Have you ever done something as mindless as scrolling through social media and ending up seeing some post that makes you feel bad about yourself? Vacation photos, big announcements, and people looking like they’re living the dream… there are plenty of things to trigger you into a spiral of thinking your life doesn’t measure up.
Whether its friends, family, or even a stranger… falling short when comparing yourself to others can be a real confidence thief and joy kill. Yet I think comparing yourself to others is pretty common – even for people who are considered successful.
It can be a slippery slope to forgetting that you have your own skills, strengths, and silly quirks that make you uniquely YOU!
The biggest problem happens when you compare your weaknesses to others’ strengths.
For example, in your younger years if your sibling got straight A’s on their report card, it may have left you feeling not as smart because you got B’s and C’s. Yet, you may have been more athletic or more creative. Everyone has their own unique strengths.
The Consequences of Comparing Yourself to Others (They’re BIG!)
Getting sucked into the comparison trap can really:
- Increase Self-Doubt: Self-doubt can show up as a very loud inner critic instigating negative self-talk like, “you can’t do that – it’s too hard, you’re such a hot mess!”
- Zap Self-Worth: Relying on external validation (other people) to feel good enough is a problem because it can disappear in a moment. When your sense of worth comes from within you, it’s in YOUR CONTROL!
- Decrease Self-Confidence: Self-confidence is defined as a feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities, and judgment. Trust yourself to make the right choices and don’t constantly question your actions.
Ultimately, comparing yourself to others all adds up to stealing your self-confidence and joy.
Fear Wants Us to Compare Ourselves to Others
From my studies at the Fearless Living Institute, I know that fear (our brain) plays a big role when comparing ourselves to others.
Fear’s one and only job is to keep you safe – physically and emotionally. Therefore, fear wants you to stay in your comfort zone, doing only the same things you’ve already done, so it knows it can keep you safe.
Fear doesn’t want you to do something that you’ve never done before – like going for a promotion, trying to lose weight, or joining a new club to meet people.
So of course fear WANTS you to compare yourself to others. That way you’re less likely to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
A sneaky thing fear does when you compare yourself to others is to make you think negative things about yourself, like “you don’t want to do that, there are already lots of people doing that better than you’ll ever be able to do.”
Negative self-talk of fear’s tactics it uses in attempt to stop you from doing anything new and possibly expanding your comfort zone.
Comparing yourself to others will make it harder to achieve your goals, and fear will be happy if you decide to not set new goals or go for your dreams.
Tips to STOP Comparing Yourself to Others So Your Confidence Grows
These are three of many action steps I introduce my clients to in order to stop (or at least slow down) comparing themselves so they can begin to stop that inner critic from squawking and allow their self-confidence to grow.
1 – Awareness
Awareness is a necessary first step at overcoming the habit of comparing yourself to others.
Only when you become aware of how you’re treating yourself can you change it.
- Notice what situations, people, or areas of your life you tend to most often compare yourself.
- Are there specific triggers that really suck you in?
Next time you catch yourself in the comparison trap, stop yourself as quickly as possible!
2 – Define what success and happiness mean to you: physically, financially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
(This tip is based on part of Jay Shetty’s podcast episode titled 7 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others.)
If you don’t define what success means to you, you’ll be forced to use the definition of others. So you’ll base the success of your life on someone else’s definition of success.
Focus on your priorities.
For example, you may take lots of fabulous vacations but make less money than someone else because you value the job that gives you more vacation time. Or, you may be making lots of money because that’s what you value, but you have less time for vacations.
When you compare yourself to someone who has completely different priorities… you’re likely comparing your weaknesses to somebody else’s strengths!
Knowing your priorities as well as your strengths will help you stop comparing your weaknesses to others’ strengths, and then putting yourself down.
3 – Give Yourself Credit
I am a Certified Fearless Living Coach and “Acknowledgements” is one of my favorite exercises to use with my clients. Acknowledgements quiet your inner critic give a boost in self-confidence and self-esteem.
What are “Acknowledgements?” Acknowledgements are sort of like giving yourself a pat on the back. It’s taking a moment to stop and consciously recognize yourself for new actions you had the courage to take – regardless if the actions were well done or not.
Writing daily acknowledgments (rather than just thinking about them) helps you relive the situation, and that repetition helps train your brain to look for things done well. Plus, you can go back and read them and see the proof of your progress toward your goals.
