How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Your Neighbors

Brooke Becker: Shutterstock

Brooke Becker: Shutterstock

Comparing ourselves to others may be one of the most detrimental things we can do for our self esteem. When compared to the Facebook posts of our “friends,” our kids are never as well-mannered or athletic, our spouses never as romantic or wealthy, and our jobs never as glamorous or high-powered. Shutting off all our social media outlets might be one strategy for stopping the constant comparison to others. The problem with that is, comparisons are easy to make no matter where we are. So here’s another idea: Have a little self-compassion.

Treat yourself as you would treat a close friend or family member.

For example:

Set realistic expectations for yourself. You would never expect a friend to raise 2 perfect children, work 50 hours a week, maintain a HGTV-worthy home at all times and still fit into her prom dress. So why do you expect that of yourself? Keep your expectations real and do-able in this lifetime.

Accept your idiosyncrasies. We all have them: weird, quirky things that make us who we are. For example, I have a friend who can’t tell a joke to save her life; she always gets the punchline wrong. It’s one of the things I love about her. Embrace the parts of you that make you, you – even if they are, technically, imperfections.

Understand that you will make mistakes. Why are we so much more accepting of other people’s missteps, failures and screw-ups than we are our own? I’m not sure. But I do know that most of us could stand to be as gracious to ourselves as we are to others.

You never know what’s behind the front door.  When all else fails, and you still find yourself comparing your life to the other, fancier people in your life, know this: Everyone has struggles of some kind.  What looks perfect rarely is, and everyone (yes, even the most confident, beautiful and rich among us) have our foibles and weak spots.

Portions of this post originally appeared as part of a series on Personal Development Genesis

How To Forgive Yourself


As a parent I have about a million opportunities to screw up everyday.  When I do, it can be important to do a little self-forgiveness so that I can move on to the next challenge without the weight of guilt around my shoulders.  We all make mistakes (in parenting and otherwise), so naturally are all in need of forgiveness at one time or another.  Sometimes we seek forgiveness from others, but it’s from ourselves that forgiveness is also desired.

Some ideas about how to forgive yourself and move on:

Be Intentional. When thinking about forgiving yourself a transgression, it can be useful to be organized about it. What is it that you have done? Why would you like to forgive yourself? What will that forgiveness mean in the long term? Writing these things down might also be useful as a way to keep your thoughts clear and organized.

Make a moment out of it. Give yourself the time and space to really think through what forgiveness means, and then give it to yourself. Instead of trying to accomplish this difficult task while driving kids to soccer practice or making dinner, try carving out some time just for yourself to sit and process it all. Preferably time when you won’t be interrupted – but instead have the luxury of spending some real, quality time with yourself.

Let yourself move on. Forgiving ourselves doesn’t mean we have forgotten what we have done, but it does mean letting go of the anger, guilt and shame associated with event. It will likely take some practice, but true forgiveness means allowing yourself to move on from the past with improved knowledge and behavior.

Want to read more about forgiveness? Check out my posts:

What Is Forgiveness?

How to Forgive Someone

Parts of this post originally appeared on Personal Development Genesis.