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3 Steps to Stop Making Comparisons and Start Valuing Yourself

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings

It seems like everywhere I look, I don’t measure up.

I was giving a presentation recently and noticed that several people seemed bored or distracted.  I looked around the room to gauge my audience’s response to something I said and found myself thinking, “Am I good enough?  Am I providing what this group needs?”

Suddenly, I felt sure that another, more talented presenter would have done a better job.

Later, with a friend, casually flipping through old photos, we both lamented that we were younger and thinner in them.  We chuckled and then we sighed.  Still, I commented that I didn’t like how I looked in the photos, and she said that I looked great.

I started to dispute her out of habit. I thought I should look better somehow. Do you know that feeling? It seems as if I can’t be satisfied with how I look because I should be something more.

There are people all around me who are more talented, thinner, wealthier, happier, nicer, and luckier.  You name it and there is someone who’s got more of it or is better at it than me.

Ever feel that way?

And yet, our tendency is to continue to compare ourselves with others—over and over again. Demoralizing and useless as it is, we keep doing it.  We’re pretty much on autopilot at this point.

Why oh why do we engage in such a fruitless mental activity?  Do we think it’s going to make us feel better in some miraculous way?  Do we think it’s going to motivate us to excel?

What’s that mental comparison thing you do ever done for you?

Does it really motivate you to get going on your diet and exercise plan or your savings plan or your new career path?  I didn’t think so.  I know it doesn’t work that way for me.

I say, “Enough!”

Let’s stop mentally assessing our worth by comparing it to others.

Think about it. What does your status, your value, your worth have to do with anyone else’s?  Really think about that.

In reality, what does my weight have to do with anyone else’s?  How is my net worth any different—in value—if I say it should be equal to or greater than someone else’s?  It’s just not.  Doing the mental comparison thing doesn’t change a thing about me in reality.

I am what I am.  Right now.  And that’s the reality.

I choose to value myself, just as I am. I choose to assess my worth based on my own unique individuality.

Here are a few simple steps to value yourself:

1. Embrace your individuality.

I am a unique individual. So are you. We all are. The next time you find that you’re comparing yourself with someone else, remind yourself that “I am me and I’m proud of that.”  You’ve got to let that sink in. You are your own person.

There’s no one quite like you. Comparisons are irrelevant!  How freeing is that?  Add that to your mental repertoire: “I’m unique, so comparisons are irrelevant.”

2. Flip your focus.

When we’re doing the mental comparison thing, we’re focusing on what they have that we think we don’t have.

Find something that you do have—a trait, a possession, a relationship, a value—that you can feel good about. This has nothing to do with the other person.  This is about not comparing so there’s no need to try to ‘one up’ them in your mind.

For example, the next time I wish I had a big vacation house on the shore, I can remember: I may not have a vacation house, but I do have a loving family to share my time with.

If I find myself comparing my body to another person’s (perhaps a celebrity or someone younger than me), I can flip my focus and remind myself of how well my body has served me all these years.  I can remind myself of other positive traits—that I’m a generous friend, a loving partner, a talented cook, and a very funny person.

Flip your focus and remind yourself of all that you are instead of focusing on what you think you aren’t.

3. Celebrate!

That’s right. Let’s move away from devaluing ourselves and others. Choose to move away from feeling bad about yourself for not being like someone else.

Let’s celebrate ourselves and others for what and who we are.  Let’s be good enough, just as we are, and celebrate that.  Share your gifts and talents. Compliment others in your life when you notice a positive trait or gift that you admire.

Look for the good in everyone, including yourself. Instead of always finding ways that we don’t measure up, let’s celebrate the things about ourselves and others that make us unique, that make us who we are.

Let’s celebrate the fact that we’re all different, and we all have something unique to contribute to this big, beautiful world, just as we are today.

What is one small thing you can do today to embrace your individuality and celebrate yourself, just as you are?

Photo by Lel4nd.

