What Comparing Yourself to Others Does

Envy, Competition and Comparison

Do you compare yourself to your friends, loved ones or even strangers? Are you envious of someone’s income, great boyfriend, shoe collection or amazing body? When you look at them and all they’ve accomplished, does it make you feel bad about yourself? Do you think there’s nothing enviable about you or do you worry that people aren’t as envious of you as you are of them?

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Sometimes Comparisons Don’t Motivate You

Let’s say one of your goals in life is to fill your passport with stamps from all over the world. When you get your last stamp, you post a picture of it on social media. Your friends comment on it, congratulating you and you get a good amount of likes. But then your sister posts a bikini pic and that gets a ton more likes and comments than your passport pic. And your brother posts about a new job that gets mores likes, while you best friend got engaged. Suddenly you don’t feel as good about your accomplishment. If it’s not getting the attention from others you think it deserves, it must not be as amazing as you thought it was, right? In this instance, comparing yourself to others is unmotivating.

Sometimes Comparisons Do Motivate You

But there are times when comparing yourself to others can be beneficial. For example, let’s say you are saving money for retirement. How much should you be putting away each month and how much will you need to have before you retire? Knowing how other people accomplished this can inspire you to accomplish the same for yourself. Or let’s say you’re in a relationship, but you know someone whose relationship is better. Let’s say they communicate with their partner and enjoy a great sex life, while you and your partner had poor communication and a bad sex life. Seeing your friend happy may motivate to find your own happiness with someone who is better suited to you than who you’re currently with.

Never Covet What You Don’t Really Want

Going back to my passport example—that’s something you really wanted, and you wanted it more than other things, like your sister’s perfect beach body or your brother’s amazing career move. So why are their accomplishments suddenly more important than what you really wanted? Is it because more people acknowledged and congratulated them than they did you? You’re never going to be the best at everything, so stop comparing yourself to others. And remember, when you hear their accomplishments, you’re only getting half the picture. You don’t know how hard they worked to get there, what struggles they faced, or even if they’re taking all the credit for something they had help achieving. Be happy for what other people have and don’t envy them, because if you focus too much on what someone else has, you lose momentum in pursuing your own goals.

The Only Person Worth Besting is Yourself

If you want to feel superior to someone, make it the old you—the you of last month, last year or the you of a decade ago. And the way to do that is to set goals for yourself and meet them. And when you’ve accomplished one goal, set another and meet that one. You don’t need to be in competition with anyone else, and you can still admire the accomplishments of others, without slowing your momentum.

When comparing yourself to others, you are playing a game you can’t ultimately win. That’s because life isn’t about trying to feel superior to others; it’s about knowing what you’re capable of by pushing yourself to succeed. Life is not a game where you tally up all your kids, property and money at the end to see who has the most. It’s much more personal and complex than that.

3 thoughts on “What Comparing Yourself to Others Does

  1. YolandaM Harris

    As I read this you can’t let people control your life because if you’re are a career point and try to better yourself it going to happen for you. Upper Management on my job is trying to control me in what I do but I am not going let them ruling my life or tell what to do. I going to college to better myself so I can provide for my family. I am in my last quarter and I am about walk across the stage. Thank God for all he’s doing in my life.

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  2. Ty

    I love this journal, it’s so right a lot of spend to much time pushing each other down to lift ourselves or running the rat race to the finish line first. Life is a one big journey their shouldn’t be competition, every- every individual is completely different…that’s what’s makes up this big colorful world! It’s really not a competition, just hope when u close your eyes on this side of the world theirs a still voice saying “well done my child”!!!

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