My ESFJ friend has been very depressed lately. He started seeing a counselor, which is great, but... he is still incessantly comparing himself to other people -- people who get better grades, more/better lab positions, etc. In other words, he wants to have everyone's strengths and none of their weaknesses. Icing on the cake: he faults himself for being depressed and says he "shouldn't" be this way.
I seem to spend most of my life living by my own internal definition of who I am and how I "should" be. I don't really give a shit what other people expect me to do, what other people are doing, etc. My friend however doesn't see it this way -- I think he expects his strengths/weaknesses to align perfectly with those of the other people in our program/year (we're in university). He dismisses those strengths that lie outside this norm/standard and faults himself when he doesn't meet the standard in other areas. Honestly, he does not seem to know himself. He lives by an external standard and this is what I think has caused his depression issues.
What causes this comparison of internal self to external standard? Is it common to ESFJs?
More importantly: what can I do to be more, uh, sympathetic or comforting? I am a terrible empathizer. TIA