Comparing yourself to others all the time is a mark of low self-esteem.

“Theirs is bigger, louder and prettier than mine, and I want what they have.”

This statement is so common that it’s scary. We may not be vocal when we feel this way, but we sure do think about it till we can’t sleep at night. We think about what others have every single day, and we covet those things. It’s called comparison, and it’s a poison waiting to take you out.

But it’s time to stop this unhealthy habit.

Analyzing Comparisons

So, we compare things. We compare jobs, relationships, and looks, and we do this because we always feel short ended. If only we could improve our this and that, we would be okay, perfected and ready to move on to bigger things. But that’s just it, after improving one thing, we find another, and this leads to an endless struggle of comparisons.

And not only does this waste precious time, but comparing yourself to others is ludicrous. For one, most people make a simple mistake that leads to low self-esteem, while striving to have something that a friend or loved one has, even a stranger. This mistake is comparing your own weaknesses to the strengths of others, which is already an unequal situation.

So just stop!

Yes, this is a bad thing. To compare yourself to others is to constantly be in turmoil and self-depreciation. But you can stop this cycle, once you’ve gotten to the place where you believe it to be detrimental. There are many ways to see this unhealthy habit for what it is and stop it in its tracks.

1. Change your focus

Instead of focusing on comparisons between yourself and others, try comparing you with you. Yes, I know it sounds strange, but it’s healthy. What I mean is comparing what you’ve done with what you are doing or will do in the future. What have you accomplished? What are your goals?

Focusing on a comparison such as this diverts attention from others and their business, which you shouldn’t be concerned with in the first place. This process also promotes growth and deep fulfillment.

2. Recognize the Source

As with most anything else in life, the source must be pinpointed for the problem to be eliminated. Ask yourself a few questions: Why are you so concerned with being like others? What do they have that you do not? As you face these truths about yourself, you will be analyzing your self-esteem, which is the root of the problem.

If your self-esteem is low, then others will seem more accomplished, more beautiful and much more kind than you. This is not true, and in order to come to this realization, you must know why you doubt. It could be past trauma or a failed relationship. Let’s face it, it could be several things.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

3. Practice being thankful

One of the reasons we compare ourselves to others is because we want what we do not have. But keep in mind, those others also lack things that you may have. The best practice is the practice of being grateful for what you have, and not be coveting toward others. This feeling fuels comparison and usually leaves you feeling empty most of the time.

4. Always be kind

Comparisons come from the way we feel about ourselves -namely when we have a negative self-image. How we feel about ourselves, in turn, comes from how we treat others. Do you see the cycle here? Treating others with kindness will greatly improve our self-image and this reduces our need to compare.

5. Put things into perspective

Sometimes you might not realize why you feel competitive with others. Suddenly, you notice how you are always comparing one thing to another with numerous people. One way to put these things into perspective is to write down your thoughts.

Keeping a journal of your thoughts will help you sort through both your negative and positive feelings. Not only will this reveal the truth about your insecurities, but it will also serve as therapy for your comparison addiction. Writing things down always helps you gain clarity on most any issue.

6. Take control of your life

One sure way to stop comparing yourself to others is to take control of your life’s decisions. Don’t just sit around and wish you had something that someone else has. You must do something about it. To achieve similar goals in your life, you must put forward similar efforts as those who are successful. Wishing and hoping for what someone else has will only make you bitter in the long run.

“Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine!”

– Jennie Finch

Yes! Take back control!

So just stop doing that. There’s no point in comparing yourself to others. It makes you forget the real reason why you do what you do. Comparisons get your sidetracked, angry and self-esteem drops as well, so this unhealthy habit must go!

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
– Lao Tzu

I hope these words have inspired you to appreciate yourself and have a healthy appreciation for others as well. Keep striving toward your goals and dreams, and whenever you feel like comparing yourself to others, just remember that everyone has their imperfections.

Somewhere, someone, may be comparing themselves to you as well. Just a thought…


Photo credits: Can Stock Photo

This article was originally created and published by Visual Meditation. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution (active link to this article) and author bio.

In this modern society, we are all programmed with fixed mental patterns, from birth onwards.

Your nationality, your race, your religion, your environment, your expectations, your family’s economic status. All of these of things are mental patterns, programmed (recorded) into your subconscious mind as you are growing up.

