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Compare Causes Despair: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others


Comparing yourself to others is something we all do in some way or another. I’ve learned when I compare myself to others, I’m left feeling less than. Comparing ourselves with others who look the way we think we want to look, or act the way we think we want to act, can lead to self-criticism and shame. Here are 5 ways to uproot the habit and replace it with valuable self-care.


Reflect on the messages you received growing up. I can remember my mom commenting on other women’s bodies. She would say things such as “That woman has beautiful legs” or “Am I as fat as that lady?” I learned from those remarks what my mom (and apparently the rest of the world) thought was beautiful and what I should strive to look like. As an adult, we can remind ourselves that our moms, and others we looked up to, may have struggled with their own body image issues and that we can accept ourselves the way we are.


Find ways of moving your body that feel good. As a child, participating in sports gave me a certain level of confidence in my body. Today I try to incorporate some sort of physical exercise daily. Find something that brings you joy: get outside, take a class, or find a hobby that lets you move your body.


Let go of waiting for your body to achieve perfection. In college, in the midst of coping with family trauma, I gained weight and began struggling with body image and self-esteem. This started a decade of disordered eating, which has taken years to unwind. Wanting my body to look a certain way, I felt once I achieved that, I would be complete. Tell yourself that your body is perfect the way it is. Because that’s the truth. There is no amount of sit-ups or diets that will get you to that perfection you have imagined.


Reframe your thinking. Most of us don’t walk around looking like a photoshopped image in a magazine. When you start having negative thoughts about your body, I challenge you to replace your critical thoughts with positive affirmations. Instead of thinking “My stomach is flabby,” think, “I’m healthy and strong.”


Celebrate your individuality and how it makes you special. We can work on changing what we have been taught is beautiful and enjoy the uniqueness and beauty in each of us. Nowadays I look around and try to see the beauty in everyone, tall and short, soft and firm, thin and curvy. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone looked the same. I invite anyone out there who has experienced the idea of “compare and despair” to let go of the self-criticism and begin embracing your beautiful self!

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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