Curious & Curiouser Podcast, Episode 21: Envy, Social Media, & Why We Feel Compelled to Compare Ourselves to Others

Why do we feel compelled to compare ourselves to others and what are the negative consequences of doing so?

This is the question Tracey and I are attempting to answer in this week’s episode of the Curious & Curiouser Podcast. We also offer a quick vocabulary lesson to help distinguish between envy and jealousy, and talk about which of these feelings is most at play when we find ourselves drawing comparisons between our lives and the lives of those around us.

Tracey and I describe how comparison-making has gone awry in our own lives, and explore the ways in which putting someone up on a pedestal can be a barrier to building a relationship with them.

We also offer some tips on disrupting this pattern of comparing and discuss the role social media plays in potentially exacerbating this urge to compare.

This is a topic that touches on every other question so far addressed on the show, and is important for the far-reaching implications this comparison game has on almost every aspect of our lives.

Enjoy this conservation! Share it with your friends! And then leave the show a 5-star rating or review in iTunes if you feel so inclined! Tracey and I would be super appreciative if you did!

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Highlights from this episode include:

  • A quick vocabulary lesson on the difference between envy and jealousy, and which of these is at play when we are comparing ourselves to others
  • The role of social media in the urge to draw comparisons and the pain this can cause
  • How Tracey and I use social media ourselves; my instagram
  • Are we wired to draw comparisons?
  • What’s the antidote to playing the comparison game?
  • Article on Cayly’s website:  This Isn’t A Test: The Comparison Trap and Why You Should Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Paper
  • Article on Tracey’s website about sibling comparing and the idea of being inspired by others
  • How I put my sister up on a pedestal when we were younger and how that affected our relationship
  • How comparisons become barriers to intimacy
  • Does being a parenting expert make Tracey a perfect parent? Does it mean her kids are perfect?
  • How I compared myself to my partner when we started dating and how that impacted our relationship
  • The shame that sometimes accompanies comparisons related to money and income
  • Episode 4 on Social Decluttering
  • Comparing ourselves to other people on Instagram and feeling envy even if we don’t actually want what others have
  • Why Tracey doesn’t love camping
  • What are the negative consequences of comparing ourselves to others?
  • Internal locus of control vs. external locus of control as they relate to confidence
  • Observing instead of comparing to learn something and gather information
  • What dog puke on a hiking trail taught Tracey about the comparison game and what a waste of energy it is
  • The question that helps me pull myself out of a moment of comparing myself to someone else
  • Is it normal to compare ourselves to others?
  • The role of a scarcity mindset in the urge to draw comparisons
  • Episode 12 about the stories we tell ourselves
  • Are you allowed to unfollow people on social media? Or can the urge to unfollow someone teach you something about yourself?
  • And more!

This week’s animal spotlight from the Pixie Project:

LUNA, the adorable 7 year old Maltese/Shih Tzu mix is back, hoping once again to find a new home. You might remember Luna from an earlier episode of the show and recall that she is blind, but also completely amazing. Case in point? Her foster mom recently discovered that she loves to swim. What? I know. Pretty rad. So go check out Luna’s profile here, and then consider taking her home. Please?

In other news, you’ll hear Tracey and me announce at the beginning of the show this week a contest for anyone who feels compelled to write us a little intro music. We’ll go into this is more detail on an upcoming episode and explain what’s at stake for the winner, but in the meantime, please feel free to contact us with any questions or to send any musical snippets to We can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

As always, reviews are appreciated! So please head over to iTunes and leave us a 5-star rating and/or review. Please note that you have to search for the show in iTunes in order to leave a review — even if you’re already subscribed. Thanks so much for the support and for taking this annoying extra step to rate us. We really appreciate it!