Self Image Issues: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
We’ve been doing reading Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be in the book club I am hosting in my Mental Health Support Facebook group. In one of the chapters, we read Rachel says that comparison is the thief of joy. I wholeheartedly agree but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to stop doing. Comparing ourselves and not feeling good enough is something many of us learn as young girls and we carry the habit into adulthood. This is potentially a detrimental habit and it can keep you from taking action and creating the life that you really want to live. I have a whole podcast episode about this and I would love it if you subscribed over on Podbean or iTunes. You can also stream the episode below.
Does Comparison Serve You?
When I was in college I used to compare myself to other students in my classes all the time. I felt like a failure because I just could never quite get the A’s I wanted to get in school. However, I wasn’t taking into account that most of the other students weren’t managing clinical depression, serious anxiety and working two jobs while they were in school fulltime. The truth was doing the best I could at the time and comparing myself to other people wasn’t helping me. In fact, it was making an already difficult time in my life even harder. Make a list of all the ways that comparing yourself doesn’t serve you and steals your joy. Remind yourself of those reasons when you find yourself falling into the comparison trap and choose to focus on something else. Whenever you start comparing yourself to other people interrupt those thoughts and actively focus on something positive. Have your favorite memory qued up and actively choose to start thinking about that instead of dwelling on what other people are doing. It takes a lot of mindfulness and mental discipline but you can choose to redirect your thoughts when something isn’t serving you.
You Don’t Know Anyone Else’s Truth
This is especially true on social media. It’s so easy to look at someones beautiful pictures on Instagram and think they are killing it in life. The truth is you have no idea what they are walking through. The only thing you know is that they take nice pictures and put them on the internet which doesn’t have anything to do with how they feel or how their life is going. I’m sure we’ve all been friends with someone who posted beautiful couple pictures on the internet constantly. It looked like they were so in love and having a great time hiking through waterfalls and going on cool date nights. You are sure they are #couplegoals and start to feel bad about your own relationship. Then one day they announce that they are breaking up and you would have never in a million years guessed it was coming. That’s because you don’t know what someone is dealing with in their life. You don’t know if someone is sick, in an abusive relationship, dealing with the death of a loved one or any other number of hard things. The next time you go to compare your life to someone else’s just remember you don’t know anything about their truth or what they are walking through.
The next time you start to feel jealous about what someone else is doing make the decision to send them love instead. We are cognitively aware of our emotions and thoughts and that means you can control what you think about and how you feel. Yes, it takes practice and it’s hard to do but mindfulness is the best practice I’ve found to really improve my mental health. Whenever you’re about to enter a situation that you know brings up feelings of insecurity and negativity make the decision that you are going to feel love instead. Whenever I open my Instagram feed I use that as a time to practice gratitude. As I scroll I send love to all of the people in my feed and feel thankful that they are getting to have amazing experiences. If you need help practicing gratitude you can find all my favorite gratitude meditations here.
There Is Plenty To Go Around
I think the reason so many people feel jealous or negativity towards other people is they feel like that person is taking something away from them. Just because someone else gets an opportunity doesn’t mean they are taking anything away from you. We live in a world with TONS of opportunities and if someone else gets to do something instead of you, just remember that there are more experiences waiting for you in the future. Whenever I see someone doing something awesome I just take it as a reminder that there are so many amazing things that are possible in this life. If you’re feeling jealous because someone else has a boyfriend or is going on a cool trip you’re probably telling yourself a scarcity story. I have a whole podcast about storytelling you can find here. Think about what is a new narrative that you could tell yourself about other peoples success? If you knew there were tons of amazing experiences waiting for you in the future how would you feel about this situation?
Stand In Your Own Purpose
Stop looking at what other people are doing and stay in your own lane. The happiest times of my life are when I am focused on my own purpose and not paying attention to what other people are doing. Focus on making your life epic and making yourself feel better. What are you here to do? How can you make your life feel better right now? What is the most important thing you could do today? What are you thankful for? When you feel your mind start to drift off and think about what other people are doing use those type of questions to refocus your attention back on yourself. I view thinking about what other people are doing as a waste of my time and energy. I try to be really diligent about keeping my focus on my own life and what I am doing instead of worrying about other people. When I’m focusing on other people I’m not living in my purpose and doing the things that I need to do in this world.
You Are Good Enough
When I compare myself to other people it’s usually because I feel like I’m not as good as they are. The truth is everyone is a work in progress and we all have to start where we are. There isn’t anything wrong with you and no one else is any better than you are. We like to tell ourselves that other people have better have better ideas or are somehow better than we are. This is just not true and I believe we are all inherently equal. A lot of times we are way harder on ourselves than we would be on other people. What would you tell your best friend that was comparing herself to someone else because she didn’t feel good enough? You need to give yourself the same kind of pep talk and tell yourself the truth. The truth is you were made completely unique and no one else sees things the way you do. I believe the world desperately needs you to show up and be yourself and you are so much more important to this world than you think you are.
You’re In Different Places
Most of the time when we are comparing ourselves to other people we are at different places in our lives. I love the quote “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”. When I first launched my blog I would compare myself to other successful bloggers all the time. What I wasn’t taken into account was that those bloggers had been working on their blogs for years and I was only a few months in. When we first start something new it’s really easy to make unfair comparisons by judging ourselves based on someone who is further along than we are. Your journey is your own and it is completely unique. There really isn’t a good way to compare it to what someone else is doing. Most of the time success happens at different times for all of us. It can be really hard to use someone else’s journey to judge how far you are or how much progress you’ve made.
If you’re looking for more information to help you stop comparing yourself to others check out this article by Psychology today. I also recommend You Are a Bad Ass and You Are a Bad Ass at Making Money if you’re looking for some really good inspiring audiobooks that go over a lot of these topics in depth. Both of the books talk about a lot of the same perspective and mindset shifts I discussed in this article and podcast episode. I hope these mindset tips and tricks help you stop comparing yourself to other people. The truth is, you really can’t accurately compare yourself to anyone else and it’s only going to make you feel crappy and gross anyways.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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