How to stop comparing yourself to others

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Have you ever felt the green eyed monster creeping out of its cave when looking at someone else’s success? I have. More times than I would like to admit.

Especially in the early days of starting my business. I lost hours trawling other people’s websites, blogs and Instagram accounts wondering to myself “How did she do it?” and “Why not me?” and “What does she know that I don’t?”. I felt like it wasn’t fair and I really resented them.

Sometimes I would even wish bad things on them and their business and that they’d lose it all (I know, I know, terrible. But that’s what jealousy will do to you if you let it rear its ugly head for long enough).

Jealousy is a completely normal human emotion and it’s no wonder more of us are experiencing it in the age of social media, but it can really hold you back from success in your own life, study and career.

Do you compare yourself to others and measure your success by theirs? Here are some tips to shift out of this mindset.

1. Understand why you feel jealous

At the root of most jealousy is a feeling of inferiority. When we see someone else who has achieved what we would like to achieve, it’s hard not to be keenly aware of something we would like more of in our lives.

There is a term for it in the Urban Dictionary: Comparisonitis.

Comparisonitis accurately describes what’s going on when we watch someone else’s success and feel resentment towards them. In reality, it’s nothing to do with the person you’re jealous of and all about your feelings about your own success and achievement.

Shifting this perspective can take you from hating on them, to realising it’s just your own fears and insecurities coming up. By recognising this you can take steps to move forward and create change in your life to achieve the things you desire.

2. Acknowledge that you’re only seeing part of the picture

It’s really rare that people share the bad parts of their lives online.

We choose the selfies where we look the best. We talk about how we got a promotion at work or aced an assessment. We shout about our successes and hide our failures. That person you’re jealous of is only showing you half the picture. And, I’d hazard a guess that you’re doing the same in your own life.

So stop comparing your insides to somebody’s outsides and recognise that even the most successful person will have problems, insecurities and fears. They’re human, just like you. (They might even be jealous of someone they think of as successful!)

3. Getting jealous only hurts you

Do you think the person you’re envious of knows, or even cares, that you feel the way you do about them? Do you think your opinion of them is going to change how they live their lives? Of course not. You’re probably not even on their radar. Getting jealous and resenting their success is only going to make you feel worse. As the famous quote goes:

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

4. Use jealousy as fuel

The best gift you can give yourself when you catch yourself feeling jealous towards someone else is to celebrate what they’ve achieved and realise that if they can do it, so can you. Turn the emotion into motivation and fuel for reaching your own goals. Let their success inspire you and put the green-eyed monster back in its cave where it belongs.

Jen Smith coaches entrepreneurs in social media.

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