The Dangers of Comparison and What to do About it
We've all done it. Looked around and seen other people's lives and wondering if we're coming up short. And what happens? That feeling suddenly creeps in and we say to ourselves,"Maybe I'm not good enough.' In fact, comparison is one of the most practiced and at the same time unfortunately destructive activities when it comes to our happiness and fulfillment. Why? Because comparison is a game we can never really win because there will always be someone smarter, more successful, more attractive, richer, etc., than us. And that doesn't feel good. Plus, it makes us discount our own wins and accomplishments and feel inferior when we believe that what we don't have in comparison to our friends, co-workers and acquaintances makes us somehow less in life. Plus, these days, social media dramatically exacerbates this problem because it constantly feeds that need to compare and we feel when we don't have those things others do we must be somehow not measuring up to society's standards.
Read on to learn what you can do about it..
Dolly Parton famously said, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
What most of us don't realize is that in comparing ourselves to others we are not appreciating what we have and loving our own journey in life with growth and compassion towards ourselves.
Thing is, we don't all start at the same place, and we all have different journeys and if we don't stop to recognize what we've managed to do in our lives, we miss out on all the strength we have, all the lessons we've learned and the different roads we take towards the same or different destinations.
Comparison in real life & on social media
The longer we stay scrolling and stuck to the mobile phone on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc, the more we feed our sense of frustration, if not depression, as numerous studies have shown.
Of course, we already know everything about our own lives, and we are well aware of the disappointments, the defeats, the pains. When we look online at social media feeds, of course we're only looking at the best and most 'postable' things, the ones they have decided to make public.
And everyone looks like their life is awesome. But IS IT, REALLY?
But really, let's be honest: no one posts about their divorce, the argument with their partner, the frustrating experience at work when they wanted to quit their job, their kids' disappointing school results or the tantrums their toddlers had in public, or the Sunday afternoons spent alone bored at home not 'living their best lives'.
“Don’t compare yourself to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.”- Regina Brett
What we need to keep in mind
What we really need to understand here is that if we felt truly confident in ourselves and truly grateful with what we have while accepting that we're on a different path to 'success' whatever that means to us, then we would not compare ourselves. We don't all start from the same place and we all certainly have different journeys and for most of us, success isn't always POINT A to B and overnight.
A part of us probably already knows this but it's hard to admit, isn't it? If we were truly happy with ourselves, we could look at other people and their lives with appreciation instead envy, thinking to ourselves, "Good for them! I'm happy for them".
But we're all human! I mean, even the most important, sexy and fit, wealthy, talented, and accomplished people feel insecure sometimes and compare themselves to others. Yes, even the most envied VIPs on Twitter and Instagram - like footballers, musicians and politicians - can have enormous insecurities when they compare themselves to others in their fields. Or maybe some of them would prefer a different, more ordinary life. And even if you're at the top, there is always someone above you who's done more, gets paid more, is more skilled, more beautiful. etc.
The comparing mind is never satisfied, by its nature.
What can we do to stop comparing ourselves?
Getting out of the trap of comparison with others isn't easy, especially when it has been part of how we have thought, lived, and acted for a long time.
The first thing is to realize that comparing ourselves with others is the signal that we are really overlooking the good things in ourselves, what we've accomplished and what we can be proud of, and seeing our own worth.
Or maybe if we look closer, it's actually envy or fear. Could it be that maybe we're resentful of other people's dreams because we're actually scared to take risks in our own lives that could yield more success?
When we let go of the need to compare ourselves with others, we can begin to look within. By connecting with ourselves we are able to understand what we really need and what we really want. Authentic desires that come from within instead of those imposed by comparisons.
During this process of self-acceptance, we begin to discover, appreciate, and value ourselves for who we are. We start to really think about how we want to live and what changes would make us truly happy.
Learning to forgive ourselves, promoting an attitude of kindness towards ourselves and reminding us that the only map we have to orient ourselves in all this uncertainty is given by what we feel in the here and now: our internal needs, our attitudes, our motivations and our values.
Based on this we choose what is right for us at a given time. Having the goal of never making mistakes, as well as being unrealistic, charges us with a lot of anxiety and exposes us to the risk of not deciding clearly. We also learn to see the bright side of our mistakes and reflect on them to improve and move forward.
You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. – Louise Hay
Valuing our progress
Being stuck in competitions and comparisons with other people makes us lose sight of our progress. Instead of looking outside ourselves for the parameters for a comparison, it would be more useful for us to compare ourselves with the results we have obtained, relating them to our starting points, thus enhancing our progress and the efforts made to achieve them. Write down a list of all your accomplishments and see what you're still aiming to accomplish. There are plenty of apps, journals, spreadsheets, etc., that we can use to set goals for ourselves and see how we're doing after a week, month, 6 months, a year.
“A little progress every day adds up to big results.” Satya
Motivating ourselves with positivity
“Allow yourself to be proud of yourself and all the progress you’ve made. Especially the progress that no one else can see.” Anonymous
Celebrate your wins!
Motivate yourself for your effort and be kind to yourself along the journey.
Get a calendar and reward yourself when you meet your daily goals.
Did you make it to the gym today? Give yourself a sticker on the calendar!
Did you finish a book? Add a 5$ into the jar every time you meet your reading goal.
If you keep up a new habit for 21 days buy yourself a little gift.
Did you miss a day? It's OK! It doesn't have to be all or nothing and remember that you don't have to start from zero again just because you got too busy. Be kind to yourself and you will be more positively inspired to make small changes.
Being honest with ourselves
It is common knowledge that emotions that we cannot manage end up dominating us. If we are in constant struggle with envy, the best way to disarm it is to call it by its name and considering the negative effects of this. We may even, if we are feeling particularly daring, confess our emotions to others, at which point they will magically dissolve. In knowing the experience of others, we could come to discover unthinkable things.
EFT Tapping for comparison
EFT can give us the opportunity to go deep inside ourselves and understand the origins of a discomfort that did not allow us to express our full potential while keep comparing us to others. Using EFT tapping helps us release negative emotions and reframe the way we feel using positive affirmations to remind ourselves of the positive. Want to try EFT for comparison? For a limited time, I'm offering 59 EUR+ VAT first time sessions book now.
Lessons emotional charge of negative feelings that arise when comparing yourself to others in your life or in your industry so you can focus on yourself
Improves feelings of being stuck, stress and apathy, anxiety, nervousness
Improves feelings of low self-esteem, fears, self-sabotage, etc
Life coaching can help take you farther than you can get on your own. Your life coach can help you keep track of your progress with regular check ins and help you through the hurdles that arise so you can stick to the strategy and be consistent. Plus, many of us actually have sneaky ways that we hold ourselves back and even sabotage.
If you're finding it hard to get your bearings after everyrthing that's happened the last few years and you need to kick start your personal growth, check below for my coaching packages to start getting clear on your intentions, your blocks to success and happiness, let go of the past, and start creating your life the way you want it.
ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany
I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).
If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.
Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life.
If you're interested in booking a free 15 minute discovery call for transformational life coaching, EFT Tapping or checking out my services page click here.
header image: Brock Wegner
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