This post is all about how to stop comparing your looks to others.
According to Psychology Today, psychologists divide social comparison into two main categories: downward comparison and upward comparison.
Downward comparison is when you compare yourself to someone that you perceive to be worse off than you or “below” you. Upward comparison involves comparing yourself to someone that you believe is better off than you.
When people participate in downward comparison, they may get a boost of self-esteem if they perceive themselves to be doing better than someone else. While the boost of self-esteem may feel good momentarily, this is a rocky place to be considering that boost was based on the misfortune of someone else.
Upward comparison has its nuances, too. On one hand, it can be beneficial if you are comparing yourself to someone you respect and want to be like. When you notice gaps between you and them, you know what to work on, and it can be motivating.
On the other hand, upward comparison can be detrimental if you perceive someone to be better off than you (e.g. they “have whiter teeth”, they “are in better shape”, they “have a prettier face”, etc.) and in result, you feel poorly about yourself.
No matter how you tend to compare yourself, we ALL do it. It’s in our human nature. But if you are comparing yourself frequently, and feeling less-than others frequently, it’s time to implement some changes.
You are unique and wonderful just as you are, and if this constant comparison game is affecting your mental health, then read this post for the best ways on how to stop comparing your looks to others.
How To Stop Comparing Your Looks To Others
1. Turn your comparison into admiration
The next time you start falling into a comparison trap and comparing your looks to someone else, try admiring them instead.
If someone has really pretty eyes, for example, instead of thinking, “their eyes are so much prettier than mine”, you can alter your thought to, “they have beautiful eyes!”.
Try to admire something that someone else has without putting yourself down in the process.
The next time you catch yourself comparing your looks, take yourself out of the equation and turn your comparison into admiration instead.
2. Compliment others
If you want to take it one step further, you can let the person know that you think they have pretty eyes (sticking with our example above) by complimenting them.
I’m sure you’ve noticed before that when you compliment someone, their eyes light up and a big smile crosses their face. At that moment, you probably aren’t thinking about comparing yourself.
If anything, you probably feel good because you just made someone else feel good!
3. Show up as your best self
You may be more likely to compare yourself to others if you show up to a social event, for example, without having brushed your hair or teeth, or without wearing an outfit that makes you feel confident or comfortable.
Sometimes it can feel a little tiring to spend some extra time on your physical appearance, but if doing so helps you feel good about yourself and makes you a little less likely to compare your looks to others, it’s worth it!
4. Put a picture of little-you on your bathroom mirror
This is something I heard about from Kendall Jenner when she was on Jay Shetty’s podcast, On Purpose. She said that her therapist recommended that she find a picture of herself from when she was a little girl, and tape it to her bathroom mirror.
Kendall Jenner did this to work on self-love and personal growth, and you can do the same.
Imagine if you start comparing your looks to someone else, and then you see that picture of you. You wouldn’t want little-you to think they’re anything less than the beautiful little human that they are, right?
Well, newsflash, that person is you!
Put a picture of little-you somewhere you’ll see every day to help you practice self-love.
5. Remember that who you are is more important than what you look like
There is an amazing quote by movie star Tina Fey that goes, “If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: ‘Who cares?’”
It’s interesting that so much value is placed on one’s appearance when none of us are responsible for how we look. We quite literally just showed up like this!
Who you are, on the other hand, is so much more complex, deep, and beautiful. Who you are is how you show up for others and how you love. Who you are is how you practice integrity, compassion, empathy, joy, creativity, etc.
You are so much more than meets the eye, and it’s so important that you remember that.
6. Remember that social media is a highlight reel
Most people are not displaying their insecurities on Instagram. While some celebrities and creators have been posting more authentically lately (like this no-makeup photo of Selena Gomez), posting your raw, unfiltered self can take a lot of courage, so most people don’t do it.
When you know all about your insecurities, but all you see on social media is the perfection of others, you’re setting yourself up for an unfair comparison.
Remember that social media is a highlight reel, and that you rarely, if ever, see the full picture.
7. Take a break from social media
If you’re on social media often (especially platforms like Instagram and TikTok) you are being bombarded by filtered and edited pictures. And unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to determine if someone has used a filter or an advanced editing tool.
Before you know it, you’re comparing yourself to unrealistic beauty standards.
So what can you do? Give yourself less of an opportunity to compare yourself by doing a social media detox.