Now these things are here for a reason. Back in the cave man days, these subconscious programs were relied upon to keep you alive. To allow you to gain an unshakeable understanding of, not only the environment you were living in but also the societal structure and any social norms which you had to adhere to, lest you be cast out from the social group!

They may have served a purpose back then but these days they are simply keeping you trapped in the same circumstances while the world moves forward without you!

Analyze how your mind works

Everyone’s mental patterns will, of course, be unique to them as an individual. Therefore, if you ever hope to break free and start creating the life you’ve always wanted, you MUST analyze your own mind and take stock of who you THINK you are versus who you REALLY are and who you WANT to become. Once you’ve done this, you can begin using the reality of these subconscious programs to your benefit.

Begin by looking at the following areas of your life and ask yourself “Is this what I want or Is this what my SUBCONSCIOUS wants?”:

  • Your Relationship(s)
  • Your Friends
  • Your Job/Career
  • Your Mental State
  • Your Feeling Of Deservingness
  • Your Idea Of Whether You Can Succeed In Life

Take a good, hard look at yourself and meditate on the above points, trying to find the root of where they came from and how they got there. Obviously, this will take some time and a lot of self-introspection, which can be uncomfortable for some people. Sometimes facing yourself is the most terrifying thing you can do, because once you know these mental patterns can be changed, you will be forced to take full responsibility for your life’s circumstances. The good and the bad. Everything is the way it is, because of you and what you have manifested or not manifested into your life.

So, take stock of yourself and your thoughts one by one. Begin to build a conscious idea of who your subconscious mind believes you are. Make a list if it helps. It is often quite startling at how different the subconscious mind’s idea of its self-image really is. You may be capable of having a good job, yet it believes you are poor so it manifests either no job, a bad interview or gets you fired soon after you have found one.

The good news is that once you have begun to notice these little mental patterns (programs) and how and why they are created, you will notice (and overcome) more and more of them every day. You have trained your mind to see the lies within it and you will have given your mind the tools to change it.

So don’t be a victim to your thoughts. Don’t be a victim of circumstances. Don’t be a victim of the beliefs of other people! Change your life today!

Often we hear the term self-esteem. But, what does it mean?

Self-esteem is the acceptance of oneself in its wholeness, both of our strengths and positive characteristics and our negative traits and weaknesses. It is essentially the degree to which we value, respect and accept ourselves.

How Low Self-Esteem Develops?

Low self-esteem is a very common phenomenon and one of the main reasons one needs psychotherapy in order to strengthen it. It is largely determined by the experiences one had with familiar persons (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.) from the beginning of his life.

When a baby begins to perceive that is no longer one with his mother, but a different entity, then begins to shape its self-image. This happens at about the first 12-18 months of his life and completed at the end of puberty.

If someone grows up in an environment where relationships with familiar persons are positive and empowering, the more likely it is to develop a positive self-image. Conversely, if indifference, lack of attention, affection, care, recognition and reward, comparisons, excessive expectations, disrespect, coldness, criticism, neglect, and condemnation dominate, the more likely it is that he will have a low self-esteem.

The lower self-esteem a child has, the easier it becomes an adolescent and then an adult with a negative image of himself. This happens because once this image has taken shape, the person tends to express it through his behavior into adulthood, thus accompanying in all aspects of his life, making his interpersonal relationships difficult.

Low self-esteem leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction with ourselves, a sense that we’re not entitled and not deserve to have a lot in life and in our relationships, feelings of disadvantage and inferiority, intense internal conflicts, sadness, unfulfilled needs and desires.

The self-image can be changed and it’s possible one to learn to love and respect himself and begin to see himself from another, more positive perspective.

Let’s see below in what ways one can improve his self-esteem:

1. Stop Comparisons

Do not enter the process of comparing yourself with others. Do not forget that every person is unique. The ideal is to compare yourself only with you and your accomplishments.

2. Be Realistic

Make sure you put realistic goals. Putting too high standards and unrealistic goals is the perfect way to experience frustration and disappointment. Divide each target to smaller ones. Once you conquer one, move on to the next.

3. Let Go of Perfectionism

Stop looking for and chasing perfection. Perfectionism can paralyze you from taking action because you become so afraid of not living up to some standard. And so, you procrastinate, you don’t get the results you expect, and your self-esteem lowers. Remember, the perfect does not exist and it is the enemy of confidence.