Use the Fearless Living format, “Today I acknowledge myself for ________.”
Here are a few guidelines for Acknowledgements:
- It doesn’t matter if the step was done well or not. The point is you acknowledge that you’re good enough as you are right now – perfection is not expected nor needed.
- Small steps deserve big acknowledgement. Small steps add up quickly when going toward a goal. Even a new thought should be acknowledged!
- There’s no room for negativity in Acknowledgments. Keep everything positive.
At first acknowledging yourself will seem unnatural and even a little silly, but stick with it! You WILL see your inner critic quiet down along with seeing your self-confidence and self-esteem grow. (I say that from personal experience.)
Acknowledging yourself is an act of self-love. How would your life shift if you made it a habit to acknowledge yourself throughout each and every day?
(Read more about using acknowledgements to boost your confidence.)
When Is Comparison Good?
I can come up with three scenarios where comparing yourself to others can be beneficial. If you have any other thoughts on when comparison is good, I’d appreciate you leaving them in a comment below.
- YOURSELF: If you want to compare, let the comparison be with yourself so that you keep improving and become the best version of yourself. Beating your personal best always feels great!
- MOTIVATE: If you have a healthy mindset, comparing yourself to others can help you create a road map for where you want to go in your life. Who might inspire and motivate you to live a better life based on your priorities? Use your comparison as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.
- COLLABORATE: As Jay Shetty mentioned in the podcast sited above, you can use comparison to others to collaborate rather than compete. Find someone who you envy because they’ve accomplished what you aim to accomplish and ask them for advice. Let them help you achieve your goals!
Nobody can be who YOU are.
See you for who you ARE, not who you are NOT.
Always falling short when comparing yourself to others can create some real issues deep inside of you, and only YOU can do the work to get beyond needless comparison.
Trust yourself to make the right choices and don’t constantly question your actions.
A flower doesn’t worry about what all the other flowers are doing, it just blooms the best it can. Focus on blooming the best you can without worrying what others are doing.
Here’s a related video with some thoughts that came to me while on a walk:
Does this sound like you….
- Your loud inner critic creates self-doubt that makes you question your every idea and decision.
- You don’t trust yourself and have self-defeating thoughts like “I’m not good enough” and “I will fail.”
- Perfectionism, worrying about what people will think of you, and comparing yourself to others all keep you stuck and afraid to try new things.
- You often find yourself wishing and hoping things were different in your life.
- You’ve tried self-help: read books, attended webinars, and listened to podcasts but haven’t gotten the results you want. You’re disappointed in where you are in life, and know you’re capable of so much more if you had more self-confidence!
If so, you’ll want to check out From Self-Doubt To Self-Confidence bootcamp.
This bootcamp is very close to my heart because I know how having self-confidence can MAKES EVERYTHING POSSIBLE in your life. It’s my passion to help women get the confidence they need to get the life so truly desired.
My bootcamp is a 6-session 1:1 coaching program that’s a proven science-backed method and has helped thousands of people go From Self-Doubt to Self-Confidence. It’s completely individualized and effective coaching.
Here are the details for the confidence bootcamp.
8 Replies to “A Sneaky Thing That Steals Your Confidence & Joy”
While scrolling through Facebook instead of comparing myself to others, I try to be happy for that person and all they have enjoyed. If self doubt does start creeping in I remind myself that I only publish the best pictures or the finished project and so do others
As always, I love your attitude!
For me it was something I did more when I was younger, but to be honest, I was never someone who did much of it. I think I always knew that I was significantly different and the rules didnt apply in the same way. Which might sound odd but I think it’s true.
That’s great that fear doesn’t try to influence you by using comparison!
Such great advice! I learned long ago not to compare myself to others, but it’s occasionally easier said than done (especially in the entrepreneurial world!)
I think as humans we all find ourselves comparing ourselves to others on occasion. Minimizing it is the key!
I always approach scrolling through social media with a positive frame of mind – that way I can feel genuinely happy for people, congratulate if necessary and like/love pictures/videos. I don’t think about my life compared to theirs – but then again I am enjoying my life and if you are a person that isn’t happy, social media might not be a good place to scroll on.
That’s a really healthy philosophy for scrolling through social media!
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