Comparing Yourself To Others – Confidence and Self-Esteem Hypnotherapy

Confidence and Self Esteem

Comparing Yourself To Others hypnotherapy in ely


Comparing Yourself To Others On Social Media – Confidence and Self-Esteem Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Do you have a tendency to negatively compare yourself to others online?

Maybe you’re feeling a bit anxious, low or down on yourself and as you scroll through your social media feeds it just seems that everyone else is having a better time of things than you are. They are all happy, smiley and seemingly having a great time doing great things with great people. In your head you just start thinking how their lives are so much better than yours and how that means you aren’t good enough or are failing in some way.

And as you mindlessly scroll on and on, perhaps pausing every so often to look at their photos, you start dwelling, being hard on yourself and you feel that you and your life are lacking and just not as good as everyone else’s. It probably all feeds into your anxiety, social anxiety, low self-esteem and low mood. You might even carry around all of the negativity with you for the rest of the day, feeling low and down, lacking in motivation and wanting to just hide from the world (while you just keep scrolling to try and distract yourself from your thoughts and feelings but continuing to feel bad).

Whatever your relationship with social media, and however much (or maybe little) you engage with it, there is no doubt that it can exacerbate any tendencies to negatively compare yourself and your life with others. You look at what they are saying and doing and compare it to how things are for you right now and to how you feel in yourself and about yourself. It’s very easy to start feeling worse as a result and yet to, paradoxically, scroll and spend even more time looking at the posts and photos from others that appear in your feed.


Social Media Breaks 

As well as your own thoughts, feelings, beliefs and perceptions leading you to feel anxious and low as you scroll through your social media feeds whilst comparing how the lives of others seem to be to your own, there is evidence that taking a break from social media is good for your mental health.

It’s curious how hard some people find it to spend less time, or even to not check, their social media posts for a while. It’s like an itch that needs scratching and you want to just take a quick look at what is there. Even though it can add to your anxiety and low self esteem, it somehow seems like deprivation or a chore not to look at what others are posting.

There is some evidence that links social media use and an increased likelihood of depression and reduced well-being. This can become a negatively self re-enforcing cycle as whatever content you look at is used by the social media companies to drive more similar content towards you. You are fed more of the same sort of content that keeps you coming back for more, or maybe that keeps you from not going away that much.

If they think you are looking at and engaging in it, they want to send more and more of the same sort of stuff your way. What you see gets filtered, drives what comes your way in the future and can lead to a loop that strengthens any negative adverse thoughts and feelings. Any sense of low self-worth, lowness or excessive worry can be exacerbated by the information that is filtered your way.

And if you are looking at content that leads you to negatively compare yourself and your life with that of others, then you’re going to get fed more of it. And so that inner criticism, sense of not feeling good enough, sense of low self worth and perhaps a smidge of jealousy too, all get the opportunity to become more entrenched as you scroll on.

And if you have a tendency for doomscrolling, then that comes into play here too. There’s more about doomscrolling, social media and smartphone use and anxiety and depression over in this article: Doomscrolling, Anxiety & Your Mental Health

Now, the thought of stopping all social media use and doing a ‘social media’ detox, may seem like an insurmountable challenge because we are all so used to scrolling and we are all kind of addicted to our screens. Of course, if you don’t think you have a social media habit or that you are emotionally attached to your screen, then go right ahead and switch off, or even delete, those apps (or more likely for us humans, come up with reasons, excuses and justifications why that wouldn’t work for us and why you just have to check in on your social media feeds).

Of course, there are positive uses for social media and most of us would struggle to live without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and whatever else is launched before I finish writing this article. Yet so much mindless time can be wasted for no productive result. And if you are comparing yourself to others, you may almost develop a perverse tendency to seek out those photos and posts that just seem to re-enforce not feeling good enough.

Research has even looked at the impact upon your well-being and depression and anxiety from taking a social media break (compared to using social media as usual). The results showed that asking people to stop using social media for a week led to significant improvements in well-being, depression, and anxiety.  This suggests that short breaks in social media can positively impact upon your mental health.

Coming off all social media may seem like a challenge too far given how much we rely on it and have made it a part of our lives. However, if negative comparing yourself to others, anxiety and depression are an issue for you, then it certainly is worth considering how often, how much and what content you are routinely accessing. If you feel worse after going on social media then perhaps a break, or less use, may be worthwhile. And if you want to boost your well-being and lessen anxiety and depression, then taking regular time out (or at least limiting how much time you spend daily on social media), could well be worth any sense of effort or sacrifice that you are worried about.


Worrying What Other People Think

Sometimes when you are comparing yourself to others online, there can be elements of worrying what others think about you or that they will judge you negatively in some way. You may worry that what you do post (unless you are too anxious to post anything right now) may lead others to be critical or to think negatively of you in some way.

After all, if you feel not good enough and you think other people are having a happier and better time of it, then your anxious thinking patterns can imagine all sorts of things that they must be thinking about what you do or say in your posts. You may think that what you have to say will be jumped upon or that it is inadequate. You may worry about upsetting people or things being misconstrued. And you may feel that it will all just confirm your self-critical and self-negative thoughts and feelings.

When you feel low, anxious or down on yourself, everything is coloured by that dark cloud that hangs over you. And if everyone else is happy, upbeat and seemingly having a great time of things in what they post about, why would you want to do anything that could add to your thinking about how their lives are so much better than yours and how that means you aren’t good enough or are failing in some way.

If worrying what others think about you contributes to your anxiety and low self-esteem then have a read of these articles to start challenging those distorted perceptions and unwanted thinking patterns:

Anxiety and Worrying What Other People Think – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Why You Should Probably Worry Less About What Other People Think About You – The Research on Fear of Failure and Being Judged

Can Other People Tell How You Feel? Anxiety About Looking Anxious

Do Others Judge You As Harshly As You Think When You Mess Up? Anxiety & Fear of Failure


Comparing Yourself To Others

And so if you have a habit of comparing yourself to others and, as a result, feeling more anxious, low or lacking in some way then do have a watch of this short video all about this subject matter:


As I describe in the video, if you have been comparing yourself to others, then each and every person you have been comparing yourself to will also struggle with anxiety, worry, stress and other challenges. We know this because they are human too! And even where there are challenges, that doesn’t mean there can’t be good times and positives too. It’s just that people generally do only share the good stuff and leave out the less so good things, the challenges and the worry. Yet it will still be there for them at some times and in some areas. What you get to see on social media is just a small fragment of what is going on with them at that time, the small part of their lives that they choose to let you see.

So please do be sure to avoid the tendency to assume that what someone else posts represents their entire life and that a few good photos means that their life is perfect in every way. It’s easy, especially when feeling anxious or low to forget (or to remind yourself) that you are only seeing what they are choosing to share and to let you see. So be sure to remind yourself that what you see on social media is the outside of someone’s life and leaves out their more problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Avoid that tendency to compare the outside of their life with the inside of yours (where you can be acutely aware of what isn’t how you would like it to be within your own thoughts and feelings).

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action to address your anxiety, depression or low self-esteem, yet you can keep this in mind to avoid just feeling worse about what you see on social media and to mitigate and circumvent the easy tendency for negative comparisons that aren’t based upon a full sense of how things really are.


To your health and happiness, 

Dan Regan

Confidence and Self-Esteem Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket


Struggling with anxiety, stress, worry and fear and need some help? Find out how I can help with a Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session. Learn more here: Appointments

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