Comparison is a bitch.
Had to start this off by calling it like it is. Think about the most recent time you were scrolling social media, thinking about people you know, or observing others in person and comparing yourself to them. Where did that lead you mentally and/or physically? We are always looking at what others are doing, what they’re wearing, what they look like, how much money they have, and how much “better” their lives are than our own.
Why do we do this? Human beings are hard-wired to desire and thrive off of connection and fitting in. We want to feel seen, valued, loved, and accepted. We are taught from an early age that we need to reach for the standard or a certain expectation. It is engrained in us to reach for the stars and constantly be looking at our own potential and working towards success, in whatever area of life that is relevant at the time. This creates a culture that fosters growth, however there are plenty of down sides to this too.
When we have a culture that rewards us for being the brightest student, hardest worker, top of the class, best looking, most charming, most likely to succeed, the person with the best smile, or any other superlative we had to vote for in high school, we tend to constantly compare our own journey to that of the people around us to see if we’re measuring up. Add in an imaginary (but very real to us) ticking time clock on reaching life’s milestones, a little splash of social media and glorified societal standards of beauty and lifestyle, and a dash of our own anxieties and insecurities about where we stand, we have a perfect cocktail that reinforces comparison (ya know, the kind of cocktail that gives you an ultra hangover).
What Can I Do About It?
Here are six of my favorite tips to help you decrease comparison and increase a whole lot of reworking the system. I got you, babe!
Give yourself permission to make your own rules.
Permission is key. To put it simply, allow yourself to make a change. More often than not, we wait for others to give us the green light towards what we already know in our gut is the right thing to do. You are allowed to be in the driver’s seat!
Set new expectations and have a healthy relationship with them.
We tend to look at others and society to tell us what’s cool, what’s sexy, what to aim for, and what ‘making it’ really means. Taking power back into your own hands and allowing yourself to make flexible expectations and goals that are realistic and individual to your own journey is sooo freeing! Give yourself patience and grace because you are already on the path towards what you want.
Develop healthy boundaries with media.
We have such quick access through media to viewing the lives of those around us and celebrities, influencers, athletes, models, and everyone in between. We see photos of dream vacations, posts of people celebrating weddings and new babies, videos of fitness gurus telling us what they eat in a day to lose weight, and loads more. I doubt really any of you are unsure of the dangers of social media and how viewing everyone at their best can truly make or break how we feel on any given day about where we are in our own lives. Take a break from social media and see how it impacts things for you. Life without scrolling even for a day can do wonders for your confidence and ability to be present in your own journey. REMEMBER: everyone (even celebrities) are human beings with human emotions, hardships, doubts, and bad days. You are never alone in that.
Learn to compete with yourself.
When was the last time you reflected on how far you’ve come? Do you look at your own life and think about how you alone have gotten this far and are continuing to show up for yourself? I guarantee you there is much to be said of things you’ve overcome on your own and accomplishments you’ve had along the way that you didn’t take the time to soak in. It’s time to go there and recognize that! Help previous parts of you come to the surface to help you measure where you’re at and what you want more of and less of going forward. YOU can be the standard!
Celebrate yourself, flaws and all.
Echoing my previous tip, I really want you to take some time to practice gratitude for things about you that you may overlook at times but do admire. Take a week to intentionally let self love in and love yourself hard. There is so much about you that deserves to be celebrated, I promise you.
Recognize that there is room for everyone to win.
While it may look like others are reaching goals faster or have a better life than you do based on what you perceive through comparison, I want you to know that there is room for everyone to do well. It does not have to be one or the other. We all deserve to be happy and successful just as much as the person next to us, at whatever speed makes sense for us to get there. There is time for you to get to where you want to be if you allow yourself to be present, flexible, and focused on living for you rather than living like someone else or for someone else. After all, you are cool as hell and have so much impact on this world already, I swear!
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