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Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to Stop Comparing Yourself Unfavorably to Others

All of us compare ourselves to others at one time or another.  From the time we're born, someone is comparing us to others--if we were bigger or smaller than our siblings, how we behaved compared to other babies, and so on.  The comparisons continue throughout childhood ("Why can't you be more like your brother?").  So, is it any wonder that many people spend their lives comparing themselves unfavorably with others?  I don't think so.

The problem is that when you make a habit out of comparing yourself unfavorably to others, you make yourself feel inadequate:
  • "She's so much thinner than I am."
  • "He makes more money than I do."
  • "He's funnier than I am."
  • "She's prettier than I am."
When you find yourself always on the losing end of the comparison, you're reinforcing a negative habit that will lower your sense of self confidence.  

How to Stop Comparing Yourself Unfavorably to Others

Some Tips to Stop Comparing Yourself Unfavorably With Others:
  • Recognize that everyone of us is different and each of us has unique qualities
  • Be aware that, even though you might think that you're being "objective" in your comparisons, people often project their own sense of self doubt into their comparisons
  • Transform feelings of envy toward others into admiration, and if there's something that you can learn from someone that might help you to make a positive change, be open to discovering it
Learn to Develop a Sense of Gratitude 
When you allow yourself to be consumed by envy, you're making yourself miserable.  Envy can be very corrosive, and it has a way of feeding on itself.

If you're constantly comparing yourself to people that you think have more than you do, try comparing yourself to others who have less.  When you recognize that you might be more fortunate than many other people, you have an opportunity to develop a sense of gratitude for what you do have rather than yearning for what you don't.  

Learn to Develop a Sense of Gratitude

Keep a gratitude journal where every day you write down three things that you're grateful for--no matter how small.  This will help to realize how many things you have to be grateful for in your life that you might be overlooking.

A Worthy Challenge:  From Envy to Gratitude
Changing an ingrained habit isn't easy.  But changing an ingrained negative habit of comparing yourself unfavorably to others and developing a sense of gratitude for what you do have is worth the effort.  

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or send an email:

Photo Credit: Alice Popkorn

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