Stop Comparing Yourself To Others And Live Your Own Life

I think we can probably all agree that your life might be different if you decided to stop comparing yourself to others. Over the years, I’ve compared myself to others plenty of times. I’ve compared myself to others when it came to school, looks, money, and more. I know that sounds bad, but without acknowledging…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: October 30, 2023

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I think we can probably all agree that your life might be different if you decided to stop comparing yourself to others.

Over the years, I’ve compared myself to others plenty of times. I’ve compared myself to others when it came to school, looks, money, and more. I know that sounds bad, but without acknowledging that, it would be hard to stop.

Many people compare themselves to others too.

In fact, everyone has done it at one point in their life.

People often compare themselves to others to determine how well they are doing in life and base their personal value on that. However, that usually doesn’t lead to feeling too good about yourself. Plus, who actually wants to judge themselves in a negative way?

While in some circumstances it can be motivating and inspiring to compare yourself to others, but in most circumstances it is negative and can lead to:

  • Debt, such as when you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses and buy the same expensive things that other people are buying.
  • A feeling of defeat, like when you feel that you aren’t as good as someone else.
  • Unhappiness, in that the process of comparing yourself to others is neverending.
  • A waste of time. If you spend all of your time comparing yourself to others, you will never have enough time to do what you really want. Comparing yourself to others can take valuable time and moments away.

To put it simply, by comparing yourself to others, you are holding yourself back.

Now, I know that just telling you to stop comparing yourself to others is easier said than done. In today’s world, with social media and how everything seems to be on full display for the world, it can be easy to compare yourself to others.

But, you need to stop doing it in a negative way.

By doing so, you’ll be able to move on with your life, reach your goals, be happy for others, and more.

Sure, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else or it may require more hard work, but that doesn’t mean that everything is impossible for you. Everyone is on a different path, and there are people who are better or worse off than you.

Instead of comparing your path to those around you, you should focus on what you can do to make your dream a reality.

Here is how you can stop comparing yourself to others.

Understand why comparing yourself to others can hold you back.

The first step to stop comparing yourself to others is to realize that comparisons are often negative and that most of the time they do not help.

You should think about why you feel the need to compare yourself to others, and think of how that may be impacting you. By realizing these things, you’ll be able to move forward and stop wasting your time with comparisons.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

If you want to learn how to feel better about yourself, this is so important!

Be happy for others and don’t compare yourself to others.

Instead of feeling jealous or like it’s a competition between you and whoever you are comparing yourself to, you should just be happy for the success of others.

Good things can happen to other people, it doesn’t mean that your life is any less important. Plus, by being happy for others, you’ll learn to accept yourself and let more positivity into your life.

Be motivated, not competitive.

Instead of feeling jealous or competitive when comparing yourself to someone else, you should instead turn that emotion into inspiration and/or motivation.

The next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone, you could think about how you could possibly do something similar (only if that’s what you truly want to do, of course). You can use their achievements as inspiration for your own life and goals.

As you can see, comparing yourself to someone else doesn’t have to be entirely bad, as long as you use that process for positives means.

Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others often? Here are reasons you should stop comparing yourself to others and start living your own life.

Take a break from social media.

Social media can be fun and all, but for the most part, you are just seeing carefully selected pieces of someone’s life.

While that can be great, some people allow it to drag them down.

If you find yourself feeling jealous or negative when you are on social media, then you may want to take a break from it until you figure out how to turn that self-doubt into inspiration. This way, you can stop comparing yourself to others.

Be confident.

You may find yourself comparing yourself to others because you lack self confidence.

Some believe that confidence is something people are born with and that a person cannot learn how to be confident.

I used to feel the same way. While I’m not as confident as I would like to be, I am a fairly confident person and I believe that has helped me a lot in life. That sounds odd to say, but I am confident enough to say it!

I believe that gaining confidence can help you as well. Learning how to be confident can lead to getting the job you want, making more money, reaching your dreams, public speaking, meeting new people, networking, managing a business or employees, traveling the world, and more.

As you can see, gaining confidence can help a person in many, many different ways.

Plus, by being confident with yourself, you will learn how to stop comparing yourself to others because you’ll already believe in yourself.

Learn more at Be More Confident And Get What You Want In Life.

Take control of your finances.

Money is a leading cause of comparison.

Often, you may feel stuck with your current life because of some sort of financial reason. This happens to all of us.

