How to stop comparing yourself to others
I will be the first to say that I am a truly jealous person. And when I say that, I don't mean that if I see another woman talking to my boyfriend, I spray her in the eyes with perfume. No, no, my jealousy is quite niche: career accomplishments.
I have the wretched tendency to compare myself to every single other person in my field. I am constantly measuring myself up to other writers I respect, getting nervous that I haven't accomplished as much as Jane Doe, who just got a major column published in The Biggest Magazine Ever, or Lisa So-And-So, who landed a job at That Magazine That Will Get Her The Nice Blue Twitter Checkmark.
It's something I'm truly ashamed of. Many of these people I compare myself to are people I love and respect, and I want nothing but happiness for them. They deserve to be successful just as much as I do. And recently, I realized that I spend so much time comparing myself to others that I'm actually wasting time when I could be working on my OWN accomplishments.
But the thing is, it's really difficult to stop yourself from making comparisons when it seems like so many around you are thriving—especially when everyone's posting the highlights of their life on social media for all to see. So I compiled a rulebook for myself to stop all that measuring up, and I realized that the reason I was making comparisons was because there was a part of my life I needed to improve. By improving that section of my life, the comparisons stopped on their own, and I found so much more happiness than I could have thought possible.
Here's my step-by-step guide how to stop comparing yourself to others:
Make a list.
Sometimes, jealousy and comparisons can deal such a big hit on your self-confidence that you may not be totally sure what you're comparing in the first place. You may find yourself thinking that the other person is just overall better than you, when really, you're just jealous of one aspect of their life. And before you can do anything, you have to discern what it is that others have that you want.
Get a big blank piece of paper. Draw a T-chart. On one side, write down the names of people you tend to compare yourself to. On the other side, write down what triggers your comparisons with that person. For example, are you comparing their career path to yours? Are you comparing your income? Or does it have to do with something entirely different: are you comparing their personality, how they tend to make people gravitate towards them when you tend to be more of a wallflower?
Study your list for patterns.
Do your comparisons have a general theme? Perhaps a lot of your jealousy has to do with your own poor body image. Figure out what the underlying theme of your jealousy is. As I mentioned earlier, the reason you're making comparisons is because there's some section of your life that you're not satisfied with. . . and instead of focusing on others, it's time to make that part of your life better.
Think about the theme of your comparisons, and come up with one major goal that would make you happy in that area of your life.
If your comparisons boil down to poor body image, then your goal is to love yourself, just how you are; if you are constantly jealous of people in a particular career path, maybe your goal should be to leave your job and start pursuing that particular career path. For me, I realized my comparisons had to do with other writers, so I made my goal to finish my own personal writing projects and write something I'm proud of.
Start breaking down that goal into small steps.
Sure, that goal may be overwhelming, but how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Start coming up with realistic steps you can take to get you there. You deserve to be content with your life in every capacity, and it's time to start making that happen.
When you find yourself comparing again, be easy on yourself.
Sure, you should stop, but don't feel guilty for it. You're only human, and comparing yourself to others may not be the healthiest or nicest thing to do, but it means you're not getting complacent in your life. Take a deep breath and gently tell yourself to stop–that you're working towards satisfaction, and that making comparisons isn't helping anybody in the long run.
Most importantly, remember: you are enough, just as you are.
Self-improvement is important, but don't feel like you can't be confident in yourself if you're not constantly moving forward at a sprinting pace. Sometimes, you have to stop to smell the roses.
Sure, you should be transforming jealousy into personal growth, but the only reason is so that you can live a happier life, because you deserve it. You are unique and amazing, just how you are. <3