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Rule 15: Don't Compare Your Insides to Others' Outsides.

Often, when I'm working with people who have low self-esteem, they base their opinion of themselves on what they observe of other people:

"They seem to be able to cope better than me."

"She has it all together. Why can't I be like her?"

"He is so talented. I'm not good at anything."

"Their marriage is perfect. I bet he never cheated on her."

"Why can't I be like them?"

Rule 15: Don't Compare Your Insides to Others' Outsides Being a psychologist, I have a different perspective of other people's lives. And I don't mean just my clients. A lot of people tend to share more of their personal problems with me even in social settings. Or they clam up when they find out I'm a psychologist which tells me a lot as well! Anyway, I see more of the inside of people's lives than most people do. No one has a perfect life no matter how much it may appear that way. People struggle with mental health issues, physical problems, stress, children and family problems, marital concerns, work-related issues.

I try to remind my clients who make these comparisons that they are only seeing what other people want them to see. Even very close friends or family members may not share all of their struggles or problems. As a result, they are comparing their insides to other people's outsides.

Such a comparison is not a fair way of evaluating yourself. You know everything about yourself. You know every thought and every behavior, every attempt and every failure, every self-doubt and every hurt. You don't know all that about someone else. You only know what they choose to show you. As you develop a closer relationship you may be privy to more but you still don't know everything. Therefore, comparing yourself to what others allow you to see is not a fair comparison.

Don't treat yourself unfairly. Don't compare your insides to others' outsides.

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Dr. Monica Frank

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