No Contest: How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

This lovely guest post comes to us via the fashionable Fajr at Stylish Thought.  She blogs about style, life and how to rock at both.  Go say hello!

It happens to all of us. A friend gets a promotion, your sister has the dress you’ve been eyeing for months and your ex is dating the equivalent of Megan Fox. It seems that amazing things are happening to everyone around you and you’re left on the sidelines feeling like the last kid picked for the game of life.

It’s easy to get lost in the trap of comparing yourself to others. When we see people with qualities or things we want it’s natural for us to feel insecure and a tad bit envious. Comparing yourself and feeling less than because of their great traits is an endless spiral and while there are people who are better at telling jokes than you, can read a novel in one sitting or can sing the entire Beatles catalogue by heart that doesn’t make you less great!
We all have unique, God-given talents that make us special and beyond compare. Here are five ways to shut down those nagging feelings and recognize your greatness in the greatness of others.
Realize no one’s life is perfect
Sure the supermodel with the athlete boyfriend seems to have it made. But when you envy her divine life, remember that nothing and no one is perfect. And while things may appear glossy on the outside, there may less desirable things beneath. Don’t pick apart someone else’s life, but understand that all that glitters is not gold.
Count your Blessings
It may seem that your life would be better if you were  beautiful like your bestie or  a rich celebrity, but coveting other people’s blessings makes you forget about your own. While you may not be Daddy Warbucks, you have unique riches that are yours alone.

Consider the Source of Bad Feelings
If looking at your co-worker’s Facebook album of their trip to Greece makes you wish you could afford such a trip – stop looking at it. Recognizing the habits that make us feel bad about ourselves are key to stopping them. Reading fashion magazines used to make me deliriously jealous of all the  clothes I couldn’t afford, so I stopped reading them. Unsubscribe from habits that make you feel inferior.

Play up your assets
You won first place on your track and field team. You can write iambic pentameter in your sleep. Your are hot stuff and the sooner you see that, the sooner everyone else will! When we focus on what we don’t have, we leave little time to cultivate and grow what we do have. Playing small does you a disservice –  be your own biggest fan!

Accept yourself… as is
There are things we all want to improve on and when we see other people doing those things we so desperately want, we’re quick to feel bad about ourselves. But we are where we are for a reason and accepting who you are will nip ill feelings in the bud.
We’re surrounded by dynamic people accomplishing great things. Instead of letting others achievements get the better of you, use them to fuel yourself and highlight the one-of-a-kind things that make you stellar. No contest.
Do you find yourself comparing to others? How do you get past that?

24 Comments

EJ Hunter

These are all great suggestions! I am quite fond of the idea of competing on my own playing field when I'm comparing myself to others. I look at them and go.. 'well, they're doing X!' which is immediately followed by.. 'apples and oranges!'… that definitely keeps me sane.

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The Remarkable (Rambunctious) Redhead

Gosh, I've been dealing with this so much since graduating. I see a lot of my peers getting married or their dream job and I don't feel like I measure up, since I haven't done either. Its been difficult, but I'm trying to stay focused on the present and be thankful for the great relationship I have and actively pursue discovering my passions and what I want to do for a career.

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cupidsbow

Great post, and one that I think will resonate with a lot of people. Right now, I feel like I spend most days envying someone else's life! I don't think Facebook helps, cos you get to see all the fabulous parts of what everyone else is doing all the time.

Great tips though, for trying to combat those feelings!

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Angela

This is a great post…so so so true!
I find myself comparing myself to other women all of the time…"I wish I looked like her."
Thank you for the incite and tips! I will definitely take them to heart!

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Melissa

I suppose when I feel jealous of others I tend to remind myself that I could have it if I actually worked for it. And then the vision of doing all that work to lose weight, or earn more money or whatever it is, it usually makes the end result a little less appealing! 😀

Or inspiring, whichever.

hmm what about being the person who incites the jealousy? Being overly modest is a turn off, but when your best friend whines and complains whenever you accomplish something… what happens then?

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Marthe

Great post!

I think the last tip about accepting yourself is the most important one in the bunch.

I've been exploring the topic of enoughness on my blog, and what I realized was that no one else but ourselves can decide when we are good enough. Really hot and important stuff! (and really hard to achieve, I know that from personal experience..)

