Sometimes we feel like winners and sometimes we feel like losers. Sometimes we compare our progress, personally and professionally, to others, and feel awful. We start beating ourselves up, judging our weaknesses, and start feeling bad about ourselves. Comparing ourselves against our friends and rivals can affect our self-concept and self-esteem.

Social Comparison

This process of social comparison, evaluating ourselves in terms of how we compare with others, personally and professionally, can lead to a negative appraisal of yourself. Are you attractive or ugly? Are you a success or a failure? Are you smart or are you stupid? It probably depends on who you measure yourself against. We often make the mistake of comparing ourselves to others.

You might feel ordinary, average, or inferior, in terms of talent, skill, or attractiveness, if you compare yourself to an inappropriate reference group. For instance, studies show, men who compare themselves to media-idealized male physiques, evaluate their body negatively. Young women face the same pressure and stress, when comparing themselves to fashion and media models.

Besides that, researchers have found that people who spent significant time viewing photos of Facebook friends later reported reduced self-esteem.

How to Overcome Social Comparison

The good news is, as we grow older, we tend to develop a clearer and steadfast sense of who we are, and we aren’t quite as concerned about other people’s opinions of us.

I still get requests from clients for my seminar on responding nondefensively to criticism, packed with strategies for preserving self-confidence and accepting professional feedback gracefully.

Yes, social comparison can have a negative impact on our self-esteem; if we let it. It is naturally for us to compare ourselves to others. Try to resist the tendency. If you can’t stop yourself, at least take some control of whom you compare yourself to and seek out people whom you compare favorably, then your self-concept may be more realistic and your self-esteem more positive.

If your organization would like to maximize cognitive, learning, and thinking styles of your staff, contact me at or book an appointment online and I will provide a seminar that will make it happen.