Comparing Self to Others? Why We Do It & How to Stop

Comparison is the thief of happiness because when we do it, we simply put ourselves in a position where we find our purpose, whatever we stand for, useless. Of no worth at all. It doesn’t feel right, right? After all years of our struggle and hard work, we suddenly ruin its existence on what behalf, comparison? No matter how good we are on our path, as soon as someone better than us comes in our way, we simply put our guards down. And start comparing self to others without noticing time, place, and situation. And once we start comparing ourselves to others, it goes in loops of endless hours. 

The conclusion we might arrive at after comparison is not good. Something that would keep our personality or existence under the hood or in a dumpster. Nevertheless, we don’t like it and want to stop it right away. But before you stop comparing yourself to others, it’s not an ideal choice to know why in the first place you’ve started? Because when we know what’s causing harm to our body, we tend to take better treatments for it. 

Therefore, in this blog post, we — Nathawat Brothers — are going to share with you some of the reasons for comparing ourselves to others we encountered in our life. And as it’s a shared human experience, we think you’d find them your reason for comparing yourself to others. 

Why do we compare ourselves to others?

There may be many reasons why you or we compare yourself to others, but the most foundable reasons in any comparison are the below 6 reasons.

  1. Lack of value
  2. We don’t want to come last
  3. We see more in others’ plate
  4. Unacceptance
  5. Doubts (Future Thinking)
  6. And when we see ourself the same as other

These reasons are the breeding ground of a comparison that a human being does in life.

1. Lack of value

The first and most common reason for us to compare self to others is that we lack value. Whether you’re comparing yourself to others in terms of physique, finance, intelligence, or anything, you compare when you value other people’s possession high and yours less—something you want to envy.

Comparing self to others due to lack of value

For example, you’re a salesperson, and someone in your neighbourhood is a manager at some import-export chain. He seems to be doing good, his work is getting appreciated, and he is making quite a lot of money. Now, what happens here is that you will get attracted to be distracted from your course of action. We always get attracted when we, in the first place, distract ourselves from something we’re doing in the present. 

And we always get attracted to things that are of higher value and are not in our possession. Who doesn’t want a big house, a luxurious car, and a couple of girlfriends or boyfriends?

Doing so, we simply start to devalue things that are in our possession at the current moment. You begin to degrade your goals, dreams, and whatever it might be associated with that thing. This means the thing we are doing right now has no meaning. It has no great purpose to be served because it doesn’t even have a more significant value than the thing the other person is doing.

But if you value your job, your purpose, your dreams, or yourself, then no matter how good or better a person and his/her job is, you’ll never make any comparison. You never feel bad about whatever you’re doing in the present situation. You’ll never get attracted to get distracted and remain focused on the purpose you stand for.

2. We don’t want to come last

Life is not a competition, but we make it. And when we’re in a competition, there are 99% chances that we will definitely do the comparison thing: self vs others. And the bad thing about being in a contest is that we never want to come other than the 1st place.

Comparing self to others due to competition

Everybody does their best to stand at the podium with number 1. In a sports competition things remain in the sport, but life’s competition, which shouldn’t be in the first place, is a little bit complicated. How? We’ll tell you how.

Unlike sports competitions, life’s competition doesn’t have any real situation, like some sort of event or season. In which you’re bound to play with the rules. Moreover, when you didn’t score well on the first attempt, you get impatient for a limited time. Because the competition you participated in will come again in the future, and you’ll have another chance to try. There’s a certainty that if you try hard, then one day, you might reach your goal. Because sport works like that, the one who practices more and more would have a chance to score more and more.

Comparing to win

However, in life, if something gets wrong, we get impatient for countless amounts of time. We don’t have any clue when or how we will succeed. Things seem blurry, and when other people get ahead of us, we feel guilty and pity ourselves. For a moment, we don’t even consider that life is not a competition. Each individual has their own journey to travel, paths to walk, and destination to reach. But when someone else succeeds before us, we can’t help ourselves.

3. We see more in other’s plate

Lack of value, competition, and then comes the plate of others. Combining all three would make the perfect recipe for comparison. In India, perhaps north of India, there’s a saying which goes by this, “The butter is seen more in the plate of others.”

We see more in others plate and then compare

This means, that no matter where you are, what you do, and what good position you might have, you’ll always consider other people better than yourself. You’ll always see more in everything of theirs. Even though you are in general better than them, you’d always see something in them better than you. And that’s where the comparison thing begins to evolve. 

This kind of comparison never lets us remain at peace with things or values we do hold in the present moment. And it happens nearly everywhere. Whether you’re in a school, college, at the gym, or in a working place. Even if the other person has bluffed everything in front of us, we hook into their ideas, thoughts, and the way they represent themselves and we start to devalue our position. And once we begin to devalue, you already knew it, everything goes out of control.

4. Unacceptance

When we see more in others’ plates, we don’t accept what we have got, which leads us to compare ourselves to others. And this one is pretty dangerous because the one who can’t accept himself/herself or their current situation, then how could they accept something which people are putting in front of them. And non-acceptance doesn’t mean you’re not accepting yourself only, but you are also not accepting the way people are reacting around the other person you are comparing yourself to.

