Confidence is a crucial aspect of a healthy self-esteem. It allows us to take on challenges, pursue our passions, and thrive in our personal and professional lives. However, building and maintaining confidence can be challenging, particularly in a society that often promotes comparison to others. The pressure to be perfect or have it all together can lead to feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem. Fortunately, it’s possible to break free from the comparison trap and become more confident. In this post, we’ll explore some practical strategies to help you stop comparing yourself to others and build your confidence.
Understand the Impact of Comparison
Before we delve into the strategies for building confidence, it’s essential to understand the impact of comparison. Comparing ourselves to others is a natural human tendency. It’s easy to look at someone else’s life, achievements, or appearance and feel like we’re falling short. However, this comparison can have a severe impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
When we compare ourselves to others, we’re often focusing on our perceived shortcomings rather than our strengths. We may feel like we’re not good enough or that we’re not making progress in our lives. Over time, this negative self-talk can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Therefore, it’s crucial to recognize the impact of comparison and take steps to break free from it.
I know I say this a lot but that is because it’s true! One of the most effective ways to stop comparing yourself to others is to practice self-compassion. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance. It’s about recognizing that we’re all human and that we all make mistakes.
When we practice self-compassion, we’re less likely to compare ourselves to others because we’re focused on our own journey. We’re more likely to be kind to ourselves when we experience setbacks or failures, which can help build our confidence.
To practice self-compassion, start by treating yourself like you would treat a close friend. When you make a mistake, instead of beating yourself up, offer yourself words of encouragement and support. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Over time, this practice can help you become more compassionate and less critical of yourself.
Set Realistic Goals
Another way to stop comparing yourself to others is to set realistic goals. When we set unrealistic goals, we’re setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. We may look at someone else’s achievements and feel like we need to match them, even if they’re not realistic for us.
Instead, set goals that are challenging but achievable. When you achieve your goals, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and confidence, which can help boost your self-esteem. Additionally, when you set realistic goals, you’re more likely to focus on your own progress rather than comparing yourself to others.
If you’re struggling to set goals that feel meaningful, that match your level of ambition but are still achievable, then you’re not alone. It’s a common reason that we get derailed from our own track and end up looking at others’ progress, comparing ourselves and feeling disheartened. If you’d like some help here just reach out by setting up a complimentary call with me.
Focus on Your Strengths
When we compare ourselves to others, we’re often focused on our perceived weaknesses or shortcomings. Instead, try focusing on your strengths. Take some time to reflect on what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. When you focus on your strengths, you’re more likely to feel confident and capable.
If you’re not sure what your strengths are, try asking friends, family, or colleagues for feedback. They may be able to provide insights that you hadn’t considered. Additionally, you can take a strengths assessment to gain a better understanding of your unique talents and abilities. I have taken the Clifton Strengths test but there are many available to choose from.
Limit Social Media Use
Social media can be a significant contributor to the comparison trap. It’s easy to look at someone else’s highlight reel and feel like we’re not measuring up. Additionally, social media can promote unrealistic expectations and ideals.
Just today I came across an article from the BBC about TikTok. In the article, which is about TikTok introducing a time limit of 60 minutes for access to its app for under 18s, the TikTok’s algorithm is described as the “crack cocaine of algorithms”. Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, was interviewed by the BBC for the article and shared how in their research at the Center they found that within minutes of opening a TikTok account, a 13-year-old girl was receiving eating disorder content in her feed.
Social media is powerful and with algorithms designed to hook us and keep us on the different apps we really need to self-protect. Still need convincing? Watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix!
A Story Of Pitfalls and Triumphs
Meet my client “Samantha”.
Samantha had always struggled with self-doubt. She was a hardworking and successful professional, but no matter how much she achieved, she always felt like she wasn’t measuring up. She would look at her colleagues and friends and feel envious of their success, their perfect families, their social media posts filled with smiling faces and exotic vacations.
One day, she found herself scrolling through social media, feeling more and more inadequate with every post she saw. She started comparing herself to her friends and colleagues, measuring her worth against their achievements. She felt like she was failing in every aspect of her life, and the self-doubt started to take over.
It wasn’t until we began our confidence-building journey together with my Confidence Key Program that she realized the enormous impact comparison was having on her mental health and overall wellbeing. She learned that although comparing herself to others was a natural human tendency, but it was also one of the most significant obstacles to building self-confidence. She realized that she needed to break free from the comparison trap if she wanted to thrive in her personal and professional life.
Samantha’s story is not unique. So many of us struggle with self-doubt and low self-esteem, and comparing ourselves to others is often a key issue. When we compare ourselves to others we trigger feelings like we’re not good enough or that we’re not making enough progress in our lives. Over time, this negative self-talk can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
If you want to make a start and counter your negative self-talk, download my free resource here.