Do you find yourself often looking around and comparing who you are, what you have, where you’re at with others? You’re not alone.
I was recently asked on Instagram this question, how do I stop comparing myself to others? Comparison is something I’ve struggled with in the past, and still occasionally rears it’s head. I also know it’s something that many people are challenged by, particularly in the days of constant social media scrolling and seeing the amazing things other people are having, creating and being in their lives.
So, how do you actually stop comparing yourself? The thing is, it’s human nature, we’re never going to completely stop it’s just that sometimes we’ll be doing it much less, other times we’re going to look around and be inspired by what others are doing and at other times it’s going to trigger us and send us into a spiral of ‘not enough’. Comparison is never going to be something that builds you up and fuels you in a positive way, it’s said to be the thief of joy, so it’s an important habit to become really aware of and to change.
I’ve come up with six steps that I practice myself when I notice comparison arising. They are simple but can be quite challenging – all habit changes are, so don’t beat yourself up if you forget or have to practice over and over again. That’s all part of the journey of growth.
1. Ask yourself what is this comparison actually about? What is it showing you?
Is it showing you that you feel a certain way about yourself, that your frustrated that something you want isn’t working out, that you believe something about yourself that is holding you back?
For example I was recently being triggered by an acquantaince on social media because I kept looking at her and feeling that she was having the level of success in her business that I wanted. I was wondering, am I ever going to get there? So it was showing me that I had work to do on my feelings of success and believing in my ability to create certain results in my business.
2. Remove the trigger
If you can, while you get to work, remove the trigger or yourself from places where you feel the comparison crop up. It’s a habit that we take the comparison to mean something about us and spiral into negative feelings, if possible remove this from happening while you work on moving into a more positive space. For example, unfollow accounts on social media, remove yourself from groups, don’t go to places that spark that feeling of not measuring up – I know it’s not always possible but where you can give it a go.
3. Start caring for you
I’ve noticed in myself that I start feeling the comparison monster rise up when I’m not in a great headspace. I might be feeling fearful, overwhelmed, tired, panicked or some other emotion and the comparison feeds into this. Take some time to look after you and shift yourself into a more positive mindset, whatever that looks like for you. Exercise is a great way to be able to quickly do this, even 10 minutes of movement in the loungeroom can shift your energy.
4. Get to work on you
Whatever you found when you looked at the questions from step 1, it’s time to get working on these. If your comparing because that person is achieving a goal you want, living life in a way you want to, exuding confidence, radiating health. Whatever it is. Get to work on creating that for yourself . What practices do you have that cultivate self-acceptance, how can you believe that you are enough, how can you feel more confident, healthy, vibrant, successful…. Get to work on that. That is what the comparison is there to show you, that there’s work to do, so get on and do it.
5. Practice compassion and kindness to yourself
Too often we beat ourselves up even more about the actual comparing. We say things to ourselves like, “Why can’t you stop that” alongside how we don’t measure up. Practice swapping in some kind and loving self-talk. You wouldn’t beat up on your friend if she told you she was struggling with this so why do it to yourself? Develop some kind habits and self-talk to support and comfort you as you become more aware, learn something new and grow into the new version of you.
6. Replace comparison with gratitude
When you find yourself comparing to others and feeling all the ‘lack of’ in your life, try replacing it with gratitude. No matter who you are or what’s on that day, there is always something to be grateful for. Gratitude changes our thinking immediately from lack and envy to abundance . Whether it’s as simple as the cool breeze, a comfy bed to sleep in, fresh air in your lungs, food in your belly, that you have a car to drive you to work, you have a job that provides for you and your family, there’s always so much . Can you shift into this place by naming 5-10 things you are grateful for in that moment?
Is this helpful? Do you find yourself getting caught up in comparison? Which step do you find yourself getting stuck at?