I have a confession to make.

I grew up comparing myself to my older sister, and often thought I came up short. But now, with the benefit of some years of wisdom, I can see that my sister and I are very different people. My sister is very left-brained, that is, she analyses and is in the field of finance. Meanwhile, I am right-brained. I am all about my imagination and the more abstractly I can think, the happier I am. I barely got through algebra!

Here’s the thing. What did comparing myself to my sister EVER do for me? We are so different in appearance, attitude, temperament, and in many other ways.

As you can see, there is no upside to comparing yourself to others. It certainly doesn’t help you think more clearly, and thinking of yourself as “less than” the other person can only bring pain. For those of us with low self-esteem, comparing one’s self to others can result in feelings of not being “good enough” and not measuring up, which can exacerbate depression symptoms.

On the other hand, let’s say you compare yourself to someone in your office and find that you come out ahead; you think of yourself as more talented, more attractive, more intelligent, or more motivated than the other person. So what? Did you find lasting meaning in feeling better about yourself? Probably not.

So, why do we do it?

I’m guilty of comparing myself to others, and it’s a bad habit I want to break. So, I’ve decided to focus on the futility of comparing myself to my sister or anyone else. If you think about it, each of us is unique. We are all remarkably different from each other, and unless I’m fooling myself making comparisons doesn’t help motivate or instruct me in any meaningful way.

In the grand scheme of things it seems useless to think about it in any way that matters. I’m confident my time is better spent thinking about how I can relate to the other person, and not list our flaws and assets with the purpose of finding the answer to anything beneficial.

What do you think? Have you ever compared yourself to someone else? How did you feel?