How to Never Compare Yourself to Someone Else Again

The negative committee is back in session again and it says …

stop-comparing

Do you willingly allow the poison of comparison to ruin your happiness?
Do you let it walk all over your joy and make you feel small and insignificant?

If you are not sure what I mean, here’s how it usually goes. You are having a perfectly fine day when suddenly the negative committee hearings go into session in your mind, and suddenly you hear yourself think thoughts such as:

He started after me at the same job and he is already promoted twice! What am I doing so wrong?

My friend from high school is already a published author and I’m still struggling what to write about! What’s the point?

Their first business is already making millions and I’ve failed at all my 3 businesses. I’m such a loser!

She is born lucky – she can eat whatever she wants and never gain a pound, and I’m starving myself and overweight. God is this unfair!

And on and on you go with your made-up stories and your irrational reasonings until there is no trace of that initial happy feeling and you are left with resentment and anger toward yourself.

Comparing yourself to someone else is a surefire way to kill all joy and happiness, a cycle that you don’t deserve because of one simple reason: It’s not true.

So today, tell your negative committee meeting to just shut up and then keep reading so you never again fall victim of comparing yourself to someone else.

Okay I might as well confess it.

First of all, you are not alone in this. I do it too.

You don’t believe me? Okay. I’ll swallow my pride and share my negative committee with you. Gulp. Here goes.

Lately, my comparison obsession is around yoga. I’ve been doing yoga for years, but my commitment waned many times because I focused on a million other things including the miserable job I needed to exit and the business I dreamt of starting. I never advanced that far in my yoga.

Now I watch my Instagram feed of these gorgeous perfect yoginis with a tinge of envy and a bitterness of regret. My negative committee screams in my ears:

It’s too late for you. You missed your window. You would break your back if you bent that far. You will never strike that pose honey.

Those thoughts are self-destructive to every chance my yoga journey would have in the future. I know that, but telling them to shut up is only the first step in recovery. There are more steps to understanding and stopping the comparison game.

Because yoga is no different than life. When your mind has given up on you, all hope is lost. You might as well declare defeat and sit by the side lines and watch others embrace your dreams.

Is that really what you want? If so, stop reading now. I’ve got nothing else to say to you.

Why do we compare ourselves to others?

I tell you why. We see their ‘finished product’ and take a look at our own ‘unfinished’ one and we lose heart. Comparison happens in that instant. We compare and feel disheartened because it’s easier to feel that way than doing the work. It’s easier to feel self-pity than committing to the consistent daily work that these others have put in to get to the place we want to get.

Most of us are drawn to an unhappy state of existence because it attracts more sympathy from the world than a cheery successful state. “Oh I just can’t do it! I am not good enough! It’s too hard!” we cry to the world and they say in response, “I am so sorry but we do understand! It is hard! You really can’t do it!”

We have a support group to commiserate with because they too have given up. So they give us approval not to do it too – the dream is too big, just let it go, watch others instead and live vicariously through them, would you?

So we continue to sulk and compare and sulk some more.

Happiness, success and joy can be scary, scary stuff if you have never given yourself permission to feel them and live them first hand, but come on, is it worth throwing away a lifetime of opportunity for a little fear and anxiety and want of some approval?

The answer is a resounding NO!
It Is Not Worth It!

Sure, it takes a bit of courage but so what? Dig deep and you will pull out an ocean of courage. You will astound yourself with how courageous you really can be.

Make your dream matter. Make it urgent. Make it important. If the person you compare yourself to has managed to do it, there is proof and this proof can serve as inspiration. This proof can lift your spirits instead of bringing you crashing to the earth.

3 quick ways to never compare yourself to someone else

We have established this much: Comparing blocks the flow of your creative energy and genius and makes you throw up your hands in desperation and say, “What’s the point?” Comparing is poison to your progress and your success.

Let’s add a note of compassion: this is normal and we are human beings. So it’s hard to just say never compare yourself to someone else. But because it’s so destructive, we need an escape route. A safe surefire escape route that brings us back into a state of productivity, happiness and balance.

Here’s what I have been doing that works brilliantly. Next time your negative committee starts feeding you false stories about the perfection of others, do these 3 things immediately:

1. Go ahead and trade places but do it fairly:

No matter how much you may think you dislike yourself, deep down you really do love yourself, and you wouldn’t trade who you are with anyone else in the world. This was a truth I did not easily accept for a long time and you may not either.

So the question here is would you really trade places with the person you compare yourself to?

This means you don’t just trade your “failure” for their success, but your everything – your personality, your experiences, your memories, your quirks, your family, your house – for their everything. You can’t have part of their picture, you see.

Do you really know what they are struggling with? What darkness they deal with every day? What problems they have to face? Are you really willing to give all of yourself up for a tiny snapshot of someone else’s life? I bet not.

