Why Do Humans Compare?

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Another email came in my email on why we compare and compete.


Let’s be honest, we’ve all been sucked into the unhelpful behaviour that is: comparing ourselves against others. It’s likely you’ve compared yourself to someone even in the last 24 hours.⁠

But why do we do it?⁠

Well, it’s the way the human mind has evolved. Thousands of years ago, if we wanted to survive we had to constantly be on the look out for things that could hurt us, and in the modern world we have inherited this. This comes out as worrying, predicting the worst, comparing etc.⁠

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In terms of survival back then, you had to be able to fit in with the group, because if you were alone you would probably die. So your mind compares you to others in the group with thoughts like "am I fitting in?" "am I doing anything that might get me thrown out?" The things is, in life we are still comparing but we’re not actually in small groups anymore. In fact, groups are huge and social media gives us access to even more people to constantly compare ourselves to. This constant comparison heightens our worries about getting judged, or rejected or not being good enough.⁠

So what should we do?

Make a conscious effort to identify when we are making a comparison and direct your attention elsewhere. Break the habit by replacing every negative comparison thought with one of the following mantras:

1. I am on the path that is best for me right now
Believe that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Your path is unique and it will never be the same as someone else’s.
2. I am grateful for who I am and who I’m becoming
Embrace and love yourself. You are constantly evolving to be the best you.
3. I give myself permission to embrace all sides of me
Allow yourself to love all parts of you, the good and the bad. There is beauty in your flaws, for that makes you who you are. Believe that one day your flaws will turn to beauty.
4. Nobody is me and that is my superpower
There is only one Jo in this world! Don’t let anyone take that away from you!

I would like to encourage you to rehearse these mantras in times where you face negative thoughts. You will be surprised how effective it is to replace a thought with another thought. It is a very powerful and simple method that you can apply in your life.

Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt⁠


I hope these mantras will help you to stop comparing yourself to others. Ever since I have stopped comparing myself to others, I find myself liberated from the fear that I am not enough. Today, I am contented with myself instead of looking at what I lack as compared to others. It is a journey that you have to be willing to take, and it will be so worth it!

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