“Comparison is the death of joy.” ― Mark Twain
You know comparing yourself to other people is pointless, but it’s something we all do in some degree every single day. With the plethora of social media influence, from Facebook to Pinterest to Instagram, it’s harder now more than ever to ignore what those around us (and far from us!) are doing, buying, wearing, eating, cooking, etc. Judging our looks, clothes, careers or lifestyles, as better or worse than someone else’s doesn’t help (and often harms) either party, but it’s not an easy thing to stop.
While a little self-comparison can be positive, like when your friend starts doing yoga and it inspires you to get back into your own practice, to keep a healthy mindset it’s crucial to keep it in check. Here are 6 ways to pump the breaks and not let self-comparison stop you from thriving!
Remind Yourself That it Brings You Down
Putting either yourself or someone else down puts you in a negative state of mind. When you judge yourself as worse off than others you’re damaging your sense of self, by not believing or seeing the positive of what you do, who you are. On the flip side, judging others as less than you still leaves you in that judgmental state. It doesn’t actually feel good to take pleasure in someone’s mistakes or misfortunes. You may feel good for a moment that you’re further in your career than a colleague, but being judgmental does not equate to happiness. It’s mentally draining to constantly compare oneself and nothing is accomplished in the end.
Look For The Facts
Do you put the frustrating parts of your day, the bad photos, or updates of lounging instead of going to the gym on social media? Or, do you post when your clothes are on point, your hair looks awesome, or you’re at the gym killing it? Of course it’s more of the latter! We’re all guilty, it is how it is. Maybe you haven’t gone out in weeks, so the one night you carve out time, change out of our yoga pants, tear ourselves away from Netflix and grab a drink with a friend, we post the hell out of it! Scrolling through Instagram, doesn’t show the mundane parts of others’ lives. We don’t know the truth about who we’re comparing ourselves to; We don’t know where they started, where they’re headed or what they went through to get there.
Recognize The Waste of Energy
Constantly comparing yourself to others takes energy, and it’s exhausting! When you spend your time obsessing over who and what you aren’t, your wheels are spinning and you end up no closer to what you actually want. Mirroring other’s lives doesn’t get you closer to your ideal life, and getting upset that you don’t have what someone else has wastes time and energy that could be dedicated to improving your own life.
Question The Truth
When you find yourself comparing yourself in any way to someone else’s – whether you know them or not – ask yourself what you actually know about what you’re envying. It could be your co-worker is always talking about her yoga classes and new poses she is trying, and you get down on yourself for not trying your gym’s yoga class. Ask yourself if you really know how often she goes. How long she’s been practicing? What other commitments she has in her life to fit this practice around? This may be practical for her, but not for you, and that’s OK!
Focus On Your Success
What good comes from only picking apart what you don’t have, don’t do, and don’t look like? It’s not productive and only dampens your self-esteem and self-confidence. By choosing instead to focus on what you have done and are doing now to get your towards your goals, your confidence grows and the things you do not have don’t matter as much.
Show Compassion and Learn From Others
Self-compassion is the best way to build your self-esteem and self-confidence. When you believe in and respect yourself, celebrating the things you love about your life, your career, your relationships and your body, it’s easier to stop pining for what others have. There will be times when a friend achieves the goal you have been working towards. Instead of lamenting that you don’t have that, or being jealous of them, use them as a tool. Ask if you can grab a coffee and pick their brain about their career path, or if they can show you their favorite exercises, or what training plan they used for that last race.