2. Turn the negative feeling of jealousy into inspiration:

Take a good hard look at where this “other” person is. Do you want to get there or stay where you are? If yes, feel yourself get inspired, get excited, get curious. If you want it, work for it like they did. If you don’t know how they did it, find out, ask questions. But first, feel joy for them. See them as role model. Celebrate their success and do the work until you are ready to celebrate your own.

In fact, get so busy with doing the work yourself that you have no time whatsoever to compare yourself anymore.

3. Compare yourself freely to your own self:

As soon as you feel jealousy for someone else, turn the comparison onto yourself. The only healthy comparison you should allow is when you compare yourself with an earlier version of where you were.

Are you further along than you were last week or last month or last year? Are you happy with your progress? This method helps you notice that either you are moving along and should just keep going or makes you realize that you are not making progress. In that case, check to see if you are doing the work or the practice or the task today to get YOU closer to your desires.

The magic is to turn it around.

The magic is to turn it around, to take the focus away from others and back onto yourself, and to look inward and see where you could do things differently, with more authenticity, more enthusiasm, more guidance in the right direction, and more affirmation for your own hard work.

Something amazing starts to happen right around then. Your own journey becomes so intoxicating, so fun, so exiting and delicious that you won’t be minding the business of anyone but your very own. You will stop comparing yourself to anyone but your yesterday self for a better version of your tomorrow.

What do you think? How have you deal with the comparison game? What have you found to be useful? Let me know in the comments!

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  • http://tangiblefreedom.com/ Ragnar

    I think there’s also a sort of instinctive aspect to comparing yourself to others. Historically, everyone basically had to excel at the same criteria to live life as well as possible, so you could imagine that it was useful once upon a time. But I definitely need to do less of it. For instance just looking at the design of your blog makes me start to worry about my design instead of doing something productive!

    Love the point about inspiration, that’s what usually helps get me out of the counterproductive cycle.

    And trading places fairly is a way to avoid idolization. To include all the unwanted, stressful aspects of success, and realizing that finding happiness independent of success is the best approach.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi @ragnartm:disqus Yes, of course learning from others so that we know what we are supposed to do is one thing but I wouldn’t call it comparing. I doubt we need to compare ourselves in order to survive but we can certainly be inspired by others :)!! Hey thanks for noticing the design. My hubby was hard at work during the migration over to Genesis. We LOVE it! And it’s so much safer and more reliable and faster. Go for it!

  • http://cupidselves.com/ Aryanna

    This is very timely, since I struggle with comparisons an awful lot. I love the idea of the 100% trade! That really puts things in perspective.

    Another thing I’ve done lately is, rather than comparing myself to some enviably accomplished person, use them as an inspiration instead. Sure, MAYBE they had some advantages or an earlier start, but they still had to do the work, which I can do just as well!

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi @TheElffingtonPost:disqus, you are not alone! And I am so glad something made sense here to where it can be useful. Inspiration is a great great way to look at others. And you will have plenty of advantages or lucky turns as long as you are doing the work and moving forward. Stay positive!

  • http://blog.fluenthistorian.com/ Natalie

    Farnoosh, I love this post so much. And I love your suggestions. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time comparing myself to others and it’s such a waste, as it always makes me miserable. One tip that’s also helped me is spending less time on Facebook. That way, I see less of the fabulous things my friends post. (I also remind myself that they’re only posting the best parts of their lives on Facebook and probably have a ton of other stuff, including bad or at least not-so-great stuff, going on.)

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Avoiding Facebook for you and avoiding Instagram yoga feeds for me @nataliemk:disqus ;))! Seriously though, we need to get a hold of ourselves and realize that exactly what you said: We do not see the full picture in someone else’s life and they don’t see the full picture in ours. I hope you are doing great! Any decisions on your website? We are LOVING Genesis!

  • Lisha

    I especially love trick #1. We couldn’t, nor would we want to, trade everything about our lives for the other life of the person we are currently jealous of. Thinking in this way would definitely help me go easier on myself :)

    Thanks for your wonderful insights Farnoosh :)

    ~Lisha

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi @disqus_wZuaaoEB84:disqus You are very welcome – if you do the trade fairly, you’d want to go right back into yourself and just hug who you are. That’s exactly the way to think about it :)! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  • http://www.myaspergers.net/ steveborgman

    My favorite point here: fairly trade places with the other person. You’re so right – would I really want everything that person is going through, along with their successes? Each of us are a unique creation, and we’re on earth to be ourselves. I also love your idea of using jealousy as creative discontent, to push ourselves to reach our own authentic goals.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi @steveborgman:disqus Happy to see you here. The answer for me in most of those situations – if not all – is that no, I really want to be me. Thanks for sharing your awesome insights.