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About Margie Beiswanger

Margie Beiswanger of Transform Your Brilliance teaches entrepreneurs how to translate their unique expertise into signature programs so they can reach more of their ideal clients, leverage their time, expand their business, and earn a good living.  She’s passionate about showing you how your brilliance can shine even brighter!

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
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  • http://www.facebook.com/wade.balsdon Wade Balsdon

    nice article and so very true.

  • Anonymous

    It’s definitely important to realize that you are you, and no one can do what you do as well as you. Comparisons only limit us and our beliefs about personal potential! Everyone is different, and will experience an entirely different life journey as one another, so to compare ourselves to another person (even in a similar lifestyle as your own), is like comparing apples to electronics.

    Thanks for the insight Margie!!

    Check out my latest Podcast on the topic of Persistence and Self-Talk http://bit.ly/g0Ib3B

  • Sally

    Thanks, Margie! Great article!

  • AJ

    I agree! I struggle with this too…it has taken me a long time to realize I have special talents and a unique look and style. If I am judged by that, then those people are not true friends. There is no one in the world like me! What a boring world we would have if everyone was the same!

  • lee

    thank you. :)

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! :)

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie

    Oooh, that’s good “comparing apples to electronics”! I like it.

  • http://www.Fulfilledlifedesign.com Margie

    Thank you for reading it, Sally!

  • http://www.fulfilledlifedesign.com Margie

    Well said, AJ. It certainly *would* be boring if we were all the same. Kudos to you for recognizing your own unique style and special talents. I hope you are regularly celebrating those aspects of your wonderful self!

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  • Christina

    Great post. Thank you for sharing this.

    My ongoing mantra is, “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” That sums it up perfectly for me. I wish I could remember where I first read that. I’ve repeated it often to myself.

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    Thank YOU for reading! :)

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    Wonderful mantra! Thank you for sharing that, Christina. So powerful and TRUE!! I’m going to start reminding myself (and my clients) of that, as well.

  • Yasmeen

    Wow! I really needed this today…Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose AlannahRose

    I have always been someone who has valued my uniqueness and not compared myself to others. I’ve always been aware of the differences between me & others (mostly because I tend not to fit in and those differences are very clear to me), but I can honestly say that I don’t ever look at someone else and wish I had what they had. I really appreciate that I am able to do that because it bypasses so much potential baggage and jealousy… when someone accomplishes something great, or buys something really cool, I’m able to just be happy and appreciate that for them, and I don’t get into the mindset that it is taking something away from me instead, or that I need to “compete” with them. It’s so much simpler and freeing to be able to appreciate myself, my gifts, my accomplishments etc. for what they are and not on some kind of scale measured up against people who really have nothing to do with me. If someone has accomplished something I want to do, I just use that as inspiration and maybe even as a chance to talk to them about how they did it and get some tips.

    Great article–so many good & helpful points. I wish more people were able to appreciate themselves “as is”. We are all blazing our own unique trails!

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  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    Don’t you just love it when a daily post speaks directly to what you need at that time? Thank you for reading, Yasmeen.

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    I love your mindset, Alannah Rose. And you are so right that we bypass “so much potential baggage and jealousy” when we appreciate ourselves instead of doing the comparison thing. Well said. It’s all about abundance, isn’t it? There is so much wonder and abundance worth celebrating in this world, and we’re all contributors. :)

  • Robertha

    This is soo good, THERE ARE definitely times when I feel like this, especially being a teenager. I hate just feeling like this all the time, because I feel like most people my age focus on the materialistic, who’s prettier, who has more, who’s more popular and if you’re not don’t talk to them. If anything I’m thankful for what I am, and that for some reason we have what we have.

  • Robertha

    This is soo good, THERE ARE definitely times when I feel like this, especially being a teenager. I hate just feeling like this all the time, because I feel like most people my age focus on the materialistic, who’s prettier, who has more, who’s more popular and if you’re not don’t talk to them. If anything I’m thankful for what I am, and that for some reason we have what we have.

