Comparing yourself to others making you anxious


#1

So I think I’ve realized where most of my ANTs are coming from. I am 17 and am at a place in my life where you struggle with fitting in…etc
I do find myself as an attractive girl and I do have a level of confidence but I feel that I always compare myself to others and want to be perfect. I was wondering if you guys know if this is an ANT. I have realized myself saying these things to myself. I made friends with a girl who happens to be my closest friend now, and I sometimes compared myself to her and was a little jealous if she had better things than me. I would best myself up over it. I know that feeling or thinking this way is wrong but those were the ANTs going on in my head. Now I sometimes feel anxious around her even tho I consider her to be my closest friend and usually you should feel confortabke around your close friends. I was wondering if this was normal because even the thought of this makes me anxious (which is probably another ANT) I think that’s the root cause of my SA, because my comparing myself to others and getting sad over trying to be like them, has maybe lowered my self esteem around people I feel intimidated with.


#2

Hello Soccer2000,

In short, YES, comparing yourself to others is a BIG ANT. Throughout much of the series this is discussed. I was looking for the specific session, but, essentially, this comes up a lot - as a reminder to you that there is never any solution in comparing ourselves to others. It’s not helpful or healthy. YES, you can consider all of the thought and self-talk that goes along with comparing yourself to others a big ANT to stay away from, to deal with more rationally.

Yes, it’s natural in this world that we compare ourselves to others, and more natural at certain points in our lives, like in high school, for example. But, believe me, the tendency doesn’t stop there. One could always be comparing oneself to someone else, and with social anxiety, the comparison will only go to a negative irrational place where you will never measure up to whomever or whatever you’re choosing to compare yourself to. You’ll look for and find irrational false evidence to support your irrational claim that you are not worthy, thus inferior, or whatever your brain is making you think.

Again, YES - comparing ourselves to others is NOT healthy or helpful, and it’s an ANT. I would say that calling this a root cause of anxiety is perhaps simplifying it, at least when I consider myself and the group members I see here. It’s one of the big ANTs habits for sure. It’s one of the things people tend to do a lot, way too much. It’s a habit we can sort of see more clearly. Still it’s an ANT. And with all ANTs we want to deal with them the same way that you’re learning now. It’s a symptom of anxiety, a way our brains have come to work because of anxiety, because of perhaps self-rejection and not self-acceptance. It’s another way of putting ourselves down. But you’ll find ANTs have many ways of doing that. It’s just one of the thinking habits to change - yes, it’s a big one to be aware of so that you can actively participate in stopping and changing the habit in a good way. But it’s just one. Being aware that anytime there is an ANT, no matter how it looks or sounds, is a good thing. This allows you to keep applying the rational therapy to all of the problem globally and not slice and divide this one issue into thousands of small things to deal with.

Your awareness of this is a good sign, and applying the therapy to it is even better!


#3

Thank you for responding. I will work on trying not to divide an issue into much smaller issues because that will make things worse. I also need to work on trying not to get worked up over why I feel how I do at times around certain people. Everything all falls under the umbrella of social anxiety. I guess sometimes I beat myself up for giving myself this problem even though it’s all my subconsious thoughts. Sometimes I feel that theres a crazy or ridiculous reason why I made myself have SA. I know this is wrong. Every time I try and gain some progress I can’t help but think why I feel this way around certain people or situations. I need to work on stopping this ANT. Thank you for your support and feedback. It is much appreciated. With time and practice, I know this will all fade away and be forgotten in my mind. Good luck to all


#4

Yes, best is to just stop. Slow down, let it go. Apply the stopping techniques, apply the therapy as it says where you are. You might want to start posting in your particular session category also so that when people respond they also know where you are. Sometimes that helps because we would know where you are and how we felt at that particular time.

It’s so easy to always keep thinking on things, even while doing the therapy. The thinking is usually (always?) not so helpful - especially the rumination or wondering or looking for reasons/answers, whatever. I’d say the best is to let all that go, drop it and move on with the therapy. But partly the therapy is trying to help you get to that point where you can just let it go and drop it. It’s a skill we need to develop exactly because we have social anxiety. Social anxiety is NOT dropping it, NOT letting it go, but rather letting it fester and letting our minds think up a million reaons why or ask a million questions. Thus, if you’re asking yourself something XYZ, my first response is STOP, right there. Stop, use the therapy, tell your brain rationally what you want to use it for, and continue with the session you’re on, continue with your day, that moment, find a distraction, etc. It is easier said than done, especially at first. But that’s why you’re here doing this.

Try to be kind and patient with yourself.


#5

Thank you for all of your help. I will take everything you said into consideration. I will be starting session 5 in a few days. I will write any future topics or responses in that category when I am up to that session. I truly appreciate your advice!! :-):slightly_smiling_face: