Comparison breeds envy. Envy is stifling.

Most of us, if not all of us, have compared ourselves to others at some point in our lives. This is something I personally do everyday, although I try to steer away from it. It happens both intentionally and unintentionally and in countless forms: clothing, money, home, body type, complexion, the list goes on. This habit of comparison becomes toxic after a certain point. It begins to factor in tension to relationships and sometimes summons a form of depression. Below I have listed reasons why you shouldn’t compare yourself to others and how to break the habit.

  1. You aren’t comparing objectively. There’s some sort of prejudice factored in leading to perhaps comparing your worst to another’s best, or your first attempt to someone’s thirty first.
    • Be aware. Comparing is often done subconsciously. When you begin to realize it you’ll be able to change your focus easier and work towards comparing yourself less.
  2. It inhibits you. If you start comparing yourself to someone before you even embark on a journey, you’ll get stuck. Your insecurities will become the most prevalent factors in your head and you won’t get anywhere or do any better. You’ll have trouble reaching your goals if you compare yourself to something or someone else the entire time.
    • Instead, focus on your strengths. Find what you’re good at and be proud of it! There’s no shame in it. Rather than concentrating on where you lack, use your strengths to improve.
  3. It’s dangerous. People often compare themselves to celebrities and their lifestyles, which can easily become harmful, even fatal. Paper-thin models can often lead young girls to believe this is how they need to look to “fit in,” which can lead to serious disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating. It can also lead to unhappiness and even depression. I’ve always been insecure about my weight and compare myself to my friends and the people around me who are very thin. You begin to feel ashamed of who you are.
    • Get comfortable with your differences. People often confuse different with bad when the two aren’t necessarily related. Society has conditioned many people into thinking that if they look different from the same blue-eyed, blonde-haired model that is seen in every advertisement, then there must be something wrong with you. As cliche as it sounds, your differences make you who you are. They allow you to bring new perspective and insight into the world.

Although there are benefits of comparison, like innovation and improvement, this is really only achieved with an objective mindset, which most people don’t have when they compare themselves. Learning to accept your differences is a key part of breaking the habit of comparison.

Photo credit: Lonely by Monica Garwood

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