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Why We Should Never Compare Ourselves With Other People

Updated on July 25, 2015
Their relationship is so much better than mine..sigh..
Their relationship is so much better than mine..sigh.. | Source


Have you ever logged in to Facebook and browse someone's pages for a long time and think to yourself "oh his/her life is so happy" "he/she got so many likes" "I wish I had as many friends as him/her"? I know many people who does this, and by the time they put their smartphone down, they also put themselves down. I can see their faces as they start perceiving that they are living a life much more inferior than someone else. I do not blame Facebook for this. The problem is not with Facebook, it is with the people who has the habit of comparing themselves with others

It does not only happen in Facebook. It can happen anywhere. As long as you have this bad habit, the moment you see someone you perceive as having something better than you, you will straight away feel disappointed or inferior to that person. Irrespective of the fact whether you know him/her or not.

So why do some of us have this habit, and what can we do about it?

A Good Army General Will Plan His move before an attack on his enemy, he won't despair.
A Good Army General Will Plan His move before an attack on his enemy, he won't despair. | Source

Pros and Cons of Comparing

Comparing our lives with other people is a two edged sword, used properly and it can enrich our lives. If we abuse this habit we will end up living a life of greed and jealousy.

Comparing becomes a good thing we use it correctly. If we see someone more successful than us we might compare our lives to theirs at first, but what will make the difference is our attitude towards our comparison. Are we going to sulk and go green with jealousy, or are we going to use that particular person as an inspiration to set our goals to be as successful or more than he/she is?

An army general will always compare his strength to his enemy's prior to war, and he will use this information to strengthen his army, and tailor suit a tactic that is suitable to attack his enemy the right and most effective way. Because he has confidence in himself that he can increase his army's strength. While an army general who has no confidence will look at his enemy's strength and be filled with despair if it is stronger than his, and underestimate when he perceives it to be weaker than his army.

The root cause of jealousy and despair is our lack of confidence that we too can achieve whatever the other person has achieved. What determines whether comparing is good or bad is our attitude to the comparison we have made.

What to do about it?

What we can do about it is change our attitude and way of thinking. We should stop thinking of ourselves as inferior. We need to KNOW we can be just as good or better than the person who we are comparing ourselves to.

Many beginners here on Hubpages have failed or give up on writing because they saw the pages of many successful Hubbers and see the numbers of achievements and accolades that they have received from Hubpages and saw how many comments they have got in their hubs, and start feeling overwhelmed and powerless after their first published Hub did not get any comments or views. However, there are many who saw it and are inspired and decided to emulate the successful Hubbers they saw. While many others saw those successful Hubs and told themselves, "I can never be like that."

Many of the beginners who gave up do not realize that those successful Hubbers started just where the beginners are starting from, only now the successful ones are on a different page. We need to realize that everyone starts from zero. Those successful Hubbers did not become successful overnight I assure you. They just concentrated on writing and writing well consistently.

They, like you also visited Hubbers that were already successful and they decide to emulate their work ethic.


Many beginner guitarists become overwhelmed when they see Jimi Hendrix play and give up. Then there is Stevie Ray Vaughan, who saw Hendrix and decided he will work tooth and nail to become a legendary guitarist in his own right and succeeded.

What many people don't realize is that Hendrix started from zero, in fact he had no music teacher, he use to just try and imitate his guitar heroes and learned to play all by himself. Buddy Guy another legendary guitarist had to make his own guitar from a cigar box to learn how to play guitar

SRV used to admire Hendrix, Hendrix was his hero and he learned the guitar instead of being overwhelmed, and now he is known as a legendary guitarist in his own right. Unfortunately, like Hendrix, he too died young.

Why Compare?

Everyone is different. No one is created equal. We all have plus points and minus points. So as far as comparing go it is pretty useless. The only time we should compare is when we want to have a vision of the success we want to achieve and the success we are trying to emulate. Compare to set an example. That is it. Nothing else. Go anywhere beyond that and you are walking on a slippery slope.

