The tendency to compare ourselves to other people is called social comparison, and it is a natural way for us to evaluate how we're doing but let's dig into that and see what is behind that will.
Why is comparing yourself to others a failed approach?
Quite frankly we look at others, their achievements or failures and compare ourselves with them. Depending on our personality, we may feel it's not fair what they got or not fair that we haven't got it yet. It happens that we would experience an opposite effect and the comparison would highlight our beneficial sides. Although, you may notice that it rarely brings any satisfaction but actually raises self doubts and issues in self belief.
What don’t we see behind the idea of someone's success?
First of all, we all are extremely different and by that I don't just mean our age, gender or skills. I also consider personality, background which includes people and area where each of us grew up, difficulties overcome, interests picked up and even what inspires you as a person. Every single detail makes us unique in our own way. it's impossible to be fully identical to anyone and that’s a good thing. During our life we obtain qualities and characteristics from every minute of our life which make us a complete package with an individual way of seeing and doing things.
Secondly, we shouldn't look at an achievement, an event or a result as its own product. It's always a package of efforts, time, beliefs and most importantly the whole life experience before a person starts their road towards a specific moment. It is a long list of things which brought a person to a result and sometimes a bit of luck, but surely not all of it.
Last, but not the least, we should always try to understand what is behind our wish to compare ourselves to anyone. Do we do it because we are not satisfied with our life? Are we feeling we deserve more? Or maybe it has nothing to do with a specific thing but triggers some memories or even previous failure where we didn’t get closure.
How to turn a habit into a tool?
If comparing yourself to others becomes a habit which is difficult to fight against, then maybe you can make a useful tool out of it. I would always recommend looking at it from different perspectives and use it as a hint. Try to imagine yourself in that reality instead of a person you're comparing yourself with. Then start observing and reflecting on your feelings and thoughts in your mind.
It could make you feel like it doesn't suit you, because it might be not something you really want for yourself but something that you think society expects or will value of you.
Maybe it would help you to realise that you want it for yourself too and you can start building a plan towards that goal, but it would be a completely different road than the other person took, where some parts might be much easier while others would require more effort.
Whatever it brings within you will be useful and important and if you pay enough attention to what you really want and take it step by step towards a goal, you may notice the need to compare yourself to others would disappear because at some point your life will fulfil you.
However, if you feel that only by comparing yourself to anyone you can notice progress or would understand and acknowledge your achievements - do it by using an image of who you were yesterday, a week or a year ago. This would be a much healthier and helpful way to highlight any changes within you and your life.