In essence, this is the same phenomenon described by Maxwell Maltz in his classic book, Psycho-Cybernetics, as a "feeling of inferiority." Both are based on judging and measuring ourselves, not against our own standards, but against what we see in other individuals.
Hearing this same message in slightly different forms caused me to think about how deeply ingrained this "comparison" habit is within most of us...and how destructive it can be to our sense of self-worth.
Think about it. Anywhere you look, you can find someone who...performs a specific skill better...is more attractive physically...wears nicer clothes...has a bigger house...speaks more eloquently...has better-behaved children...the list is endless! If you're constantly comparing yourself, you'll come up short every time.
Interestingly, Debbie and Dr. Maltz offer the same solutions:
1. Establish your own standards for those things that matter to you, and measure your actions and progress against them. Commit today to compare yourself only to your own norms, not to anyone else's.
2. Develop a new attitude when you observe a strength in someone else. Instead of criticizing yourself for falling short, use their positive qualities as inspiration. You can admire others for their strengths and learn from them.
3. When you find yourself making a comparison, break this destructive habit by interrupting your thought pattern. Debbie uses a refrain from a Britney Spears song, "Oops, I did it again!" Find a phrase that works for you and insert it in your mind each time you start feeling inferior to someone else. At the same time, identify any qualities or actions you want to emulate.
When you follow these steps, you'll develop a more accepting, loving attitude towards yourself. Any feelings of inferiority you might have had will be replaced by a genuine appreciation for the exceptional person you are.