What Kind Of Person Am I Compared To Others?
By Julia Thomas
Updated January 30, 2019
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
What kind of person am I compared to the people I know? At some time during their development as a healthy person, nearly everyone goes through a time when they ask the question. There's nothing wrong with wanting to find your place among others, it's a part of understanding who we are and where we fit in. It's normal to want to be like other people, but that's not always the way you should be. Being you is important, and you should never be willing to sacrifice who you are just so you can fit in. However, if you remain stuck, not being able to either answer or let go of the question, you'll likely experience emotional pain. Here are a few things to remember as you think about who you are in the grand scheme of things.
You Are Uniquely You
The word "unique" is overused these days. Everyone wants to feel special, and parents want their children to feel appreciated for who they are. Yet, one thing is certain about that word: it describes each person on earth. There's no one else who has your combination of physical and emotional characteristics and life experiences. No matter how hard you try to compare yourself to others, it's impossible to come to a conclusion that describes the differences exactly. What's even more important is that, not only are you unique but you should be unique. You should be yourself and express yourself the way only you can. That means you shouldn't have to fit in with everyone else or try to be just like everyone else. It's definitely not going to make you happy and it's not going to contribute to your life either.
Comparisons to Others Usually Aren't Helpful
Comparisons only make you feel good if you think you are the best. Then, what often happens is the person who feels stronger, smarter, or more beautiful has less compassion for those they see as "lesser than." That means you could end up more self-absorbed and less caring about others around you, which actually isn't going to end well for you or the other people in your life either. On the other hand, if you see others as being better than you, you'll likely feel worse about yourself. If you let other people make you feel bad about yourself it can actually hurt your chances of doing better in your life. Sure, there are ways that you could become a better person, but if you feel like you're 'less' than someone else you may not feel inspired to actually make changes or try to do what you can. On the other hand, you may give yourself the excuse that you aren't as good of a person, so you don't have to try your best. If that happens you're also not pushing yourself or expecting anything of yourself. And, the bottom line is that the only accurate comparison you can make is between the you of the past and the you of this present moment.
When It's Helpful to Ask: What Kind of Person Am I?
In most cases it's not a good idea to ask yourself this question at all. Still, there are three main instances when it is helpful to ask that question. First, you can work on becoming a better person if you want to become someone you see as a hero or role model. Second, you can gain valuable information about your mental health if you notice that you think or behave differently than others. Finally, you can build your self-esteem to a healthy level if you see that you are similar to people you admire.
By looking at each of these things you'll be able to find out more about yourself and about other people and you can find out if you should be doing something to change. If you are working on becoming a better person it's a good idea to seek out a hero or a mentor. Once you have someone that you look up to you can start working to become a better person yourself. Things you can change to be more 'like everyone else' are your health, your compassion, your empathy and habits. These are things that can help you become a better person but aren't going to change who you should be.
Just like everything else about you, the way you think about things is going to be different from others. You have had different experiences and you have different thoughts than other people and that's perfectly normal, but there are some things that you may notice that are signs of a potential problem. If you notice that you are depressed more frequently or that your moods tend to change frequently you may want to talk with a professional to find out more.
If you have low self-esteem then looking at the things you have done that are good or even looking at the things about you that are important you may be able to help improve your self-esteem. This is one of the best reasons to compare yourself to others, to understand how you're actually meeting a lot of the things that you think are so great about other people.
What to Do When the Comparisons Overwhelm You
If your comparisons make you feel sad, lonely, or inadequate, you may need to sort out the validity of the conclusions you've drawn. Are you being too hard on yourself? Do you have unrealistic expectations about yourself? If you are doing either of these things you may want to talk with someone to find out what you could be doing. And, if you know there are things about yourself you'd like to change, you may need help transforming yourself into the strong, healthy person you want to be. In either case, you can talk to a licensed counselor for expert help in dealing with your challenges and accepting the parts of yourself that make you who you are. Make sure you also talk with people who know you best, like your friends and family. These are the types of people who are going to know the most about you and they're definitely the people who can help you to see what you're doing right and why you're the type of person that they want to be around.
Think about it, if you were the terrible person that you may be telling yourself you are, would your friends and family want to spend time with you the way they do? Obviously, they see some great things about you and if they can help you understand more about those things you may be able to see them as well. So, make sure you talk to those who know you best about your best traits. You may be surprised just how much they look up to you and it could help to change your own impressions.