And, this may lead to comparing yourself to others.

By paying off your debt, making more money, not living paycheck to paycheck, budgeting better, and more, you may feel free to reach for your dream life because you won’t feel controlled by your finances.

Related article:

Be positive and happy with who you are.

Many people find themselves comparing themselves to others because they feel unlucky or sad about their situation.

Everyone has something that might make them sad, angry, scared, etc., and I understand that in some circumstances it can be quite difficult to see the positive or to be happy for yourself.

However, no matter how life may be going for you, I believe that a positive outlook can help to improve your life. It’s all about being grateful for what you already have.

Being negative causes limitations. If you think you cannot do something, then you most likely will not. Negative thoughts can make you feel stuck, they can make you feel like there is no way out of your problems, and that you have zero options.

On the other hand, being positive can help you realize that you are able to do things, that you are in control of your life, and that little things will not kill you. Being positive will also help you move on and deal with stressful situations better.

There is no such thing as the perfect life.

No one is perfect.

Once you realize that, you’ll find that comparing yourself to others is wasted time because everyone has a different path, including you.

Instead, you should accept your past and present, and realize that you can make changes for the future if you desire to do so.

Remember, you should never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. You don’t know what they’ve been through, and instead you should be happy for other people’s accomplishments.

Think about your dream life.

To stop comparing yourself to others, you may want to think about your dream life. This may help you realize that everyone’s on a different path, and that you should be creating your own path to reach happiness and success.

You should think about different things such as:

  • What does it take to reach your dream life? Do you need to go to school? Pay off debt? Learn something new?
  • What will your action plan be?
  • Why is what you’re currently doing no longer working for you?
  • What excuses are you currently making?
  • What are the risks? What will you have to overcome to reach your dream life?
  • What are the positives of reaching your dream life? What is success to you?

Remember, don’t compare yourself with others!

Don’t compare yourself to others

If you find yourself comparing your life to others too much, then you may want to stop and think about how this is impacting your life and what you can do to change.

This may include limiting your time on social media platform such as Instagram and Facebook, so that you can stop the comparison traps and only seeing a person’s highlight reel.

This can help you to improve your mental health and limit the negative effects of being online, possibly depression, feelings of inadequacy, and more that you may feeling.

Instead, focus on your own achievements, instead of other people’s lives. The only person that you should be spending time on is yourself and caring for those around you, instead of wasting your time comparing your life to others and other people’s accomplishments.

How could you stop comparing yourself to others? How has it impacted your life?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Mustard Seed Money

    I think it’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s lives that we set them up as benchmarks in our own lives. I have a tendency to this and one of the things that has helped me and taking the focus off me and trying to look at the big picture.

    Sure I’d love to be in retirement now but I also think about the amazing conversations I have at work and the purpose I have there with my colleagues. Taking a step back has definitely brought some clarity to the situation ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, everyone needs to look at the big picture.

    2. Great post Michelle. Comparing myself to other people has been a constant handicap my entire life. It’s almost like a mind block. It happens almost instinctively and puts a damper on even the best of circumstances because you say to yourself, “Yeah, what I did or have is OK, but look at so and so…”

      I think what MSM shares is crucial too. Sure, that person may have achieved a goal I have. But, I’m in the position I’m in now because this is my journey. I used to have a manager that told me to “swim in my own lane.” Worry about yourself (not in a selfish sense), but more in terms of what the flight attendants tell you about “putting your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” You can’t be of any help to others if you’re constantly negative about yourself.

      Also, if you want to be confident about yourself and what you’re doing, just keep doing it. Forget about failure as a negative component and make it just another way that doesn’t work. Think of Thomas Edison with the light bulb. Tried it 10,000 ways (as the legend goes) until he found the way that worked. Is Edison a failure? Turn on your lights. I think not. Repetition and pivoting breeds confidence. Confidence breeds positivity. And if your confident, comparisons don’t matter because people are now comparing themselves to you.

  2. This is such a great post, and I struggle with this from time to time, even though I’ve written similar things myself! I read a book by Rachel Cruze recently (Dave Ramsey’s daughter). She speaks of this a lot in the book, and how our modern society with its social media obsession feeds into it.

    I love her recommendations to take time to write down one’s values. Just the other day, I was talking to my mom on the phone and I told her that seeing other people’s homes on Instagram made me feel inferior because I’m not good at decorating, and my house is so kid friendly (with 7 kids I guess it has to be!). She told me, “But those things aren’t important to you! You’ve always known what’s important.” – and she was so right. My values don’t lie in having an Insta-worthy home, they lie in family and comfort. Also, “those people probably have debt up to their eyeballs to afford all that stuff. You should be proud that you’re debt free”. Also true!

    Mom is always right. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Exactly! Not everyone’s values are the same.

  3. Go Finance Yourself!

    This is such a great post. I fall into the trap of comparing myself to others. I’m naturally very competitive and often compare myself to others as a measuring stick for how I’m doing. While this can be very motivating, it can also be depressing if someone is greatly outperforming me. When this happens, I usually try to look at what that person is doing to succeed and try to emulate them.

    An example is when I came across the world of FIRE. I always thought I was doing pretty well financially. Then I came across all these people who had saved enough to retire in their mid 30s. Sometimes I feel like I’m really behind since I’m not there yet. I have to remind myself that we all take different paths and I’m doing better than 95% of the people out there.

  4. This is a great post, especially right now as I’m trying to finish paying off some debt.

    Even when you want to “keep up with the Joneses” you don’t know whether they can afford what they have or not. They could be up to their eyeballs in debt and just not acknowledging it. It’s hard to see people get what you want, but it’ll be that much better when you finally get it and have done it in a smart way.

  5. Tamara @ Parenting 2 Home Kids

    Michelle, Thanks for this post, you have some great questions to focus on our own values. I think that is so important in not falling into the keeping up with the Jones Syndrome. It also helps me to focus on gratitude and abundance. I try to be grateful for the accomplishments of other, both for them and that their successinspires me to work towards my goals.

    1. Yes, being grateful for what you have is so important.

  6. Mrs. BITA

    Social media is the worst when it comes to comparisons – most folks only post the high points of their lives and their fabulous vacations, and browsing through social media can leave you feeling that your life is merely meh.

    It is hard to walk the line between feeling motivated by comparisons and just plain old envious. The best defense we have is to be self aware and carry a big stick with which to beat the green eyed monster on the head when he does make an appearance.

    1. Yes! I love your second paragraph – it’s perfect for this post!

  7. Tiffany Melvin

    These are all great points. I have been working on not comparing myself to others for a long time. And I have gotten better. I think right down my goals and comparing myself to how much closer I am than I was is the way I got better. This way I’m comparing myself to ME! lol and not others.I really enjoy your blog. You always have great advice and thanks for sharing.

  8. These are all great points – I especially like the ones about being motivated instead of competitive when it comes to others’ success, and of course, staying off social media! I have a lot of ideas about things to do, but I think I struggle with confidence in executing them.

  9. Thanks for such an important reminder! We all have so many good things going, if we only stop focusing on the bad!

  10. Amanda @ centsiblyrich

    I find social media creates so many problems for people – as far as comparing goes. It’s important to realize we are only seeing whichever slice of life the person decides to serve up – usually the new stuff or latest vacation.

    “Good things can happen to other people” – I think we should celebrate this more. There really is enough happiness to go around! It’s abundant.

    1. Yes, there is plenty of happiness to go around!

  11. Brianne

    I love this so much! And everything is true. We need to empower one another!

  12. Not currently – I’m mainly just here on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Financial Panther

    I find it so hard not to compare myself to others. We all just naturally do it I think.

    The key though that can help is to try to realize how fortunate most of us have it. We all sort of see these people who look so rich and think that’s who we should be comparing ourselves too. I try to do the opposite and think about how well I’m doing compared to a lot of people. One of the reasons I was able to pay off debt quickly was to realize that a lot of people were living on less out of necessity. If other people could do that, then surely I could do the same thing.

    Most other lawyers do the opposite, comparing themselves to big shot lawyers and trying to emulate them.

  14. The Local Nag

    This was a really good read and I couldn’t agree more with it. Literally, just last week. I stopped caring about what people think, what people expect…just whatever. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Am I currently in debt? Sure am! But it’s not weighing down my positive attitude because I have a plan on paying it down and that makes me feel good about the situation. Do I currently like my job? Not really, but I know that once I am financially stable, I can look for a better one, so in the meantime, I am going to make the best of it while I’m there. I am also a very sarcastic person, so when someone thinks it’s a great idea to rain on my parade with their negativity, I respond with the most sarcastic thing I could think of (then I usually crack up when they look back at me confused). It took me a while to figure out that the Kate Spade purse I spent $500 on brought me zero happiness. I can honestly say I am happy now that I don’t spend time comparing myself to others. I don’t care about your house, you spent how much on that car?! Why! And nice purse (thumbs up). Reading this article made me feel even better about the direction that I am heading in, so thank you for posting it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anastasia

    1. Great job on no longer caring!

  15. Michael

    The worst part about comparing ourselves to others is a “total waste of time”. You could compare yourself to one person almost as soon as you wake up. That is the person you look at in the mirror. You can then decide – are you going to be a better “YOU” today than you were yesterday?

    1. Yes, exactly! It is such a waste of time.

  16. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    It’s totally understandable how we all start comparing ourselves to others. After all, we’re social creatures and we learn from each other. Watching others teaches us what we should be doing. Unfortunately nowadays it’s more complicated than “I need to hunt and build shelter like that guy.”
    I think it’s easier for me to not compare myself to others because I’ve always been the oddball. Once you embrace your weirdness, you stop caring how everyone else does things, anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Cody @ Dollar Habits

    This is a great post and a really important message, Michelle. You offer some great solutions as well.

    One of the best decisions I made in regards to this was to delete my personal Facebook account. Everyone’s life is perfect on Facebook. In addition to the benefit of no longer comparing my life to other people on FB, it also removed a layer of societal pressure to spend as well. “Nope, sorry Friend, I didn’t see the picture you posted of your shiny new BMW, I’m too busy building a financial future.”

  18. Great quote by Theo. It is easy to compare and become distracted by the comparison. I think it’s in our nature. It’s also OK, I think, to admit you compared or had jealous thoughts or whatever it is. Just admit it, accept it happened and move on to trying to be the best you.

  19. This is a great article. I once heard the following quote: “If you compare the ability to climb a tree of a fish and a monkey the fish will always be the loser.” And I think there is a lot of truth in this quote. Many people are unhappy because they compare themselves in the wrong topics.
    As you said, comparison can be motivating or demotivating. But sadly for most of the people it is demotivating.
    Have a nice day!

  20. I honestly believe this is one of the largest financial challenges we face – at least here in America. Between social media, commercials, and just observing our neighbors – we’re constantly “bombarded” with the thought of upgrades and fancy toys and other things that set us back financially. Being financially “strong” can go a long way but also minimizing your exposure to these things can have a huge impact.

  21. Social media makes it easy to compare yourself to others, especially because you’re seeing the best of others. Most people don’t talk about their downfalls and crappy moments in life on Facebook.

  22. Michelle,

    I could not agree more. It is almost more detrimental to constantly compare oneself to others than to never compare yourself at all. Not only does that take time away from your day but you miss everyday moments that do not make you nearly as happy. Well done!

    Cheers!

    Cinch Financial

    Adam, @cinchfinancial

  23. This is great! True happiness is not in material things but relationships and experiences. Being happy for others and not feeling like you have to be them is HUGE.

    Congrats on your success! We would love to work with you down the road.

  24. Hi Michelle, I totally agree to what you are pointing out here. Comparing with others is really a very common issue that anyone can observe in their daily life. I loved that you have raised this issue here in this article and provided possible solutions. Thanks a lot for this.

  25. Great post! I love it, this should be taught in high school ๐Ÿ™‚ I stopped comparing a long time ago and it’s a great feeling! You are really able to get more done, accomplish your goals, and be happy!

  26. I have definitely come across this post at the right time… The other day I was getting so stressed out with my blog. My blog is very new and still very much under construction and I just had one of those days where everything was going wrong! I couldn’t help at that point to compare myself to people like you and Pat Flynn and think…. I’ll never be good at this.

    Then I realised, I’m at the BEGINNING of my journey. You guys aren’t.. It’s just silly to compare myself to you. Plus I’m sure you’ve had these issues to at some point as well! I felt so much happier then and just got on with it. I’m really enjoying MY journey ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for this post

  27. Great pointers. Your article will be mentioned in our new blog post coming out this week. We will inform you once we post it. Have a great week.

  28. Shubham

    After reading this article now I’m feeling better. I overthink and start comparing myself to others and this cycle continues and I get demotivated. This is such a fabulous post. It helps me a lot.