We don't accept our situation and compare

Now, the question that arises here is how non-acceptance is the reason for comparing self to others. Let us give you an example. But before that, what’s important to remember about comparison is that whenever we compare ourselves to others, we always want to envy what the other person has got. We want the feeling, we want the experience, and we want the attention the person is getting. Now, back to our example.

Assume you are a student, a very bright student with intelligence way beyond. Now what happens, there’s another student in the class. Less brilliant than you, and less intelligent than you. However, he’s very good at the sport, and recently he has won the cross country u-19 table tennis championship. The whole school is praising him, and multiple events have been held to have him interviewed by some news T.V. channels. At the moment, it feels like he’s the only student studying in that school. 

We don't accept our situation and compare to others

How do you feel in this pretty glamorous environment? We guess you’d ask yourself why everybody is giving him so much attention. Why nobody is interested in your intelligence. Why you’re not like him. The comparison began. And not only you, but every student other than the boy who won the championship feels the same way you are feeling. Because you and they don’t have the personality, the sports boy has. But think for a second, after some days or months. You appeared in a national olympiad, and in that, you got the first position. Now, how do that sports boy and other classmates of yours would think? The comparing of self to others will begin but not for you, else for them.

5. Doubts (Future Thinking)

Everybody doubts, right? But how does it make us compare ourselves to others? We doubt when we have made the decision, or we are about to make one. And doubt involves the thinking focused on the outcome of our action or decision we had made or will make, i.e., will it go our way or not? Whatever we have done will come in our favour or against us?

Comparing yourself to others due to doubts and future thinking

This is all on which the doubt is based. But why we start to doubt ourselves in the first place? Because we were fearful, fearful of being come out as a failure. And when we fail, we lose many things, but with losing, there are chances we will be left behind.

And here, the comparison starts. When we don’t want to come last or other than the first place, we compare — as we mentioned earlier.

However, the comparison we do because of our doubt most probably occurs in business, career, investments, and studies. 

6. When we see ourselves the same as other

Yup, we compare when we treat ourselves and others the same. You would ask now, we are some, aren’t we? And we would answer, Yes and No.

Yes: For being a human being.

No: For being different as individuals.

Because we all have different ideas, opinions, thoughts, dreams, and whatnot. So, how are we the same? We can’t count ourselves the same, just looking at the outer structure, because we are not.

But still, we compare, and for what we do it? There are 2 reasons,

1. To entitle us to some high privilege

You’d often hear Indian people saying that what less do they have than the children of Mukesh Ambani? Why do his children have all sorts of luxury, and they don’t.

2. When we don’t want to go through some process

Many times in India, celebrities’ kids get dragged into the argument that they don’t have to struggle to get a chance in the Bollywood industry like an outsiders — An artist without any connections. 

The outcome of comparing self to others

We have compared ourselves to others, and indeed it will return an outcome because, just like thinking, making a comparison is also an action. And action always has a reaction. But in the case of contrast, there are multiple outcomes. However, below we have only listed 5 outcomes that we have seen people encounter. If you know more consequences that occur after doing any sort of comparison to others, then please let us know in the comments. Or contact us.

1. We make wrong decisions

When we compare, we start to think that what we are doing will come in our favour or others. We don’t want to come last or other than the first place. So, to remain in the first place, most of the time, we make decisions without any conscious thinking. We just do some things to stay at the top. And in this condition, we make wrong decisions.

Because of comparing self to others we make wrong decisions

There’s always background music, play our mind that someone is getting ahead of us, and we don’t want that at any cost. 

2. We panic

Someone’s getting ahead of us, we’re at the bottom, and nothing is working for us. We start to panic. Because we begin to devalue our purpose and doubt whether it will benefit us or affects us very badly.

We lose our patience because we can’t accept ourselves behind everyone in our piers or outside it. We just panic, panic like hell, and the comparison makes it worse.

3. We become lonely

Sad, but the comparison does that. When we devalue our personality or purpose, we lose the people that were in our circle. Why? Because when we can’t believe in our goal, how we can suppose that someone else is holding to that purpose. And not only purpose this happens in relationships as well.

People who can’t accept their personality, whether they are fat, thin, or have acne on their faces, can’t present themselves in front of others. They can’t become open about how they feel about themselves and the person they are in a relationship with. They just linger to one thought, that they want to look like Xyz person, and when it doesn’t happen, they feel bad and push people away that were with them and want to no matter how they look. 

4. We lose focus and then interest

It’s obvious, that we compare when we focus on another person more than ourselves. We just want to look like that other person. We want to earn like that other person. And we want everything that another person has.

So, how can we remain focused on ourselves and the things we stand for. Not a chance. When this happens, we simply start to devalue our ideas, opinions, and purpose, as we mentioned before. And once this happens, we start to lose interest, and soon we’ll leave it as far as we can—end of the story.

5. We judge & end up in a terrible place

Where are you right now? Where am I right now? 

