Stop Comparing Yourself to Others, You're Unique
Making comparisons is part of being human as we look to others as our reference points. However, comparisons are also often used for other, less constructive purposes.
These negative kinds of comparisons may make you feel insufficient, flawed, or worthless, thus threatening your self-esteem. What happens is that you lose sight of the fact that, although not everyone is good at the same thing, everyone is good at something.
Unfortunately, society tends to seek homogenization. Just as there are ideal aesthetic canons in which we’re all expected to fit, there are also skills, attitudes, and personality traits that are required of us in one way or another. There seems to be no room for diversity, despite the fact that it’s such an enriching practice.
The heterogeneity of virtue
As we said earlier, the social pressure to make us all adapt to certain canons is evident. In fact, among other contributory factors, a more homogeneous society is easier to control and poses fewer challenges.
This begins and is clearly evidenced, during the school period. Indeed, the current educational paradigm is still based on the classic scheme of repetition and memorization. Thus, children who excel in these areas receive better grades.
In contrast, children who are perhaps more active and creative and who need to experiment in order to learn, are singled out as inadequate or unintelligent. The same thing happens with subjects. It doesn’t matter how good a child may be at music if they don’t excel at math.
This trend continues throughout life. There’s a generic path outlined that you have to adhere to if you want to be recognized. Studying in good universities, having stable jobs, and forming traditional families are the main expectations that fall on you.
Therefore, those who teach themselves, who branch out creatively on their own, or even choose to remain single, constantly carry the burden of comparison and the idea that they’re ‘failures’.
Stop comparing yourself to others
These social processes have a significant effect on you. In fact, they shape the image you have of yourself and of life and can generate extremely negative emotions. As a rule, the following strategies are those you adopt in the face of environmental pressure.
You give up your essence
When you were a child, you were innocent, spontaneous, and trusting. You did what you loved and you didn’t worry what others thought. However, you quickly learned that the love and acceptance of others are conditional and, if you want to earn them, you can’t always be yourself.
Consequently, there are those who give up their freedom and creativity to become obedient and methodical people. Despite the fact that this leads to supposed success, they live an unhappy and unsatisfied existence, and can even end up getting sick. This is what happens, for example, to those who suffer from the good girl syndrome.
You spend your life pretending and wearing a mask
You may be really good at something, but if you’re not good at what you ‘should’ do, you feel like it’s not helpful to you. If, for instance, you’re an introverted person, with a large and rich inner world, you might, on multiple occasions, have rejected your sensitivity and forced yourself to be someone more outgoing.
This means you downplay your qualities and virtues and strive to change to be like the others. Unfortunately, this leads you to live behind a mask. Furthermore, the effort of pretending to be who you’re not is exhausting.
Your self-esteem is affected
Sometimes, despite all your efforts, you don’t manage to be who you want to be. This is completely natural since you’re a diverse human being, not a robot taken from a mold.
However, this inability to be good at what’s expected of you can make you feel like a failure and deeply damage your self-esteem. You might even feel anxious and depressed.
Stop comparing yourself to others: embrace what makes you unique
To avoid these painful consequences of comparison, society needs to begin to encourage and accept diversity. Furthermore, everyone needs to be aware that we can all make valuable contributions to society, even if we’re not always prepared to recognize them immediately.
Start with yourself, recognizing and accepting yourself as you are. Remember that everyone’s good at something.
Stop comparing and demeaning yourself and start to value yourself. You might not be an extrovert, but perhaps you’re excellent at listening or giving advice. Maybe you’re not competitive, but you’re really artistic and creative. Or, perhaps you don’t want to travel the world, but you’re great at creating a warm and welcoming home.
You don’t have to be like anyone else. You’re not inferior or inadequate. On the contrary, you’re unique and necessary and the world would be incomplete without you. Embrace your uniqueness.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Dijkstra, P., Kuyper, H., Van der Werf, G., Buunk, A. P., & van der Zee, Y. G. (2008). Social comparison in the classroom: A review. Review of educational research, 78(4), 828-879.
- Engel, Beverly (2010) The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused. New York
- Wheeler, L. (2000). Individual differences in social comparison. Handbook of social comparison, 141-158.