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Danielle Ruckus

This is a wonderful post! It is absolutely true that if you spend the time envying someone else's assets that you forget about your own and you let your inner shine fade. Thanks for posting this!
xo
-D

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SP

The BEST thing I've done all year to combat this is quitting Facebook. I constantly had to remind myself that I didn't want my Facebook friends' lives–their husband, their house or their baby. I want/deserve/need my own life. We each have our own path to make.

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Stargirl

This is a great post. Reminds me of a Greek story a friend shared with me the other day called The Sword of Damocles… We may think twice about wanting what others have or envying them when we realize what they face each day or what they go through to get what they have.

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Briel79

Regarding the suggestion of considering the source of bad feelings I wholy agree with that. Two days ago I actually deleted a couple people from my Facebook account who used to be my friends but whose lives I was no longer a part of. I would find myself looking at their profiles and the pictures they'd post with other friends and feel sad that I wasn't invited to be part of the fun. Finally (it took me a LONG time) I decided to say screw that! I deleted them and I'm glad that I did. I don't need to feel bad about myself over people who have no interest in being in my life. 🙂

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danielle

best featured pic ever! espiecially since ms. sophia loren has absolutely nothing to worry about. thanks for the great post!

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Anonymous

Ugh, I struggle with this so often! I'm terrible at the fourth point – "play up your assets…" Thank you for this and other recent poignant posts!

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JoAnna

Ha, I think you chose the wrong picture for this post, as great a photo as it is. I've always thought Sophia was looking at Jane's cleavage with more judgment than jealousy.

But I think the best way to keep from being jealous is to realize and remember that there is not a limited amount of success in the world. Someone else's success does not mean there is less success out there for you to find.

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Engels=English

Great Post! Especially about how you would be so much better off using the time you waste on feeling envious of others for actually doing something fun with your OWN life!

I am unfortunately very prone to envy and jealousy and Eternal Comparison, but I find these two to be really helpful:

a)Mostly, when you compare yourself to someone, you compare their outside to your inside! You don't know how awful they feel on the inside, nor do you know how others might perceive you. When you compare your inside to their outside, you'll always feel like a loser.

b) Whenever I am jealous of other ppl's stuff, I try to think of the EFFORT they have made! They didn't get it for free! (This tip came from lady Smaggle by the way). Mostly I will recognize that I am just too lazy to do what it takes, and then I can feel the feeling floating away.

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adria

yes! this is something that i'm working on every.single.day. to read the words here is more assurance that it needs to happen – i need to love myself more and cut myself some slack!

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The Many Colours of Happiness

Wonderful suggestions! I write down a gratitude journal every night, normally say 5-10 things. This makes me realise how lucky I am already, rather than focusing on everything that I don't have.

Great post!

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Kristina L

Great points. I find that the cyber world is one of the biggest contributors to my feelings of inferiority. There's always going to be someone who hand-sewed Wizard of Oz costumes for her four children, baked gluten-free homemade granola bars, and completed her fourteenth triathlon this week.

Sometimes the more I blog-hop, the more I feel that my own life does not measure up. But I know most people post the highlights–not necessarily the reality of their everyday lives.

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Dfest

I'm fairly new to your blog, but have been reading it regularly for a few weeks now. I always find a bit of inspiration, or help, or food-for-thought, or all three. This post is no exception. I've found myself falling into old patterns lately and comparing myself to others. It is so unproductive. I need to embrace your message. Thanks for such a thoughtful and thought provoking post!

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Helene

Great post! I too am guilty (pretty much everyday) of comparing myself to others and feeling inadequate.

PS: Pretty sure Sophia is thinking, "Her nips are totally popping out of that dress!"

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McKella

Awesome post! When I notice that I'm comparing myself to others, I try to get to the root of that feeling. Why do I feel inferior? What's going on deeper down? I try to keep a strong base of self-esteem, then I can keep a pretty level head.

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Lisa

This post was make for me. Right now I'm half way through my college program and I'm insanely jealous of most of my classmates. They all have great potential or are getting program-related jobs or had an amazing experience at their experience placements. I had a cruddy time at both of mine and I'm worried that the field I dream of being in won't be a goal I can reach because of these placements. I've got to stop comparing my successes to my peers because even the ones with the worst grades seem like they are doing great in their own placements and it makes me stress out so bad.

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