our minds do want to quantify. Our minds want to rank and file and organize information. Our mind wants to know where we fit into the scheme of things. So we need to give it something to do.

So, instead of training it to stop comparing altogether, why not simply redirect the comparison to a past and a present self and keep the comparison within?

We are always becoming more. Who you are today is a result of the decisions you made yesterday. We are always in a state of creation. We decide and then we decide again, and the direction is always toward expansion. It is our human nature to expand.

So, when you catch yourself comparing yourself to another, stop for a moment and re-direct the thought. Instead of submitting to the temptation to compare yourself to someone else, ask yourself a few questions instead.

What are you doing today that you couldn’t have done five, three, or even one year ago? How have you stepped out in the last year that you might have found inconceivable before?

What new decisions have you made or what new actions have you taken that have resulted in you moving in a new direction in your life?

What are your wins this year, compared to last year at this time? How has your life improved? How have you improved? What have you done recently that you never thought you could do?

What negative behavior have you stopped engaging in, that you never thought you could quit? What positive behavior have you been engaging in that up until now, you have resisted?

How are you doing more of what you said you were going to do and shown up more consistently for your own success?

In other words, how have you continued to become a new and improved version of yourself?

That’s the stuff that counts. Comparing ourselves with someone else is an inaccurate and irrelevant measuring stick.

Think about the faulty logic. Take, for example, an introvert who feels energized after periods of solitude. What does she get by comparing herself to a gregarious, outgoing personality who gets bored by an hour alone with herself?

What kind of illogical conclusions can she come to by this comparison?

Take any one of our perpetual comparisons and question the logic. Most are completely irrational in their reasoning.

We all came in different. We all came in with certain intentions that through life experience, we have continued to hone. In fact, the only masterful creation we have to work with is ourselves.

So, why defame it?

Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

How well we do this is our measurement.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing with their block of stone. The statue that they are liberating is one of their own intentions. But how well we are doing with our own block of stone is our business.

And we must tend to it with honor, care, compassion, and praise.

Because when we have allowed for more expression this year than we have in the last, and more importantly we recognize it, than we can stand taller as a result of the comparison instead of diminished by it.

That makes more sense. Doesn’t it?

Photo here

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About Sonya Derian

Sonya Derian is the owner and founder of Om Freely, a company dedicated to helping people live out loud, tap into their power, and transform their lives. To pick up your free ebook: Om Freely: 30 Ways to Live Out Loud, please visit http://omfreely.com . Or check out her online store at: http://cafepress.com/omfreely.

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  • http://cheers2healthy.blogspot.com Evelyn @ cheers2healthy

    I love the Michaelangelo quote. This post speaks a lot to me. Thanks.

  • cinderella

    than you very much for this article.. i really needed this one.. it's like an answered prayer.. this has been disturbing me for the past few days..

  • Jim

    This is the hotness that I needed. I am still associated with many people in my past life and always see how they have advanced in their career. I have stopped myself now and again to reflect that I am in a different place than they are, but I can't stop but think where I would be if I stayed in that industry.

  • http://www.365lessthings.com Colleen

    You are so right, it is crazy to compare yourself with others. I have always said we need garbage men in this world just as much as we need brain surgeons so why do we look up to some profession and down on others. We all came into this world with a blueprint and we aren't all ment to be the same thing just love what you are doing and do and be the best you can. At 45 I am still trying to figure out what my blueprint is but I will get there and if I don't maybe I have been living it all along without knowing it.

  • http://omfreely.com Sonya

    Hi Colleen,
    I love that you write this. I think so many people feel this way. I think the blue print is always joy. And when you follow this, you can't go wrong. Joy is the quest and I find when I'm following what feels good to me, what makes my heart sing, than I have found my passion and in that, my purpose. I think they're both one and the same. The question then becomes, why am I not following it more often? And that seems to be the work. Allowing. Allowing the joy. HAH! It seems so simple, doesn't it? . . . We're all in this together.

  • http://omfreely.com Sonya of Om Freely

    Hi Jim,
    Like you, I've done the same thing. I just got a message on facebook from an old classmate who has gone on to do amazing things, and I noticed that I got into a little comparison. But I think there are two trajectories. The conventional linear path, and the non conventional artist path. And I know I'm of the latter. I have to find my own way. And maybe you did too? Maybe you took a risk to express something different. Maybe your life called out a different course. I always find it helpful to look back at the situation and ask myself honestly – given my circumstances and where I was at at the time, could I have done it any differently? And my answer is always no – There didn't seem like another option at the time. And so, I trust that there is something bigger than me that made the decision at the moment. And I trust that it will be revealed. And I follow the next logical step until a fuller picture begins to emerge. And then sooner or later it all begins to make sense. . . to your success :-)

  • shoebox girl

    hi jim,
    i'm also in the same situation. Seeing a lot of my classmates way back becoming successful and having all it all make me jealous at times. Comparing myself to them makes me feel that i'm a loser. but eventually i realize that i should stop comparing myself because i'm not like them. my life is not molded according to their standard of success. i just follow what i feel is the right path for me. no turning back just focusing in all the positive areas of my life. along the way my mindset have changed for the better. just believe in yourself. good luck!!!:)

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  • Dawn

    Just found this from a link from a new tweet on “35 Simple Ways To Be Beautiful.” This was so helpful. Being single in my mid-30's, since I always hear men admiring youth and beauty, I notice I always compare myself to other women who are younger or more attractive and often feel that with women like that around, why would a man ever choose me? I really wanted a new way of thinking to break out of that painful pattern. Thanks so much for this article.

