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How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

You open up your preferred social media platform(s) to find that your friends are planning a cross-country road trip, or you a family member moving to a beautiful new country. Immediately, you feel envious, and taking a look around you, you realize that maybe your life isn’t as exciting as you thought it was. It pales in comparison to your friend who lives in Cost Rica and gets to wake up to the sound of tropical birds and ocean waves, while you sit at your desk drinking stale coffee and staring at a computer screen all day.

You begin to mindlessly scroll through social media feeds, and the downward spiral begins. You start feeling bad about yourself and your life. Does it sound familiar? If it does, you are certainly not alone. The game of comparison is as old as humanity, probably, but has been increasingly accentuated with social media.

In this blog, we’ll talk a little bit about developing awareness about social media and how you can take a step back and consider your life — and not in comparison to another’s.

Name Your Inner Critic

When comparing yourself to someone else, your success, the friends you have in your life that love you, and even your self-worth seems to become less-than. You feel less talented, less lucky, less appealing, and maybe less appreciated. Your confidence begins to flatline and you begin to feel truly worthless. All of these things don’t happen because the person you’re idolizing made them happen — they happen because somewhere inside of you, your inner critic is pointing out all of your inadequacies and laying them out for you. All at once, and without any mercy.

It may sound cheesy, but I recommend giving your inner critic a name, something you can identify it as. The reason I say this is because this inner critic isn’t you. It’s not your most authentic self talking, rather, it’s the nasty self-deprecating talk of your ego. Your ego is fueled by fear and it likes to remind you that you’re not as good as other people. Become painfully aware of this inner critic whenever it starts to come out of its cage. Become painfully aware of it to the point where you can acknowledge that it is your inner critic talking, but refuse to give it any power.

This takes power away from your inner critic, weakening it, taking away its fuel to live. This is key in overcoming it.

Be Your Own Best Friend

We all have that friend that is perfect. Well, they’re not perfect because what’s really perfect anyway, but we love them with our whole hearts and would do anything for them, including stand up for them when they start trash-talking themselves. We say “Hey! Do you know how important you are to me? Do you know how much I love you? How much you’ve changed my life for the better?” Chances are good you have someone like that.

Here’s the thing: we’re so good at comforting friends in a crisis, but when we’re the ones spiraling, we love piling on the trash talk. But, here’s the golden rule: If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Talk yourself up and mean it. Talk to yourself the same way you’d talk to your friend — with love, genuineness, support, and unconditional acceptance. At the end of the day, you really do deserve it.

Become Aware of those Triggers, and Avoid Them

The first two steps are really hard because taking the time to acknowledge those thought processes and then changing them takes an immense amount of conscious work. Something that helps is eliminating the chance of that inner critic coming out in the first place.

Start noticing the situations that cause you to play the comparison game. Social media is a big one for most of us, but there may be other circumstances. Maybe you have a friend that is constantly bragging about their life, asking you questions about your life that are designed to make you feel inferior.

Make a list of who and what you frequently envy or compare yourself to, and write down how each negatively affects you and why it’s a waste of time. Think of ways you can catch yourself the next time you’re in these situations, and avoid these comparison triggers altogether if you can.

Remember that We Compare the Worst of Ourselves with the Best of Others

We look at other’s success through the lens of our own weaknesses. So, when this happens, of course we will only be able to identify our shortcomings. We are so much tougher on ourselves than we are on our friends, and we often feel discouraged by it. I can bet you anything that if you took the time to sit back and think about all of the things you’ve accomplished in your life and how far you’ve come, you probably wouldn’t feel the same way.

Use Your Past Self as a Benchmark

If you absolutely have to compare yourself, use your past self as a benchmark. Maybe the person you were a year ago couldn’t even imagine the success that “now” you have accomplished. Maybe the you that you are now is the person that past you used to compare yourself to. Really take a second to think about how far you’ve come in a year and the person you have now.

Stop Dissing Your Life Journey

Alright, I will admit that sometimes when life isn’t going our way or we haven’t been able to meet certain goals or expectations we set for ourselves, it’s hard not to think we’re not on the right track, making the comparison especially painful. Remind yourself, and keep reminding yourself, that your life is meant to be different than your friends’ life journey. Your unique struggles, challenges, successes, wins, losses, accomplishments, failures, everything, is what makes your journey your own.

I’m not saying that your life is boring or hard because it’s supposed to be, I’m saying that we’re all different, moving at different paces, and living with different purposes. Finding your purpose may help ease some of the anxiety you get when comparing yourself. If you would like to look at it this way, we (all people) are flowers in this big garden and some people bloom sooner than others, while others may take some time to choose the color of their petals and the kind of flower they want to be. You can’t rush a flower to bloom! It blooms when it is ready and has the tools to do so.

Start Mindfulness and Meditation With Dr. Shea Kamlet

I am so grateful that you read through what I had to say about minimizing comparing yourself. This practice isn’t easy and does require consistent awareness and mindfulness, not to mention a wealth of self-compassion of self-love. If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness and meditation, then I would like to offer my services to you. I provide individual therapy in Denver, both virtual and in-person. I also specialize in mindfulness and meditation in Denver, which is all about casting light on the certain parts of you that don’t often get looked at, and helping you find an approach to inner healing that best works for you. Please, schedule an appointment with me today to get started.