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February 4, 2010

5 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

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Photo Credit: Andrew McLeod

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Tame the green-eyed monster with these tips from Marie Claire's Living Flirtatiously blogger Maura Kelly.

1. Remember that you don't have the same DNA that someone else has. Some people are just naturally born with fantastic looks, enormous brains, incredibly physical acumen. Some people are natural Marilyn Monroes, like my friend Duval. Some people are naturally Steve Jobs or Conan O'Brien — they naturally operate on a higher intellectual level. And then there are...the rest of us. Who are sexy, attractive, and interesting in our own ways.

2. Remember that you may not have had the kinds of advantages others have had. Even if you've had *some* advantages, that doesn't mean you've had *all* the advantages that your friends, peers, and colleagues have had. For example, a while back, a friend of mine was beating himself up for not being more successful. "I've had every advantage in the world!" he was saying. But I pointed out to him that, okay, sure, he has a degree from an incredibly elite college — the kind that cannot be beat. At the same time, his parents don't have fancy educations themselves; they got divorced when he was very young so there was a lot of childhood turmoil; and they were relatively poor. Plus, his father is basically morally reprehensible, if you ask me. What's more, my friend struggles with emotional problems — and I suspect *his* DNA comes with a lot more biochemical imbalances than the average person's.

3. Remember that you haven't had the same lucky breaks or random opportunities as other people. Sometimes all it takes is the right first job — or right second job — to catapult a person into a completely different stratosphere.

4. Remember that other people may not have had the same unlucky breaks as you've had. You may have had some enormous setbacks — related to illness or injury, for instance, or perhaps to the death of someone close to you — that other people have not had to endure.

5. Think about what you can do to change yourself — but don't beat yourself for not being a different person. I think it can be healthy to make comparisons at times. And I think if you realize your friends are doing things you're not doing — dating more actively, improving themselves through classes or a new exercise regime, or whatever — it might help incite you to take some positive action. What you DON'T want to be doing, however, is looking at everyone around you and saying to yourself, "Man, they're all so awesome — and I'm so sucky." Because I just have a feeling that isn't true.


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