  • Robertha

    BTW I really needed this today, Thank You so much. Your website is just pretty much AH-MAZING! :)

  • Robertha

    BTW I really needed this today, Thank You so much. Your website is just pretty much AH-MAZING! :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thank you Robertha! I’m Lori–I run this site. I’m so glad that you enjoy it! =)

  • http://profiles.google.com/john.pk05 John Peekay

    Thank you for sharing in the insight.
    John P K

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    Robertha, you are ahead of the curve for being aware that most people (not just teenagers, believe it or not) spend their time comparing themselves to others. Stay on the path of recognizing your own unique beautiful qualities. You are you so that the world can be blessed with your contributions. Be sure to celebrate that! :)

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    I’m glad you found it helpful, John. Thank you for reading.

  • Si

    Great little article. And so true. We do get in these autopilot modes, these modes of negativity..its sometimes work to stay out of that black hole each day. But worth it if you can remember all these good tipss :)

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  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    It *is* true, isn’t it – how easy it is to get into a negative autopilot mode. Just think if we started spending our energy on getting into a *positive* autopilot mode, what a difference it would make in our day. Ahhhh.

  • Raoai

    Love Tiny Buddha and love this article! It is such a positive message to “Look for the good in everyone, including yourself.” I find that when I don’t let something become an issue then others will not make it an issue. Thank you for reminding me to be my own best friend.

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    You are so welcome for the reminder to be your own best friend, Raoai! I agree that TinyBuddha is such a wonderful source of daily inspiration. Thank you for sharing your comments on my article. Here’s to YOU!

  • jfro

    The truth is, that behavior, in addition to hurting ourselves, hurts the overall because we’re all connected. Pointing out differences all day long alienates us from each other instead of binding us together. As an individual, we have shortcomings, but as a community there is probably not a single thing we couldn’t do!

  • http://twitter.com/tiffany_monai :)

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

    I am currently on a journey that will promote me thinking like this most of the time. This is exactly the mindset I am aiming for!

    Thanks for sharing!

    I can be found at: http://mindbodysouletc.info and twitter.com/tiffany_monai

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  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    Yes, yes! I, too, am on a journey that promotes this mindset. Think of the power in that! :)

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    Sooooo important and true and valuable – to remember that we are all connected and that there is true empowerment for all when we act in community. Syncronicity. Love that!

  • Vika

    I can relate. There was a guy who said he liked me but he went for someone else instead (I guess he got a “better offer”). Still hurting though. But someone told me that everyone has gone through rejection. Thanks for the article, I’ll read it from time to time.

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    It does hurt when someone we like rejects us. My suggestion, if you haven’t already, is to allow yourself to feel that hurt and sadness. It’s important to process your feelings as they arrive in your life. It’s all part of the journey. And don’t hesitate to ask a friend to support you as you move through this hurt and loss.

    Equally important is to remind yourself that just because someone rejects you doesn’t mean that you don’t have wonderful, special qualities. Because you certainly DO! How can you celebrate YOU today? What special attribute do you want to highlight and savor today?

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  • want to get better

    I have a problem like this, In all of my life I have always valued other people’s opinions over mine, be it in friendship, relationship with girls etc, it’s always that I like to please them and make them happy even if it costs me and deep down inside I feel like I am doing the same thing and that by doing so is how they are going to like me and appreciate me. But it’s not the case in reality, and what this does is that it has even distorted my self esteem and self confidence that I can’t progress in even the smallest goals in life that I make, whenever I feel bad about myself, my whole day gets disrupted with feelings and end up not doing anything, for something like 3 years I am suffering from this, and now I am at a point were I don’t seem to value anything, like nothing else matters around me and even if it is something productive that comes my way, I don’t appreciate it that much no matter how passionate I am. I feel like I am at a point were I am lost and don’t know who I really am. and what is worst is that I can pin point my direction or where I should start to help myself.

    Though this post is interesting.

