The Best Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

If you constantly judge your worth based on what other people think of you, it will be hard to live a life with purpose. Here are five strategies for embracing your individuality rather than comparing yourself to others.

I have wasted way too much time over the years wallowing in unhelpful comparisons.

This all started very early in the morning. When I was a little girl, I’d look at my dark hair and almond eyes in the mirror and wonder why I stood out so much.

It made me feel uneasy being myself, and that feeling has only grown over time. When I was younger, I only had to worry about driving, but as I got older, I had to fret over my job, my finances, my family, and my romantic partnerships.

I always felt bad about myself when I compared myself to others and found that I wasn’t as good as they were.

A profound feeling of “not enoughness” followed, and it stayed with me until my early thirties. That’s when I realized I shouldn’t judge my worth based on what other people thought of it. Instead, I started looking inward, at my own hopes and ideals, as a barometer of success.

I’m not perfect, and I still have my share of difficulties, but that moment marked the beginning of a gradual change in my pursuit of happiness. Take a look at some of the things I’ve learned from experience.

What’s Wrong with Making Comparisons

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” — Will Rogers

Spending too much time comparing your life to others’ can lead to a number of undesirable outcomes. As a former shopaholic and self-proclaimed minimalist, an abundance of material possessions is the first thing that comes to mind.

In my twenties, I was totally into reading style blogs. I would look at the pictures for hours, wishing that I, too, could be stunning and carefree like the women I saw online.

For a change, I went shopping for clothes that would make me look like someone else. Getting dressed up or buying new shoes made me feel like a new person, but it was just an illusion.

Buying more clothes only added to the chaos, financial burden, and emotional stress of living in a cluttered home. Constantly comparing myself to total strangers online had me trapped in a vicious cycle.

My shrinking bank account and overstuffed closet were, unfortunately, minor problems in the grand scheme of things. The real issue is that I wasted many years of my life chasing other people’s dreams instead of my own because of my incessant need to compare myself to others.

Gaining employment at a higher level, purchasing a new vehicle, and settling into a new residence are all items off your list.

There is no inherent wrongness in desiring such things; however, your motivation does matter. I never stopped to consider what makes a person truly content. Instead, I just followed everyone else and tried to get through the motions as quickly as possible.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that I’m now feeling completely disoriented.

This is the main mistake people make when they compare their own worth to that of others. It clouded the situation to the point where I couldn’t tell you what was most important.

Related Post: An Intro to Intentional Living: How To Stop Living On Auto-Pilot

Strategies for Avoiding the Comparison Trap

Here are principles to help you stop comparing yourself to others and start living a life that is genuine and in line with your values if that is what you desire.


Develop the practice of identifying and articulating trade-offs. To help you, I’ve come up with the following statement:

“(S)he may have ___, but the cost (s)he probably had to pay to have it was ___.”

This has nothing to do with making a decision. It’s not about educating people so much as raising their awareness. A lot of the time, we covet someone else’s possessions without wanting to put forth the same effort. Or we share the same goal but underestimate the effort needed to get there.

Even so, it’s common to get a new perspective after just admitting the pros and cons.

A friend’s new car might look nice, but I wouldn’t want to be seen openly drooling over it. It’s important to recognize the tradeoffs of having the car and the path your friend would have had to take to acquire and maintain it.


If you find it hard to avoid comparisons, it can help to be clear about your own values and priorities. Don’t assume you’ve got it figured out. Instead, pull out some paper and a pen to record everything.

This is useful because it provides context and makes things more clear. When deciding what is important, you are also deciding what is unimportant.


How can you reframe comparisons so they have less power over you?

These are powerful tools, but sometimes it’s best to avoid comparisons. We can’t always fight feelings with logic.

I struggled a lot with my appearance, for example. My obsession with fashion blogs and magazines didn’t help me feel comfortable in the mirror.

My heart struggled, even though my brain knew the images were edited. I knew fashion content wasn’t good for me, so I stopped consuming it and have never regretted it.

It’s not always all-or-nothing. I think it’s about being mindful of our feelings and knowing when to set boundaries.

I like a few parenting Instagram accounts. Most days, they inspire me to be a better mom, and I love learning about creative play ideas.

I’ll admit, these accounts sometimes depress me. When I see their smiling faces and picture-perfect playrooms, I feel like a failure.

I need a break when this happens. Sometimes the spaces we enjoy become toxic when we’re not feeling well, and it’s OK to leave for a while. This applies both online and in person.

When you feel triggered, take a break.


I don’t see anything wrong with judging yourself based on how you compare to others. A positive result of comparing two things could be new ideas or even friendly competition.

When you start out with nothing, you’re already at a disadvantage. When you compare yourself to others, you confirm your fears that you aren’t good enough or don’t have enough. It’s a revolving door that, if you’re not careful, can quickly get out of hand.

Gratitude is one strategy for putting a stop to it. When you’re grateful for what you have, the world opens up and fills you with happiness. We have more than enough, so we can share in the joy of others and their successes.


Increasing your sense of self-worth is the last tactic, and it’s one that works particularly well in tandem with gratitude. This is about going beyond the sense of having enough to the realization that you ARE enough. This is about going the extra mile.

I’ve talked about some of the problems I face when trying to figure out what I’m worth in previous posts, but I have to say that this is an ongoing process. I keep learning new things and letting go of old, limiting ideas so I can come up with new ones that are more positive.

If this is an issue you face as well, I can recommend several books that have helped me tremendously:

How to Get the Most Out of Life – Supplemental Materials

If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy:

How do you prevent yourself from constantly measuring up to everyone else? Alternatively, did you learn anything from them? Leave your thoughts below!