How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Your Friends
I was heading from my hotel room to the pool in a skimpy towel that barely covered my even skimpier bikini, feeling pretty good about myself, when Angelina Jolie stepped into the elevator. (I swear! It was really her!) Instantly, my self-confidence plummeted.
Of course, I don't need to be side-by-side with a movie star to feel lousy. I've gotten bummed measuring myself against more flexible classmates in yoga or while reading about everyone's fabulous life on Facebook.
Clearly, the drive to compare is human, and, yes, it can spur us to push ourselves harder. But experts say it can also lead to bad decision making, insecurity and even depression. In one study, when job applicants sat in the same room as a fake candidate dressed in a suit, carrying a briefcase (and a philosophy book!), they felt less sure about themselves.
Enough already. Cut yourself some slack, and curb the urge to measure up with these tips, so you can be happy with your own self. —Araina Bond
Your best friend's losing weight, and you're not. You kind of hate her for it.
Let the competitive feelings kick you into action. Find out: Has she ramped up her interval training and cut out second rounds at happy hour? Steal her secrets for your plan. Research shows weight loss can be contagious, so her success may help you succeed. You'll also feel better about what you've achieved if you remind yourself of your initial goal (probably "lose some weight to feel healthier and look great," not "lose faster than Zoe"). Now go celebrate those 3 pounds down! Woot!
You excitedly tell your girlfriend you got a raise. She oh-so-casually lets slip that she earns double what you do. Big-time buzzkill.
Forget the number. Research shows that having loads of money won't necessarily make you happier. Instead, think about all the ways your raise will change your life: You'll be able to erase your credit card debt! Take an impromptu vacation! Try that hot new restaurant with the $30 entrees!
In other words, if your friend hadn't told you her salary, you'd be riding high. Need more evidence of how well you're doing? We suggest visiting GlobalRichList.com. We promise you'll be shocked by how your paycheck stacks up to incomes around the world. The truth is, someone out there will always be wealthier, more successful or smarter than you are—sorry!—so focus on what's good in your life, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Your manager singles out a colleague for a stellar job, even though you've been busting your tail, too. What—are you invisible?
Measure yourself now against you in the past, not your coworker. To make it easy, jot down three professional victories and stash the list in a drawer where you'll see it every time you grab a paper clip. "Recalling past successes maintains self-confidence," says Robert Liden, Ph.D., management professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Then hold back the death stares, warmly congratulate your officemate, and keep doing what you excel at. You'll earn work allies and get noticed.