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How do I stop comparing myself to others? - 6 tips to help

Are you feeling feeling inadequate, jealous, sad stressed, and anxious about where things are in your life?

Do you have expectations about where your life should be in terms of a career, baby, partnership, finances, or something else and it's making you feel completely overwhelmed?

It can be helpful to understand why you're comparing yourself, why it's making you overwhelmed - and of course, how to stop comparing yourself to others and embrace your own life path.

Age is often a big factor - At some point in your life, you probably picked up an idea about what age you'd be when you'd be married, or have a kid, or where you'd be at in your career. Age often plays a significant role in our feelings of anxiety. We tend to set certain life milestones by specific ages, and when we approach or pass those ages without meeting them, it can trigger anxiety. For example, birthdays or discussions with healthcare professionals about your age can intensify these feelings.

What can help: Acknowledge these triggers. When someone comments on your age or family planning, politely steer the conversation away if it's unhelpful. Prior to your birthday, reflect on your accomplishments in the past year and in your life, and focus on your personal growth instead of fixating on where you "should" be.

Community Comparisons: Seeing friends and family seemingly further along in life can be discouraging. You might feel stuck, noticing friends are married and you feel like you're just dating a string of crappy people, maybe you keep applying for those managerial roles and not getting them, but your friends are. You can't figure out how you're ever going to buy a house on a single wage.

What can help:

Remember, your life is completely unique to you. Your soul is here to experience its own life path, it's its own story, and its own growth lessons. You aren't supposed to be anywhere but where you are. So when you look at someone else's life, remember they have their own ups and downs and timelines to things too and you have yours. There is a plan for your life that doesn't always feel obvious.

Consider a temporary social media cleanse from profiles that trigger anxiety. Notice if someone going through their pregnancy or wedding journey is uplifting you or making you feel anxious, you can choose to mute those profiles for a while (even if they're really good friends, I give you permission!).

Societal vs. Personal Desires: Distinguishing between societal expectations and your true desires is crucial. Pressure to marry, have children, or reach specific career milestones can be overwhelming, and they may not even align with what you truly want.

What can help:

When it comes to those things you don't have, that you feel you should.

Do some journalling and ask yourself, do I even want this, or is it that I've been raised to think I want this?

Some examples to inspire you -

  • I know people who have walked away from their studied career, to make less money and couldn't be happier.

  • I know that I had a period of time where I used to have an internal narrative about meeting someone at a certain age, so I could be with them for X amount of years before we have kids, all based on societal expectation (unconsciously of course). When I sat and reflected on this desire, and thought to myself - do I even want kids!?

It is so key to actually ask yourself what you want, the pressure you feel might disappear right away!

Generational Expectations: Pressure from older generations to follow their timelines may not suit your life circumstances or choices.

What can help:

Understand that past generations had different norms that probably don't make sense to you today. They had kids earlier, financial situations made buying houses easier.

So if you're feeling pressure from certain generations, it might not be worth the battle, but just mentally note this expectation down as not being realistic!

Control and Effort:

It is frustrating to want something and still not see it in the physical world. But remember, you can only do things that are within your control.

What can help:

Acknowledge your desires and efforts, but also assess if you're genuinely putting in the work. Make sure you're actively pursuing what you want.

  • When I experienced frustration over the thought that I might never be able to afford a house. I realised that frustration was linked to a timeline. What was within my control was releasing the expectation of timeframe and continue to budget and work hard to save. I also gave myself a break and acknowledged that I'm doing my best - this is so important!

  • It's also helpful to notice where there is frustration but maybe there isn't equal effort. This is where you have the control and can change your situation. Dating is a great example to use here, as it does feel shitty sometimes to look around and think ‘Why am I single, is there something wrong with me' - and I'm here to tell you that there isn't. I know so many amazing people who are single (and I was one of them). I just kept putting my TRUE self out there as that is. So make sure you do continue to put yourself out there for the things you want. Are you trying online dating, are you asking friends if they know anyone who is single, are you taking your headphones out at the supermarket and making conversation? What is in your control, and are you taking action?

Gender Expectations: Societal expectations based on gender can add pressure to conform to specific life paths. Even if we escape those stories, then there is a new one to take its place.

What can help:

  • Notice if by avoiding or not experiencing one societal expectation yet, you haven't fallen into trying to fit in and prove something by ramping up another area. A common one is women that who don't have children often feel the pressure to perform in their careers. Notice if you feel overwhelmed and pressured that your eggs are all in this basket, and if it's not pumping on all cylinders you feel as if you're failing.

  • Is there another way? We can also get locked into the way we think things should look. Wanting kids can such a difficult topic to talk about if it isn't happening. It is hard for women to feel a timeframe pressure - so it isn't always easy to just say I'll wait, or I'll keep trying until this happens. But if having kids biologically isn't possible, then it can be looking at the possibility of having kids another way. Or a family in another way, or embodying the energy of a mother in another way (Oprah herself said this was her path - to mother so many people around the world). It can be helpful to ask yourself, is there another way I am open to doing this?

You don't need to prove anything to anyone. It's always ok to explore alternative paths if traditional ones don't align with your desires or if the way you thought things would play out simply aren't.

The key call out is just keep coming back to what YOU want.

Because then you can focus your time on the things you value and block out the noise…

The source of your overwhelm might be that you're focusing your time in areas that aren't actually of interest to you and you're feeling pressured about achieving things that you don't really care about.

So when you start to focus on what you value - then the next step is making sure you are putting effort into it. And remember that there are no expectations on timelines here, but just knowing that you are putting the time in is the most important thing.

Notice your accomplishments - comparing yourself can occur because you're starting to feel like you haven't got anywhere - you're noticing lack instead of what you have done, and even the steps you've taken to get to where you want to be (even if you're not there yet).

Acknowledge any triggers like social media - taking time off isn't a bad thing. But remember, someone's life on social media is curated. So even if you notice they have something you want. It doesn't mean that they have everything they want - or that everything is perfect.

Know that achieving milestones doesn't solve everything. Being single is just a different life to being in a relationship. Each has its ups and downs. Again, your journey is unique to you and if you remind yourself about experiencing it, and growing - this is going to make your life feel so very full.

p.s. Are you too exhausted to pursue the things that bring you joy? Get your FREE GUIDE - 5 instant stress relievers to stop feeling so exhausted. Start shifting that dial to feeling more joy and freedom now. Get your free guide here.


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