_ Written by Amelia Putri _
This happens naturally to all of us. The comparison game – or war, is as old as humanity. When we look at the girl next to us during a yoga session, we feel inferior to how perfect her crow pose is. At a party, we are amazed by how gorgeous everyone else’s dresses are compared to what we wear. The list goes on and on. Often times, we can’t just stop ourselves doing this comparison internally.
There’s actually a biological reason why we are prone to comparing ourselves to others. Our brain uses comparison to figure out how we measure up to other people. Most of the time, this calculation is made in a split second without us being realized. But then, unconsciously, that becomes a pattern to us. We become hostile toward ourselves. Everyone looks better than us in our eyes. Of course it has a positive side too; it will help us in doing introspection and it motivates us to do better.
However, when we compare ourselves to others, the fair game is never existed. We often compare the best features of other people against our average or weakness points. It’s like comparing a genetic inherited beauty to our average one, a genetic height of a person to our average height, how other people’s vacations look much more luxurious than ours. This will lead us to jealousy. It can feel very, very subtle that we often don’t recognize it. If we constantly compare ourselves to others, we are putting our happiness, confidence and mental health at risk.
We often hear this word. Insecurity is a tendency to lack confidence or certainty in oneself in some aspects of one’s life. For example, we think that we are not skinny enough to wear such dress compared to other people; our job is not prestigious compare to our high school friends’ job, et cetera. If we are stuck in this pattern, it causes negative thoughts about our ability to fit in with peers, to find acceptance and support, to reach goals, and even to meet challenges of daily life. Fear, worry, self-doubt often occur and may lead to anxiety.
Being in the center of a comparison, even though we are the one who do that to ourselves, can make us feel inferior against other people. It can build up to inferiority complex. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines an inferiority complex as “a basic feeling of inadequacy and insecurity, deriving from actual or imagined physical or psychological deficiency.” Comparing ourselves to others can lead to inferiority complex which essentially is having a collection of negative thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and tendencies.
The signs of inferiority complex we may have are:
- Shutting down out of shame, guilt, embarrassment, or a sense of defeat.
- Socially withdrawing. When our habit in comparing ourselves against other people gets worse, we may feel the need to hide ourselves from the society. We may think that we are unworthy and this is the safest way to keep the society from negative people like us. In fact, it is an act of our ego self-defense mechanism which is kicking in.
- Extremely sensitive to both compliments and criticisms. Sometimes compliments may feel like critics to us, or the other way around.
- Exhibit personality traits, such as perfectionism and neuroticism (a tendency toward anxiety, depression, and other negative feelings).
There is one thing that we’re better at than other people: being ourselves. This is the only game we can really win. We, as a person, are the only one in the world. There are no two identical personalities. We are unique and authentic. But sometimes life can be too unbearable, our minds can trick us and be our biggest obstacles. If the habit of comparing ourselves to other people gets worse and we feel helpless or we feel overwhelmed, it’s not too late to seek for a help.
Alberts, Nuna. (April 14, 2020). What Is an Inferiority Complex? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/understanding-inferiority-complex/
Becker, Joshua. (2021). How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – A Helpful Guide. Retrieved from https://www.becomingminimalist.com/compare-less/
Buffet, Warren. (June 2019). The Danger of Comparing Yourself to Others. Retrieved fromhttps://fs.blog/2019/06/comparing-yourself-others/
Cruze, Rachel. (February 25, 2021). How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. Retrieved from https://www.ramseysolutions.com/personal-growth/how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-others
GoodTherapy. (2017). Insecurity. Retrieved from https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/insecurity
Haas, Susan Biali. (2018). How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prescriptions-life/201803/how-stop-comparing-yourself-others
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