How I Stopped Comparing Myself To Others: 7 Steps

I wanted to write about this subject so badly, but I kept putting it off. After many sleepless nights, I finally did the first step: I stopped comparing myself to my friends and colleagues.

You can feel the difference with a single thought: What do you want most in the world? Not what you think is important, as we’ve all already figured out, but what your deepest, most important needs are. In many ways, what we are really seeking is the most valuable thing we have, and with the greatest respect to what is known about our deepest, most important needs, that may be to be ourselves. We are each unique, but our ability to be ourselves (and not to be other people) has always been the most valuable gift we’ve had.

If you have the most important needs that you’re still searching for, try putting your attention on getting yourself right. 

But how? As a teacher of personal growth and personal change, I feel a deep responsibility to help people discover their most valuable needs and help them live lives free of judgment and self-sabotage. Because judgment and self-sabotage lead to unhappiness.

Here’s what I tell my students: 

Step 1: Let Go Of All Your Prejudices

Letting go of all your pre-judging (the kinds where you tell yourself “Well, we can’t use this technique because this class doesn’t teach it”, or “I’m not good enough to use that technique,” or “I never get this right or that wrong,” etc.) is one of the most important steps to freeing yourself to be yourself completely. It takes time to let go of that fear of the unknown, but it’s well worth it (a great article on doing self-discovery is here ).

Step 2: Go Out Into The World

The second step to freeing yourself to be yourself is to go out into the world and start making those connections, those new experiences, and those new connections, with people like you, just like you. We often take for granted that we have the ability to connect with other amazing people, because it’s so easy to make a connection with people who look like us. You’ll never really feel like you’re just as amazing as someone else, or as unique as yourself.

There’s a reason “c” in “café crème” is used as a slang term for a great bar. It’s called a cafe crème because you’re basically ordering a cup of coffee in an atmosphere that’s so inviting that people will actually take your order, just to sit and talk. You’ll never really feel as if you have that experience in every part of your daily life, but it helps you feel welcome, and helps you find comfort and community.

For me (like many of you), that would seem to mean the best place would be on the street, or in the parks around my apartment, or even the park across the street–the kind of place where people will be comfortable and open to just being themselves. I guess it’s just a matter of being willing to give yourself permission.

Because the best time to talk with other people (and with yourself!) is when we feel that we’re in safe places, that we have friends, that we have an opportunity to just be ourselves for a while. This is the time when you get the best sense of who you are, and that will help you to understand how to be a more whole person.