Who doesn’t compare themselves to others?
What they have achieved and I haven’t.
In what aspects they are better than me (better looking, smarter, or more successful).
Or, we had the same starting point, but look where they are and where I am now.
And when this happens it makes us feel like total failures.
But if you have tried to stop comparing yourself to others, you already know that though it’s a destructive habit, breaking it is not a matter of simple choice – and therefore the crucial question is “how?”
Although the answer is not that simple, today I will present to you three practical steps that will help you let go of the unhealthy habit.
1. Don’t Make Assumptions on Other People’s Happiness Based on Their Life Circumstances
We tend to judge other people’s quality of life, and assume whether they are happy or not, based on their life circumstances. “She’s married,” “He’s successful,” and so on.
When we do that we tend to overlook the fact that unhappiness often hides behind enviable circumstances.
It could be that your married friend suffers from chronic panic attacks, feels extremely insecure despite her husband’s love, or suffers from postpartum depression.
The marriage of the senior manager whose success makes you jealous is falling apart, or maybe despite his achievements he’s never satisfied.
And maybe you consider your friend to be “strong” because she never expresses her feelings; but if you examine her life, all you see is a giant compromise.
You may easily notice this when looking at Celebs’ lives. Many of them, though having all the obvious reasons to be at the top of the world, suffer from mental disorders, depression, or anxiety.
I’m not suggesting that you seek other people’s misery in order to feel better about your situation; I’m just saying that if you look at the whole picture, you will no longer feel that everyone is doing better than you.
So start truly listening to those around you, and stop deliberately ignoring the facts that stand before your eyes so that you can justify your complaints about your “sad life”.
2. Avoid Demeaning Those You Perceive as Superior to You
One of the things the mind automatically does in response to feelings of inferiority is to justify our situation and put others down, either mentally, verbally, or behind their backs.
We might say things like:
“Look how fat she has gotten! Fortunately, her husband simply adores her.”
“He became a successful mentor just because he knows how to connect with the working class.”
Or, “Yes, she has an amazing career, but unfortunately she neglected her children on her road to success.”
When we do that, it does balance our feelings of inferiority to some degree, at least temporarily. But at the same time, the need to mentally diminish others fills us with negative energy and eventually makes us feel even smaller.
So when such a thought pops into your mind avoid expressing it aloud, and instead try to see what inspires you about the person you are jealous of, even if it’s only a small part.
3. Replace Negative Self-Talk
One of the things that most affects our self-esteem and makes us feel jealous of others is negative self-talk about ourselves, our life situations, and our abilities.
Not only does such negative self-talk make us feel despair; it also affects our decisions, actions, and, thus, affects the reality of our lives.
Lately, for example, I have spoken to a coaching client of mine who really wants to find a life partner. When listening to her, I’ve came to understand that she doesn’t do anything about it because she believes there’s no point in making efforts since all the good men are taken, all men are liars, and the fact that she’s still single proves that something is fundamentally wrong with her.
People often say “Think positively and positive things will happen to you.” But it’s not that simple. Because even if you repeatedly say “I’m beautiful,” “I love myself,” or, “Everything is for the best,” your words will have no effect unless you believe them.
But instead of saying “I failed,” you can say, “I still haven’t found the way to reach my goal.”
Instead of saying, “Something is fundamentally wrong with me,” you can say, “I need to find ways to build my self-esteem.”
On the one hand, use words that describe an ongoing process of improvement, think about what can be done to change the situation, and focus on what works instead of what doesn’t.
On the other, avoid nice statements that you don’t perceive as real, as well as harsh and exaggerated statements that testify to how messed up you are and determine that there’s no hope for you.
Obviously, there are additional factors that impact our self-esteem, and, thus, impact the unhealthy comparison to others. But I promise that if you start with one practical step, it will make a huge change 🙂