Why comparing yourself to your friends is a bad idea

By Faeza
26 May 2017

TEBOGO is a 34-year-old single mother of two, who works hard to take care of her family. Her friend, Mmathabo, is a mother of one who is married and has recently bought a house in the suburbs. Regardless of having a decent house, healthy kids and a job, Tebogo feels less accomplished. She often compares herself to Mmathabo, and fails to notice her own successes. Because of this, Tebogo is constantly in competition with her friend. As is the case in such friendships, this has caused a rift between the two friends, but clinical psychologist Moloko Modupe says it's not impossible to rectify this.


Though it’s natural to compare yourself to others every now and then, becoming obsessed with your shortfalls and failing to take note of your success is not healthy. Moloko says regularly comparing yourself to other people often leads to low self-esteem. She advises

that, instead of comparing yourself to others, be alert to how you see yourself. “Focusing on someone else’s achievements and life can shift your focus from your own life. Rather

set goals for yourself in order to boost your confidence and improve yourself,” she says.


“The reason why people tend to compare themselves to their friends is because many don’t celebrate their own successes and tend to belittle their own progress,” Moloko says, adding that noticing your successes allows you to see how far you have come. “It’s important to evaluate your past successes and find motivation in them to chase more dreams,” she explains. “This way, you make an effort to be the greatest possible version of yourself.”


Moloko advises that you should ignore your friend’s goals for her life and set goals for yourself. By competing against yourself, you will improve your life and learn to be

happy with your achievements. “Reaching goals you had set for yourself is a proper way to increase your self-esteem and evaluate yourself using your own standards, not those of your friends,” she says.


“It’s unhealthy to view yourself in comparison with others and allow them to control how you feel about your life and achievements,” she says. Moloko adds that when you find

yourself doing this, take a step back and evaluate how you see yourself. Viewing yourself in a positive light can help you live a fulfilling life.


Moloko says instead of envying your friend and competing with her, use her success as motivation. “If you have a well-connected friend, instead of wasting your time competing with her, ask her to help you with her contacts so that you can become successful in your own life. That way, you don’t feel inferior and jealous.”


Moloko says keeping a journal where you write all your successes will motivate you and ensure that you remain grateful for who you are and what you have achieved in life. M