  • Patricia Goodman

    I love the statement “compare yourself to your own self”. So many times we forget to see how far we have really come along and what we have learned.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      @patriciagoodman:disqus Glad you saw that – it helps us get a real sense of what matters. :)

  • Scott D. Macdonald – Author

    Great advice Farnoosh…..thank you for including your personal story!

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Glad you enjoyed it @scottdmacdonaldauthor:disqus

  • Elissa Philgence

    Hello Farnoosh

    I don’t seem to be getting your emails anymore, so I came over. Wonderful post as always.

    Oh, you are so taking to me in this post. I compare myself daily to the wonderful women on the different blogs that I visit. I ask myself what do I have to say that as not already been say? Why would anyone want to read my blog when there are so many wonderful blogs out there? I still cannot find my ‘fix’ for what’s in my heart, but I am not sure who to put it into word either.

    Yes, I know I am looking at their finish work and comparing it to my struggling unfinish work and I need to stop because I do know that I am moving forward.

    So yes, I compare myself, but as you pointed out I need to say thinking about how I can be a better person not like the next person.

    Blessings.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi @elissaphilgence:disqus I checked and you should have received an email a few days ago, but I don’t send out all blog posts. Anyway you are here and I can tell you: Stop Doing That!!! It’s not what you say but how you say it – there are people out there that will only connect to you or to me, even if we say what’s been said before. Alright?
      Just keep doing the work, Elissa, and soon you will be too busy to play this comparison game. Good luck my dear!

      • Elissa Philgence

        Thank you for your words of encouragement. God is still working on me to make me what He wants me to be.

        If you don’t mind me asking, why don’t you send out all blog post? Just wondering.

        • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          You may ask me anything like wish @elissaphilgence:disqus You know, I’m still trying to find the best type of info to send to my lovely readers. The confidence course goes out over the course of several weeks plus other info. I do have an occasional newsletter that gives the “reader’s digest” version of blog posts and I’ll start that up again. It’s been insanely busy but I will start it thanks :)

          • Elissa Philgence

            Thank for your reply. It is my believe that you have a beautiful caring soul and I know the right words ‘info’ will come to you.

  • Pooja

    Hi Farnoosh,

    I could relate with this: “We see their ‘finished product’ and take a look at our own ‘unfinished’ one and we lose heart.”

    Like a lot of lifestyle entrepreneurs, I will jump online, sometimes in the name of research, and get swayed by other awesome blogs out there. My tendency is to check out their About page, and curse myself of how I haven’t “yet” achieved so and so that this person has.

    I’ve found that one solution is to force (at least initially) myself to focus on my current projects instead

    I think you never completely quit comparing yourself with others, and in a way, it’s good so long it gets you motivated and look forward to what’s possible.

    Thank you for the brilliant post!

    Pooja

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Very true @poojalohana:disqus there can be good in comparing ourselves such as when we find others inspiring and we find a role model that we can follow and learn from – those are wonderful ways to not so much compare but look to others and learn from them. I am glad you are finding effective ways to deal with this. It’s not easy, especially in the age of internet! Thanks for stopping by.

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  • Timothy Gay

    When I made the decision to jump into entrepreneurship full-time, it was really nerve racking as it was so new to me. I really was looking around and comparing myself to everyone because they had something I wanted. Success and influence. Yet, I didn’t realize that they built that over the years. They all started at the same point I did and grew into that.

    You hit something when you talk about trading places wholly. We never know what people are going through. We think that if we just had what they had everything will be fine but what did they go through to get it? After learning about many people and their path to success, I wouldn’t want their lives. I have to remind myself of that daily as an emerging entrepreneur.

    Currently, I’m just at the beginning of my stages of my current transition but I’m totally excited. It’s an opportunity to create something very new in my life that I haven’t had before. I think if we stay committed to our goals it helps to minimize the comparison to others. I also think we need to find WHY we want to achieve our goals. For me, once I got a clear picture on what I wanted and didn’t want, it helped make the transition.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hello @timothygay:disqus and emerging entrepreneur- I so love that title – and I can’t agree with everything you said more – we have a lot in common because I went through a lot of your mental games until I got some clarity. It is a very exiting time for you because you know what? The beginning may be harder but it’s also more exciting because you don’t know all that lies ahead and there is SO MUCH GOOD that does. So keep hustling, Timothy. I see bright things in your path!

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  • India Gray

    #1 really put things into perspective for me. I have a tendency to compare myself to friends and colleagues. But you are so right Farnoosh; you don’t just trade your “failure” for their success, but your everything. When I thought about it this way I realized that I only want to deal with MY everything…I don’t know the battles that others are internally struggling with, and I’d rather handle my own battles.

    Wonderful read!

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