“She is smarter than me. He’s more handsome than me”.Have you ever come across this feeling? I believe we human beings encounter this in life. Can we resist ourselves from comparing ourselves to others? Personally, I don’t think so. No matter how many times we try, we cannot completely get ourselves rid of doing this. This kind of comparison can either motivate us to to be stronger or make us worse and weaker. If you are feeling this right now, this article is for you. I don’t guarantee you’ll be healed 100%, but at least, you feel better.

I have a friend who suffered from comparing herself to others. Reflecting back when she was a teenager, she endured this painful feeling almost for her whole teenage life. She kept comparing herself to others, so she lost sight of whom she was, and she lost faith in herself as well. She compared herself to neighbors and classmates. That noise always dwelled in her head and kept telling her that her neighbors and classmates were prettier, smarter, luckier, happier and more likable than she was. In short, they were better off than her in everything.

Actually, she did not develop that thinking without any reasons. It was brought by her surrounding people. Before that, she had been a happy and care free kid and too young to care about such comparison. When she became a teenager, those people began to  compare her with their kids. Then, those feelings followed her ever since.

Back then, they often criticized her appearance. They said she didn’t have a attractive face shape as their daughter, she had dark skin, she looked older than others who were in the same age  etc. At first, she tried not to care, but she could do it only for a short time. When this was repeated, she was gradually convinced that she was whom they said she was instead of whom she believed she was. Eventually, she was knocked down and  became depressed, worried, hopeless and inferior. She lived to their opinions. She dared not to think she was lovely, for those people did not think the same. She needed their approval and validation  to feel pretty, happy and smart and think she could do things. Whenever she went to the market with her mom and saw nice clothes, she did not ask her mom to buy. You know why? It’s because those people’s opinions made her feel ugly. That noise in her head said , “what the point of wearing it. You’re ugly and you looked ugly in any clothes you wore. It did not make any difference to you coz no one would say you’re pretty. Your neighbor was pretty even she wore older clothes than you. You’re just ugly.”

Her story reminds me of  one Korean song entitled “Ugly” . In one part of the song was sung, “ I think I’m ugly and nobody wants to love. Just like her I wanna be pretty.” This really described her feeling back then. These feelings ruined her teenage life. She was rarely happy and rarely tried new things which she could have achieved. It not only stopped her from doing what she can  but also stole many chances in her life.

However, now she is far better. She admits she still feels it a little bit sometimes, but now she can control herself and turns that in to her advantages. How she overcame that, by the way?

Firstly, she sought for inspiration. Finding that form humans did not work for her because she rarely showed people her depressing or sad feelings. As she liked listening to songs, she found the inspiration from the songs and her favorite artists. At first, she did not expect she could be inspired by the songs to which she listened because she just listened to reduce stress and depression. Fortunately, she found the songs that she could relate to her story. Even though people in her society were opposite, she felt better when she thought about those songs. That’s one of the factors why she could move on ever since.

Secondly,  she started to focus on her strengths instead of her weaknesses. One day, she finally started to get up from that nightmare and stop caring how ugly people thought she was. She realized she aint change people’s opinions no matter what. When she kept feeling depressed, her life would only get worse.  “Why not focus on what she could do instead of what she couldn’t?”, she asked herself. Then, she began to work hard at school and work. From day to day, she only focused on her study and work. Eventually, people started to recognize her abilities instead of her beauty. Then, she discovered that  she did not have nothing; she actually had potentials which she could have realized earlier.

Thirdly, she helped and motivated others, especially those being in the same situation as her. Helping and motivating others was like helping and motivating herself. It also distracted her from thinking negatively about herself  because she was only busy thinking about helping others. What’s more, she built good relationship with them. They saw her inner beauty instead of the outer one.  They became her supporters because of her kindness.

Lastly, she watched inspiring videos and read motivation quotes.  It worked for her. Those people in the video somehow inspired her through their speeches and sayings. Also, it made her feel that she was not the only one in this world who was going through this. Some people were facing the same problem as well, and some of them who could get up from that situation became her inspiration.

After all, these are how she dealt with such demotivating comparison. My message to everyone is we cannot avoid comparing. We can never avoid problems in life either. Maybe we can for a short while, but it will come back some day. The way to get rid of it is accepting and dealing with it.

What’s more, we can make use of comparison. Make them your catalyst factors to improve yourself. For example, we can find our weaknesses by comparing ourselves with others who are stronger.  After that,  try to improve those flaws, but we don’t need to try to be like them or better than them. Just be good in our own way. The only person you should be better than or compete is the person whom you were yesterday. Lastly, parents or family, please don’t choose a method of comparing your children to other kids if you want them to be better. This will discourage your children  and might make them worse instead. Please be as supportive as you can and bring out the best in them . Let them shine in their own way, not like others.

Written by Free Education for Everyone