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  • Presence333

    This is a good read, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.
    I’ve studied mental comparisons with people for a while and figured when I compare, I either get a sense of pride (which has it’s own, ridiculous, long term, heart-forsaking disasters) or lowered self-esteem.
    But you’re right, it is hard to stop the process all together. I’ve tried. Hah. And that is a good solution to try out. So again, thank you.
    Gotta go!

  • Kathryn

    I agree with all this, but how do you STOP???? No one has ever been able to answer that sufficiently for me. It’s like I can know all of this intellectually, and I can do the self-work to get better at it, but there are still those moments where I feel really inadequate. It’s one of my biggest problems, and I KNOW it takes energy away from what I should be doing. But I can’t seem to stop it! Any ideas?

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  • http://twitter.com/monicasancio MONICA SANCIO

    I am always happy when I focus on my own self-improvement, growth & giving the best of me to others… Vs. any sort of irrational, illogical or damaging comparison.
    I truly believe and know myself more & better than anyone on this planet- funny, because I love to ask for advice-, but the truth is that I know exactly what I want, who I am, what makes me tick, what moves me, motivates me & what makes me HAPPY, SUCCESSFUL & FULFILLED. Thank you for a very important article in this crazy society… ; )

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  • Elizabeth

    This is really helpful and thought-provoking, thank you. So well written, too.

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  • http://twitter.com/himanet Hima Bindu Vejella

    Each one is unique! Have thier positives and negatives. Why to compare with others.

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  • Cassyduv

    facebook at times triggers me to compare myself to others..so in order to control myself.. I stop off browsing their status and photos so I would not know anything that would press me to start comparing. I am not sure if it will be helpful but I am beginning to do it and it is actually my new years resolution. :) But do you think I am doing the right thing? I hope so.

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  • Go Easylife4you

    It is very difficult to look at the people around us and try to not compare ourselves in some way.  But, with a mindset shift, it becomes much easier.  My mantra is “play your own game” – by this, I look to compare myself to myself rather than others. 

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  • AaronS

    Great article. I noticed I was comparing myself to a co-worker (again), and that I was coming up on the short end of the stick. On top of that I was really letting myself have it. I know I need to stop, but stopping by saying “don’t compare yourself to others” is a lot like saying “don’t think about a pink elephant”. This is a nice alternative and is really the only way to go. No one else has experienced all that I have, and there are certainly qualities I have that my co-worker does not although I don’t see them or choose to overlook them as the case may be.

  • J Atman

    Friends,

    Have you ever wondered, what is the use, at all, if any, to measure?
    What is it that we are trying to measure, and for what purpose? What is the result of measurement? What is the benefit, or worse, the curse of measurement? Because that is what comparison is: we measure a “self” whatever that means to another”self” and we hope that there would be a difference, and we use the difference for better or for worse.
    Why?
    Is it that we are incapable to behold the Immeasurable, the Glory of Uniqueness and Perfection of the Self-As-One, the Self-As-Is, that we need to measure and so that we get a second-hand subtraction being the self as a calculation, a presupposition, a deduction (I am not this therefor I must be that) and so on.
    And then we forever scan the horizon for things to measure ourselves against so that we are forever dissatisfied, forever anxious, forever insecure?
    And if we were capable to behold the Immeasurable, what would we do with it? Can we bottle it and sell it? To whom? Can we write a self-help book on it? Do you get it?
    For as long as there is comparison in the conscious mind, there is sickness in the mind-body. When comparison stops, the fault finding exercise ends and we wake up to the primordial mind, the mind of innocence, we then see that the conscious mind is aligned with the subconscious and that the self is all that is. And that is enlightenment.

    May the Great Silence abide in you

  • I miss him.

    I just can’t seem to stop.

  • Snow

    This direction to compare ourselves with our own past is based on the assumption that we have improved, gained something, or accomplished something that we couldn’t do in our past. This doesn’t help at all if your present is less than your past. In fact, it just makes it worse.

  • Single In Atlanta

    Yes, you are. I actually canceled my FB years ago for that same reason. =)

  • Meredith

    This is a really old post, but if you’re still reading this, Kathryn, I think there are a couple of tools you can use. One is to think about your own assets. Oftentimes, that makes us realize we have something (many things!) others do not that we love about ourselves. It is also helpful to notice what it is you envy and use it as a goal setter – that will help you check yourself and see if the success or whatever you’re comparing is something that’s really important to you, or if it just seems that way because it’s glamorous, etc. I hope this helps, and please know you’re not alone! It’s natural to go through this!