The less you see other people to compare yourself to, the less you will compare yourself.
Taking a break from social media can be hard work, but if it means eliminating negative thoughts and bringing you some peace, it’ll definitely be worth it.
8. Unfollow people who make you feel less-than
If there is a creator or influencer that you follow who often has you feeling less-than, unfollow them. It’s so important that you follow people who make you feel good and who are aligned with your values. Otherwise, what’s the point of following them?
Go through the people you follow on social media and ensure that they are people who make you feel good about yourself, inspire you, interest you, or bring you joy. If the negatives of following them outweigh the benefits, it’s probably time to cut ties.
And if you don’t want to unfollow them, you can “mute” them instead. This way, you won’t see their content or deal with them noticing that you unfollowed them.
9. Prioritize internal validation over external validation
External validation is one of those things that’s here today and gone tomorrow.
When you post a great picture of you on Instagram, for example, you might get a bunch of likes and comments coming your way that make you feel great! …for a little while.
But what happens when the likes and comments begin to slow down? If you are someone who constantly needs external validation, you’ll have to post another picture soon to get that same feeling again. And again. And again.
Instead, why not spend time developing your own self-worth and self-confidence so that when you post that picture of yourself that YOU love, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to think or what they have to say.
If they have compliments, great! But if they don’t, it won’t matter, because YOU like that picture of yourself and how you feel about it has nothing to do with the opinions of others.
If you’re the kind of person who is constantly in search of validation from others, you will be chasing it your whole life. Find internal validation within yourself and you’ll no longer have to chase it — it’ll just be there.
10. Practice gratitude for who you are
There is only one of you in this entire world. How cool is that? Your hair, eyes, body, energy, etc. All of these things come together to create one beautifully, unique you.
If you’re not telling yourself these things, it’s probably time to start practicing gratitude for who you are.
Grab a gratitude journal (or any old journal!) and start jotting down what you love about yourself like your favorite personality traits, your best skills, and/or your recent accomplishments.
By writing down some of your favorite things about yourself, you will be reminded of just how much you have going for you!
11. Use affirmations
If writing in a journal isn’t really your thing, you might want to try affirmations.
Affirmations are simple statements that usually start with “I”, are about a sentence long, and are written in the first-person.
Affirmations are designed to help you think more positively whenever negative feelings and thoughts (like unhelpful comparison!) start creeping in. They can also help you to have more confidence and an improved sense of self-worth over time.
For instance, “I am enough” is a very powerful affirmation that you can use to remind yourself that you are, in fact, enough, just the way that you are in this very moment. It doesn’t matter what you look like – how you are is enough.
Here are some other great, positive affirmations that you can use when you start feeling comparison creep in:
No one on the planet is or ever will be exactly like me.
My appearance is the least interesting thing about me.
I am beautiful on the inside and on the outside.
I offer myself unconditional love.
I embrace and love my body.
Want more self-esteem affirmations? Check out this post on 132 Confidence Affirmations To Boost Your Self-Esteem.
When you find an affirmation or two that you really love, practice saying them on a consistent basis (at least once a day) and before you know it, you will start to see your mindset shift for the better.
12. Celebrate your qualities that have nothing to do with your looks
With all of that said, why don’t you start writing down on a piece of paper your own successes and all of the things that you have accomplished the last few years?
Did you run a mile? Pay off debt? Get a new job or negotiate your salary?
Writing down all of the awesome things that you have done can take your focus off of your physical qualities and remind you of just how great you are.
13. Embrace your imperfections
Embracing your imperfections is so hard because they are often the things that we are most ashamed of, thanks in large part to society.
But why do we let society dictate what is “acceptable” versus “unacceptable”? What’s “perfect” and what’s not? What does society know anyway?!
It’s an act of courage to accept yourself and embrace your imperfections, but you can certainly do it.
And when you do it, you’ll realize just how many people feel the same way as you, or find comfort in your authenticity.
14. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good in your own skin
Have you ever been around people who put you down and make you feel less-than? Or people who make comments about your weight, appearance, clothing, etc.? If these comments have negative effects on you, it might be time to start spending less time with those people.
The people you spend the most time with (like your family members or best friend) should be people who make you feel good about yourself, just as you do for them.
Not to get all woo-woo on you, but life is short, and if you’re going to spend the majority of your time on this planet with a handful of people, you should ensure that that handful of people support you, love you, and lift you up!