Watch: Stop Procrastination

4. Think About What You Are Proud Of

Devote every day 5-10 minutes to think about what you did in the day, and for which you feel proud of yourself. It may be something that seems very simple, however, it is significant (eg. you helped an elderly to cross the road, you collaborated very well with your colleagues etc.).

5. Learn from Your Mistakes

Do not feel bad if you do something wrong or fail on something. Mistakes are always instructive and valuable, and learning opportunities for growth and development. Learn from them and don’t give up!

6. Do the Things You Enjoy and You Are Good on Them

Sure you have talent on specific hobbies. Identify the things you enjoy doing and usually score well on them. This will give you an inner appreciation.

7. Avoid Negative People

Try to avoid people that through continuous sterile and negative criticism, devaluation and caustic comments cultivate doubts about yourself. Spend more time with supportive people that will make you feel comfortable, positive, and help you grow.

8. Do Something Positive for You

Reward and do often something positive for yourself. This may be a trip, a gift for yourself, doing an activity of your choice, such as going to a dance school or a gym.

After reading all these, you might think your own ways to improve your self-esteem. After all, you are the one who chooses which path you will follow in the course of your life. Psychotherapy also helps a lot to improve your self-esteem.

Also, through the journey of self-awareness, you have the opportunity to understand the obstacles that alienated you from yourself, the whys of your low self-esteem. Mostly, it depends on you!


The ego is formed through our relationships with other people -especially with family members, during the upbringing period.

Through these relationships our self-image and beliefs around the value of the self is formed, and they influence whether how much we feel accepted by others. The acceptance of others, in turn, affects the feeling of belonging and sociability.

Thoughts Determine the Form of Interaction

The question “how I think (or how I feel, how I suppose) about how others see me”, has a particularly revealing and potentially therapeutic character. Throughout our life, we come into contact with other people. To work somewhere, to create friendly or other relationships and generally to organize our life, we have to interact with others.

If every time we come inτο contact with others, our mind plays negative thoughts about the self, then we’ll only see the respective symptoms of fear, anxiety, shame or guilt, which will greatly hinder our socialization at all levels. If a mind has been programmed to believe that on the interaction with others, what others see is the image of a lower, inadequate or troubled person, then develops various adjustment or avoidance mechanisms, to avoid revealing some aspects of the self that have previously assessed as disadvantaged.

Instead, if one mind doesn’t create negative thoughts about oneself, the interactions with others will be easier and won’t involve defensive or other mechanisms.

The Mechanism of Projection

How we think about others see us reveals the content of the mechanism of projection. Projection is essentially the thoughts that a mind project outwards (to others), coloring the world with the colors of the soul. If the self-challenged by thoughts of self-doubt, worthlessness, self-rejection, inferiority and other similar to the above, the impression that others see us as such is formed.

Is that true? How do we know what others see in us?

The answer to this question is very simple. Others see a body. The next question is more critical: what we see in others? Do we see only bodies, or do we see the projections of our minds, ie, judgments, identities, typifications, and roles? When we see other people, do we see bodies or we think we know what “type” the other is, judging by the clothes he wears, his posture, the way he speaks, and other features?

Criticism Creates Problems

People who suffer the most from fear of criticism are those who judge others. Someone who is not judging and classifying people into categories (“he is so…, the other is…”), he is not too much concerned of how others see him.

This is the true meaning of the saying “do not judge and you will not be judged.” It’s not that you will be judged by others, but will be judged by your own mind that it will judge you as it judges others. It’s like turning your weapon against you. One to be released of thoughts about oneself and how he is perceived by others, one must understand that he can interact with others without being “armed”. Only when one is free from the belief that says that to be okay you have to be careful and defended, then he’ll start to move freely in the world without being concerned about thoughts of himself.

The Solution is Awareness

So, if problems in our interaction with others arose, let’s ask ourselves honestly and answer the question: how I think about how others see me? What I think that they think when they see me (either for the first time less familiar persons or for the umpteenth time more familiar persons). And, also, how I see others? Do I “decorate” them with names, descriptions and identities, or do I see bodies that function? Whatever the answers, we must recognize them as products of the programmed mind and not as objective or invariant truths.

The instrument that will allow us to observe our mind as it will be activated at the time of our interaction with others, is awareness.

This article was originally published in and translated by Visual Meditation.