  • Addie

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve reached an understanding. It’s been a daily battle in my head with my crazy comparisons that it would always bring me down so low I didn’t know if I could bring myself out of it. Thanks so much again. Ill do my best to take this to heart.

  • Kahlen

    Thank you! This is the most sensible response to this question I’ve seen among the plethora of posts plastered across the Internet. Comparisons can be constructive once applied properly and approached without resentment towards yourself or the object of your “envy”. Comparisons can and should be used to motivate. And it’s such bs that people say comparing yourselves to others is wrong…why do therapists send depressed patients to soup kitchens? To compare yourselves to those less fortunate, that’s why! So you can feel better about yourself after spending time with people who have no one on a lower rung to compare themselves to. Smh

  • Anne

    Thank you this has really helped. This is something I’ve struggled with all my life and continue to. I’m trying to train my mind around it and focus on myself but I need constant reminding….I’m trying!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AmroSalama Amro Salama

    I found the questions to ask very helpful. Thank you. I would add that there is nothing anyone has ever done that we can’t do ourselves. So use someone else’s success as proof that you can do it for you. Even celebrate their success as your own and you will quickly summon that success to yourself. There is more than enough for everyone!!!

  • Skas

    I disagree with your statement, I think the main reason therapists send depressed patients to soup kitchens is for them to feel what it is like to help others. Speaking for my self, if i compare my self to those who are less fortunate, i would feel guilt… alot of it… and infact it would send my depression deeper.

    So yeah, Its more about showing love. <3

  • Insists

    Thanks a lot for this useful article. And I hope I can survive from this shit
    Because its been going on for a while and it’s driving me crazy :(

  • Vicky

    I want to know about urself Dawn..

  • Kathy Strahan

    Your willingness is the first step. Realize that first of all. Then, you want to be patient with yourself to change the common habit of comparing. Louise Hey (amazing author) comes to mind. She teaches how to love and accept ourselves right now. Utter contentment despite worlds crashing around us. Louis Hey can easily be found on Amazon. Then please go to this great website where you can learn some other practical ways to breathe, calm down, slow down, and begin to let up on yourself.

    http://zenhabits.net/lifes-enough-stop-comparing-yourself-to-others/

    At this site you will get some how-to’s. I also wrote about this issue. So, please let me know how I can help you further. I get it. I have to overcome this habit too.

  • Kishore

    Very good article. “Comparing ourselves with someone else is an inaccurate and irrelevant measuring stick” – This is the key !!. Thanks a lot.

  • Andrea

    agreed. this is exactly how i feel.

  • Openmindedpositivity

    Thank you so much for this awesome article. It gave me so many “AHA” moments. I’m curious though, being someone who often works around the performing arts, I wonder: How can I not compare myself to the success of others when society judges and compares us all the time? For example, if I go to an audition, I am judged and compared against other artists. When a person sees someone on a picture, they often compare that person to others. And even if a person goes to a job interview, that person is compared against others.

    So how can we not compare ourselves to others when society compares us all the time? This is a ringing question in my head. Thanks again for your great wisdom!

  • Senya

    I find this so hard. I have struggled with comparing myself to others my entire life. I compare my looks, my age, my money, my success, what I have or haven’t done, my relationships, my personality, fashion. There’s no doubt it stems from a place of low self-esteem but it really dominates my life. I was thinking of cognitive behavioural therapy.

  • Senya

    FB is a major trigger for me as well, especially as people can upload their best photos and photoshop or edit them. I hide, delete or block people that make me jealous and I try not to facebook stalk. FB stalking REALLY triggers my lack of self-worth and makes me compare to others and feel bad.

  • http://kawaiibutoldfashioned.blogspot.com Anthea Cabrestante

    i haven’t deactivated my facebook but i seldom open it for that same reason. :D Facebook is not the place to find true friends anyway. People nowadays measure their worth through “likes”, and I used to think that way too. I am now working on myself, trying to love myself as much as possible, than spend time comparing myself to my Facebook friends. We really can’t help but compare. Gosh I need time to love and accept myself more.

  • Amy

    Hi! I have been having this problem for a bit now, especially since I’ve been married. I admit that I have poor self esteem and I worry a lot that my husband will meet someone he is more attracted to, or maybe someone from his past. I’ve talked to him about this, and even though he tries to reassure me that he loves me, thinks I’m “beautiful” and doesn’t want anyone else, I can’t stop these thoughts from getting in my head. I just don’t know how to stop this. Just tonight I saw a picture of my husband with a female friend of his. Ever since I’ve been thinking things he must think she is more fun, more attractive, maybe he misses being close to her.
    I seem to find myself comparing to others a lot, and if anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks! : )