Competing Vs Comparing: How to Prevent Yourself from the Negative Effects of Comparison

by Joanna Crawford

Competition is fun isn’t it? It makes things more enjoyable and pushes you to work harder and strive to be better. It can be a fun rivalry between friends, family members, or coworkers. Competition is what makes sports fun to watch and some weight loss challenges so successful. Everyone is aiming for one thing and one thing only, and that is to win.

I am such a competitive person with pretty much everything I do, well except for trivia (I would just rather not embarrass myself). In all other things though, I always want to be the best. I get competitive with my Fitbit friends daily with my steps or with my family or friends playing boardgames. When I go to the gym, I am secretly competing with the people in the exercise classes to be the one who is working the hardest. The truth is I hate to lose. HATE IT. Don’t we all though? Ohhh the struggle.

But sometimes we get so caught up in competing that it is like we are never happy with who we are or where we are in our lives. Instead of being happy for the people who tend to be better at some things than we are, we want to be better than they are. This is something that I have really struggled with and still do daily. Social media does not help either. In a world where everything seems to revolve around how pretty your pictures are on Instagram and how many likes you get, I start to think “How on earth am I supposed to compete with all these smart, beautiful, creative people out there?”. It seems impossible.

The reality though is IT IS OKAY! It’s okay that you don’t get the most likes on Instagram or that you aren’t creating all of these clever ideas on Pinterest (Pinterest is there for you to steal all the great ideas anyways, right?).

Competing leads to comparing, specifically comparing ourselves to other people and their talents.

But the fact of the matter is, we weren’t all created to run a marathon, be a fitness model, perform motivational speeches in front of thousands of people, create a software database, or be an actress on the big screen. Most of these are pretty crazy to even think about and all of these ideas pretty much scare the crap out of me, except for maybe the first one.

So what do I do to stop myself from turning a healthy competition into a comparison battle on my mind?


Social media is a great resource to connect with others and to also learn from them. The problem is that if you are not in the right mindset, it can really affect your self-esteem. We’ve all been there. That moment you are scrolling through your newsfeeds and see all the best parts of everyone’s life unfolding, watching people eating healthy and working out, all the while you are still sitting in your pajamas chowing down on some donuts. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has a day of pantsless grubbing it’s just that nobody usually posts about it. STEP AWAY FROM THE MEDIA and have a reality check.


Sometimes we need a reminder of how great we really are. While you’re away from Instagram and Facebook, write down a list of all the things you are great at and all the things you have accomplished! Maybe even ask your best friend or husband what you are great at or what qualities they love best about you (because sometimes it is hard for us to talk ourselves up). Remember to stay confident in the abilities that you have.


One of the most therapeutic things I do when I start to compare myself to others is to be supportive instead of envious. If I catch myself getting a little jealous on social media, I start to go a little “like” crazy to people’s photos. It’s easier to be encouraging and admire these people than to try and find something negative about them.

Let’s all remember that we are all made to be different. We are all experts at something but that doesn’t mean it has to be the same thing. Remember how great you are in all your uniqueness and try and be supportive instead of envious of those who may be a little more talented than we are in other areas.

Just remember to “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde

NFM Staff
Author: NFM Staff

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