  • http://www.FulfilledLifeDesign.com Margie Beiswanger

    I hear what you’re saying and want you to know that I believe in you.  I believe that you DO know who you are and what you have to offer.  Some days it doesn’t feel like you can reach into yourself and find that inner strength, I know.  But it is there.  You are valuable just as you are.  Each and every one of us matters and we’re all different so that we are all contributing in our own special way.

    I encourage you to get some support if you’re feeling really hopeless.  You don’t have to battle these feeling of low self-esteem and low self-confidence all alone.  Get help.  Let someone guide you and stand beside you.

    I also encourage you to just start where you are.  If you’re having a rough time, please don’t expect so much of yourself.  Be gentle.  Start small. 

    What is one thing, just one, that you can be thankful for?  Take a deep breath and find one good thing about yourself.  Maybe it’s that you read this post and replied to it.  That’s pretty cool!  What else can you come up with?  Keep breathing and allow yourself to relax into it.  Listen for that little voice of support that’s inside you ready to remind you of what you have to offer the world.

    I wish you peace and light and much joy on your journey of self-discovery!

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  • Remy P.

    My problem is that I don’t envy what people have (and really it’s just one person), it’s that I envy what that person can DO. Everything I like to do, everything that I’m good at I’ve thought I’m good at my whole life, that person can do better. And that just leaves nothing for me to be proud of. I hate to put my prattling on this post, but I honestly have no one to turn to on this.

  • ShlomoShunn

    You seem to assume the solution is cognitive and a matter of will. That’s like believing owners should deal with their pets’ deaths by “thinking about” mortality and/or viewing lifeless bodies as so many chemicals.

    There are some things one has to FEEL to process.

    Sometimes the way out is the way in.

  • ShlomoShunn

    > “we are all connected and that there is true empowerment”

    Oy! So those jamokes “playing” the Knockout Game empower whom? How?

    If someone jumps off a chair here does s/he bounce someone into the air on the other side of the world? Connectivity is not so simple.

    In fact, talk about “interconnectedness” is usually meaningless in practical terms. I mean, what’s my connection to Bill Gates? Is it any more meaningful than my saying I’m connected to butterflies?

    Silly stuff.

    THIS makes more sense:

    A monk walks up to a hotdog stand in NYC and tells the vendor, “Make me one with everything!”

  • ShlomoShunn

    When did you first notice being down on yourself? Where do you think you learned that?

    Most people are taught to not like themselves by their parents (who put THEIR needs above their kids’). There are authors and therapists who deal with this.

    Telling yourself you’re “great” when you feel lousy is both counter-productive and harmful. You need to find out WHY you feel bad and then feel the hurt. It’s hard to do alone since you’ll tend to think instead of emote. So try to find empathetic others who can help.

  • ShlomoShunn

    Sometimes you just have to get back on the horse that bucks you.

    Meeting a new partner is often a matter of numbers. If you are female you can increase your numbers by getting more active per guys. That is, don’t wait passively for guys to meet you. Doing so will limit you to those men who overcome their shyness. If you also risk reaching out, you might find a shy guy perfect for you. Or a bolder guy who didn’t see you.

    Try meeting males while doing something you like rather than in a nightclub (where no one is “real”). Take dance classes, karate lessons, etc. Just don’t do it to find guys. Do it because you like the activity, too.

    The truth is (and it’s hard to take) is that you often will not know why someone rejected you. Maybe they had a bad day, or you remind them of their ex, or something else. If you keep at it, you will likely meet someone just like the one who rejected, and this one WILL say Yes.

    Again, it’s a matter of numbers. If you stop too soon you will short-change yourself. So start flirting with guys you find attractive and see where it goes.

    If you sit in your room too long pining over the “one who got away” you will miss all the new ones walking by.

  • Keli A.

    Feels good to be appreciated, and to have someone remind me of my worth, and embrace my crazy attitude. Very rare to find in most people

  • Margie Altwies Beiswanger

    I hear that, Keli! Just remember to embrace your “crazy attitude” and you’ll find that others who are meant to be in your life (and who DO appreciate you) will be attracted to that quality in you, too. :)