Find someone who has achieved more than you. Compare their achievement with yourself and thats it. After that you work hard and don't see left and right. Go straight as an arrow. Use the person as an inspiration. Do not be overwhelmed by his/her success. Know that they too worked very hard to be where they are now.

The kind of comparing I am describing here happens automatically. When you see someone who is more successful than you, you will subconsciously size yourself with him/her, this is natural. But it should stop there. You should not go to compare-overdrive mode.

When you are content to simply be yourself, don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
-Lao Tzu

The Lesser Known Side of Comparing

It is very common to compare ourselves with people who are better than us. But we are rarely aware of the dangers of comparing ourselves with people below us. I have heard many people giving advice that goes something like "never see people who is above you but see people who are below you. Then you will be grateful." This is not true.

Our feeling of gratefulness should not come at the expense of people below us. Gratefulness is an attitude, which even the poor people can have. If gratefulness is only reserved for people who can see below them, than what about the people who are at the lowest? Everyone from the richest to the poorest can find something to be grateful for. It is a matter of attitude.

Comparing yourselves with those who are below you can also cause frustration. I know a man who was kicked out by his father when he was young and he is now a very wealthy and successful man, He worked very hard and started from zero. However, he gets frustrated and sees his children as failures as they cannot emulate the success and work ethic he had when he was younger. He sees them as spoiled brats living off the wealth he has earned very hard.

It is not fair to his children, granted that they are privileged but they did not ask to be born as your children. If the children are indeed irresponsible and spoiled brats then yes by all means be disappointed and take the necessary action. But if the children are descent and responsible and decide to work and help in his father's business and make a name of his own then this is no reason to be frustrated and disappointed. Just because the children did not start from zero at a young age.

So be careful of comparing yourselves with those below you. as you might just start to snigger at them and show them your nostrils and be a snob. The best solution is to never compare yourselves to anyone. set a goal and go straight as an arrow towards it, never look left and right. A sprinter will never look left and right when sprinting. He/she will look straight ahead and run as fast as possible to reach the number 1 spot.


Here is a man who decided to make his own music video on youtube. He does not try to compare himself to any artist and sings and dances the way he wants to. It is hilarious, but you have to admire this man for his courage to be himself and funny! Enjoy:


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    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Very nice post with wise advice. We are all individually unique and success is in the eye of the beholder. I would like to add ...when souls are born into a privileged society, on a soul level, they might have ask for it so they can learn to be grateful and at the same time express humbleness. Not many succeed, but when they do, they usually make a great difference in our physical reality.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      suraj....Very wise and valid words you have shared here. I am in 100% agreement with your thoughts.

      We are, each one of us, a unique human being with our own signature and footprint.

      We must never resort to comparing our lives with those of others, but focus instead on creating the best life we possibly can for ourselves and loved ones.

      The only time it is advised we begin to compare is when we must agree that we are all equal in receiving love and respect from humanity.

    • Ridhima Sethi profile image

      Ridhima Sethi 2 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Hi suraj! I completely agree with you.

      I think people have a tendency to compare themselves with other people, because they lack self-love.

      I believe that the moment people fall in love with themselves, the need to compare will automatically disappear.

    • suraj punjabi profile image

      suraj punjabi 2 years ago from jakarta

      It is very true what you said Bill. It never does any good. Best is to just look straight ahead do our best.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a "no win" situation, comparing ourselves to others. I know because I once tried it. :) Great wisdom here.

    • suraj punjabi profile image

      suraj punjabi 2 years ago from jakarta

      lctodd1947 yes this is very true, we should always belief that we are unique and that we cannot and should not be compared with anyone else. thank you for you thoughtful comment. :)

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 2 years ago from USA

      Very good words and so much truth. When we start trying to be like another person; we can find ourselves not being us. "To thine own self be true." We are not supposed to be like anyone else; we are unique and have everything inside us that we need to succeed. We just have to work at it.

      Thank you for sharing.