15. Try going to therapy
If you want a professional opinion or professional help on your tendency to compare yourself, you can try going to therapy.
As someone who has gone to therapy for the last several years, I can attest to the fact that therapists typically have a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to helping you deal with the things that bother you the most.
Curious about trying therapy? Here is a great post on the benefits of therapy and how to find a therapist.
16. Use self-love journal prompts
A great way to practice self-love is by using journal prompts. Here are a few self-love journal prompts to get you started:
What is your favorite physical characteristic about your body/the way that you look?
What is something your body is able to do that you are proud of?
What is something unique about you and your body?
Name 3 things about your body that you are grateful for.
Answering journal prompts like these is one of the best things you can do to practice self-love.
17. Focus on you and your own goals/progress
Comparing your looks to someone else’s can be a slippery slope. If you’re not careful, what started out as a small comparison about your hair, for example, can turn into you comparing your relationship, apartment, car, job title, etc.
Instead of comparing, try to shift your focus to you and your own goals. Where have you made progress recently? What’s a recent accomplishment of yours?
The important thing is to remember that when you compare yourself to someone else, you’re likely not taking into account all of the differences that the two of you actually have.
Cut yourself some slack and remember how far you’ve come in your own life.
18. Remember that comparison is the thief of joy
This is a classic quote by Theodore Roosevelt. If you can remember that “comparison is the thief of joy” in times that you find yourself comparing, it’ll help you put things in perspective.
Chances are, you’d rather feel joy than feel the pain that often comes with social comparisons. So, remembering this quote when you start to compare may just help bring you back to a more pleasant state of mind.
19. Take care of yourself
Something that can help you stop comparing your looks to others is to take care of yourself. Whether that’s getting a haircut when you’re due for one, attending your dentist appointments, or getting an adequate amount of sleep, you will combat low self-esteem the more that you take care of yourself.
The more confidence that you have in your appearance and how you take care of yourself, the less likely you’ll be to compare yourself to others.
20. Remember that everyone has their insecurities
You are not the only person on this planet who has an insecurity or two. You may see other people walking around confidently, but despite that fact, there is a good chance that person also has their own flaws that they are insecure about, too.
You are not less-than because you are self-conscious about something. We are all human beings and feeling insecure about our own unique set of flaws from time to time is part of the human experience. You are not alone!
21. Practice positive self-talk
When you recognize your mind running away with comparison, pay attention to how your thoughts unfold.
If you are talking down to yourself, or participating in negative self-talk, try to flip those thoughts to something more positive. Give kind words priority.
22. Accept yourself for who you are/what you look like
Accepting yourself and your own appearance really comes down to self-love. Do you love yourself?
If your answer to this question is “No” or you’re not really sure, maybe it’s time for you to work on loving yourself more.
According to VeryWellMind, self-love means “means taking care of your needs and recognizing that you have value.”
There are countless ways that you can start loving yourself more. Some of the best ones include setting boundaries with loved ones, trying that new hobby that you’ve been daydreaming about for years, implementing a mindfulness practice, or doing those self-love journal prompts that we talked about above!
23. Ditch perfectionism
According to Healthline.com, people with perfectionism “hold themselves to impossibly high standards. They think what they do is never good enough.”
If you are a perfectionist, you’re probably constantly comparing yourself to others and not believing that you are good enough.
Again, it’s so important for you to have compassion with yourself, and realize that perfection is not possible, for anyone.
Bottom line is: perfectionism may be holding you back from accepting yourself as you are.
24. Lean on a friend
If you have a friend that you trust and are comfortable being vulnerable with, you can open up to them about how your mind is comparing.
They’ve likely gone through something very similar, or can offer a few words of affirmation to help you calm down and get present.
Lean on good friends in times of need – they’re your friends for a reason!
25. Find inspiring quotes that remind you of your beauty
Find quotes that make you feel good about yourself, and post them wherever you’ll see them frequently (like in your car, on your nightstand, on your bathroom mirror, etc.) so that you’re always reminded.
Here are a few stop comparing yourself to others quotes to help you get started:
“Imperfection is beauty.” – Marilyn Monroe
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” – Amy Bloom
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Sharon Salzberg
I hope this post and these tips help you feel a little more confident in yourself 🙂 Do you have a favorite tip for how to stop comparing your looks to others? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was all about how to stop comparing your looks to others.