The Comparison Paradox: Getting Out Of The Habit Of Comparing Yourself To Others

There are a lot of expectations from our surroundings. We are constantly comparing ourselves with someone else’s position at a firm, the money they make, how skinny they are, how loved they are, and the list goes on and on. The list does not end once you get carried away with all the chaos. I don’t blame you for comparing yourself. Society has directed us in this direction by constantly showing us how we ‘should be. The question now is, are you willing to change yourself to be one of the white sheep in the herd, or do you want to be the black sheep that stands out?

Isn’t being original better?

Stop judging yourself, and try to become someone or something else. Be your character, rather than a copycat. The more you judge yourself, you’re getting further away from happiness. In the class, I took at UC Berkeley, “Neuropsychology of Happiness”, we talked about the recipe of happiness. According to research, happy people tend to have high self-esteem, be optimistic, have close friendships, sleep and exercise. However, happiness doesn’t seem to be intimately related to other factors, such as age, gender, physical attractiveness, objective health, and educational level. So the bottom line here is, try to surround yourself with people you love and trust, and embrace yourself. Don’t depend on external and materialistic resources for happiness.

Our thoughts affect our emotions, well-being, our actions, and our sense of reality. Don’t let a person or a post you see on social media affect your perspective on yourself. Let these thoughts pass by, but after you use them for constructive criticism for the future.

My mother would always say, “Talk to yourself like you’re talking with one of your friends. You would have no friends if you talked to them like you talk with yourself”. I was always my biggest critic since I was little. I had to be the best at everything, and it took very long enough for me to realize it hurt me. I embraced myself, my interesting, unique soul. I realized that I was much happier this way, and life is so much better!

What is the right way of self-criticism?

Judging yourself can sometimes be valuable too if it is gentle, constructive, and healthy. You can always give yourself feedback, try to make things better. Ask yourself what you can do to improve yourself, and learn from your mistakes. Be honest with yourself, don’t be stuck feeling shameful, and move forward.

Here are some tips to stop self-criticism:

  • Stop Negative Self-talk

First of all, remember that most of the self-talk you do is unrealistic. Stop blaming yourself for every little mistake, and be kinder to yourself.

  • Devil’s Advocate

Instead of finding more excuses to blame yourself, try to find counter-arguments and evidence for the contrary.

  • Anticipate Triggers

It might be harder to turn back after you start your usual self-criticism spree. Anticipate the moments, and eliminate the surprise. This way, you can work towards being kinder to yourself.

  • Treat Yourself Like a Good Friend

While talking in your head, remind yourself to talk like you are talking to your friend. Try to choose kind words and be gentle.

  • Practice Mindfulness

Try practicing mindfulness to better control, and embrace your emotions, and stay in the moment.

  • Keep a Self-gratitude Journal

It would be useful to have a journal to pour down your feelings or the things you are grateful for. Remember your positive characteristics, instead of focusing on the negative ones. Create a custom habit map in the Insumo app, and focus more on meditation and mindfulness. Focus more on the positives, focus more on you.

Remember: You are one. You are very interesting. Your unique traits are your fingerprints in this world. Don’t let the norms shape and guide you. Don’t forget that you are your biggest critic. Be your guide and best friend.

Accept yourself.