Many individuals ask this question to get satisfied with the things they are doing or the things they have. However, it’s not something that can harm our peace of mind. But if done in the wrong way, then it can trigger some problems in our minds. And the most lethal problem is counting ourselves Superior & others Inferior.

We judge and end up in a bad place

Doing so, we might remain at our place, focused on the things we are doing in the present moment. But what bad it does is that we start to lose respect for that other person. We start to count him or her of no worth. And soon, that person becomes invisible to us. First, we do this for a single individual, and then it gradually increases. Multiple no. of people in our surroundings have no existence for us—first neighbours, then colleagues, friends, and then finally a family. Once all these have no entity in our world, we start to feel alone—only one of our kind. When there’s only you in the world, then what more remains in it. 

How to stop comparing yourself to others?

It’s inevitable; you and we cannot stop comparing ourselves to others. It’s deep-rooted in our human DNA, not from today, but many-many decades or you can say centuries ago. But, we can shape our minds so that they won’t harm us or someone we know. We can use comparison as a medium to develop our skills and become better at what we do in our day-to-day life. If we stop comparing ourselves or anything with another, then many things in this world stop working. Societies, communities, and economies would break down in pieces. 

Therefore, instead of putting a full stop before comparison, we should train our minds to remain at peace with what we do hold now or in the future. However, if you’re still not able to help yourself with it and are unable to find your way to deal with comparison, then the below points can provide you with some useful ideas that can help you to stop yourself from comparing to others. Or give you a better way to deal with it.

1. Physically

When it comes to comparing yourself to others based on looks and physique, one thing you should keep in your mind is that nothing is perfect. The law of nature demands imperfection in everything. The ocean is big, and has lots of water in it, but we can’t drink it. It’s too salty and unhealthy for us. In the same way, the person you’re comparing yourself to isn’t perfect. And if you ask him/her about his/her looks, they’d tell you how unsatisfied they are with their physique and what more they want in it. 

Whenever you go through this kind of comparison, tell yourself that the person you’re seeing isn’t perfect. And neither are you. But you’ve to accept what you got. And if you want to change how you look, then transform yourself based on good thoughts. Not on the basis that you want to look just like him or her. Instead, transform yourself into a good cause. That if you remain fat, then it can cause you many harmful diseases. You want to lose weight or gain just because you want to stay healthy. 

2. At school or college

In school or college, the kind of comparison we go through is that we have less intelligence, are not good at giving presentations, and are still single. The last one is pretty famous. However, the first two are crucial for a student in his or her future life. So, how can you stop yourself from comparing? The best way is to surround yourself with good people. Students who know what they are doing and what more they have to do in their life. It will keep you focused on the right and meaningful things.

Second, you need to keep this in mind that both you and the other student you’re comparing yourself with are in the same institute. Meaning, that you’re somewhere or perhaps in each situation, not less than him/her at all. 

And last but not least, remind yourself why you are in that college or school. You’re there to study, so stick with that thing. Don’t rumble around having false beliefs and ideas about yourself and what you’re doing with your life.

3. Professionally

Likewise, in school and college comparison, remember this thing in mind when you feel that you’re comparing yourself to others, that you and that other person are on the same track. If the person is a colleague, then remind yourself that you and him/her are in the same company. 

If you’re comparing yourself with someone at a higher position than you, then give a thought behind it. Think about that person’s dedication to his or her work. The person you’re looking at has given his/her time for that job he/she is doing. And if you provide the same amount of time, you’d also for sure one day reach that position in which he/she’s today.

In a profession, it’s all about time and how much effort you put into your work. How serious you’re about your job.

4. On Facebook or social media

If you want to stop yourself from comparing yourself to others, don’t believe anything you see on Facebook or social media. Yes, literally, don’t believe anything. Because social media has become a place where people only paint their picture of joyful moments. Nobody ever posts something that has terrible moments in their life. Have you seen anything from your friends or colleagues in the past months or years, posting something with a rain of tears? We can bet you haven’t.

On social media, or especially Facebook, everything is done to get more reactions and engagements. That’s the purpose behind people posting anything on the internet. And if they somehow post something terrible, they won’t receive any good relations. So, they simply don’t publish. Moreover, people are only concerned about their privacy when it includes low times in their life. They feel inadequate to post something wrong on the internet.

However, they won’t mind posting any happy moments. People are less open with others regarding their problems than their achievements, goals, and ambitions. Social media is all about happy moments, so don’t believe it. Because if you, you’d put yourself in the comparison cycle. They may publish posts about where they are heading for vacation, how many pizzas or burgers they ate, where they are partying now and with whom. But they won’t publish how many medicines they are taking. How many marks they get in the exam. And how much bank balance they got. They will if they have plenty.

We hope this article has given you some good ideas about why we compare ourselves to others, what outcomes it brought on us, and how we can stop doing it. If you think this article can help more people, please share it with many people, whether in your family, neighbourhood, school, college, or office. 

Moreover, if you have more ideas about this topic, you can share your views in the comments below. Plus, if you want to read more articles like this one, then join our free newsletter. Where we — Nathawat Brothers — only email when we publish a new article. 

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Nathawat Brothers 

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First published on7th July 2023 @ 10:03 am

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