A Note On Comparing Yourself To Others

“Her thighs are better than mine.”

“These people are so much smarter than me.”

“They have more fun than I do.”

Growing up, I struggled with something we’ll call the –est complex. Ya know, I wanted to have the coolest outfits, tell the funniest jokes, be the fastest runner on the playground during “boys chase girls.” In short, I wanted to be the best at everything.

I remember one time in high school I was complaining to my dad about how there were a handful of brainiacs in my English class who made me question my own intelligence. I was expecting some words of comfort or reassurance. Maybe a “Don’t worry. You’re one of the smartest, Megs.” But instead, my dad said something that made me, well, just plain mad.

“You know, there’s always going to be someone smarter or more attractive than you out there. That’s just the way life works.”

I did not like this. You mean I’ll never be the smartest or prettiest girl in the world? Ugh. What’s the point? If you ain’t first, you’re last. Ricky Bobby taught me that.

At the time, his words made me feel angry and uneasy, but now I understand how necessary it is to understand that concept. Being the best isn’t the most important thing in the world, nor is it realistic.

We’ve all probably heard that comparing yourself to other people is a surefire way to be miserable all the time. “Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison will kill you.” Yes, absolutely. 100%. Got it. But it’s not really something you can just turn off and not do anymore because you know, you have eyes and a brain. We see other people who may seem more successful or “cooler” than us and comparison follows just as naturally as pedaling while riding a bike.

Today it’s even harder to refrain from comparing yourself to others because we have access to what people are up to 24/7 through social media.

How many times have you scrolled through your Instagram feed and found yourself comparing your body, wardrobe, brunch game, Friday nights, to someone else’s? Probably enough to make you question your whole existence and have a quarter-life crisis in the middle of the grocery store check out line. I think we can all agree: this comparison thing is tough.

So how do we make the comparisons stop? If I knew the answer to that question, I would be a millionaire. But I do know a few things that help put my mind at ease so I’ll stick them right here for you.

You are you and that is your strength. There is nobody else just like you. You’re the only you in the world. You’re a one-of-a-kind, first edition, original mother freakin’ masterpiece. So that’s pretty cool. Congratulations.

In all seriousness, though, it helps me to remember that what’s currently going on with me in my life is exactly what I need to prepare me for whatever lies ahead. Was that confusing? I’m trying to say that trusting your journey and where you are right now is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental health. Maybe the girl you’ve never met but secretly stalk on Insta seems to have it all figured out, but that doesn’t mean you never will. Patience, young grasshopper.

And now I will close with something my middle school teacher said to the class one day that I have never ever forgotten. She said that no matter how tough times may get or how bad you may feel you have it–and come on we all feel that way every now and then– there is always someone worse off than you are.

So there you have it folks. There are going to be people who have it better and people who have it worse. C’est la vie.

It’s tricky not to compare yourself to others, but remember girl, you’re one-of-a-kind and you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. Trust your journey. Keep your chin up.

Image via Arianna Torres 

Graphic Design via Molly Longest


Megan Peterson

Editorial Contributor, Indiana University Major: Journalism and Apparel Merchandising Her heart belongs to: fashion, old Hollywood, the color pink, big cities, disco balls, airports and dance parties Her guilty pleasures: Diet Coke, Friends reruns, shopping sprees, and following Kate Middleton’s life a little too closely

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