“Comparison is the death of joy.”
“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.”
Wise words from wise people, these are.
Comparing yourself to others, thinking they are better off somehow, berating yourself for not ‘measuring up’, so you think, robs you of happiness and serves you in no useful way.
Yet, I admit, I’ve done it plenty of times. More than I care to remember.
But why? If it is such an unpleasant and unproductive thing to do, why do we do it? I think it is because we are taught to do it from the earliest stages of life.
Our parents and teachers were taught by their parents and teachers that the only way to know if you’re moving in the right direction is to….
- Compare what you’re doing to what someone else is doing.
- Compare what you’ve got to what someone else has got.
- Compare how you look to how someone else looks.
Thus the curse of constant self-comparison is passed down from one generation to the next.
Oh, and the advertising industry loves how we obsess over keeping up with everybody else. If everyone in the world suddenly stopped worrying about how they measured up to others, a lot of companies would go out of business. Think about it.
So if you catch yourself comparing yourself to others, don’t make matters worse by beating yourself up about it, just be mindful of it. Remember that this is a socially reinforced habit that we all have to deal with.
“To love is to stop comparing.”
“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.”
Marquis de Condorcet
In becoming mindful of the pattern, you can start shifting paradigms.
7 Ways to Stop the Self Defeating Act of Self Comparison
So what I hope to do now is to share with you some things that wise and caring people have shared with me in minimizing self comparison and finding inner peace and happiness more often.
1. Embrace Your Authentic Self
When you compare yourself to someone else, you’re giving your personal authenticity a slap in the face. You’re giving every cell and particle that makes YOU the distinct and glorious being that you are the middle finger.
Do you willingly accept such personal insults from other people? I hope not. So why do it to yourself?
You are a unique human being here to have a unique experience. The world needs YOU to be YOU, regardless of where you’ve been, what you’ve been told, or where you stand.
Relax and be yourself. Actually, be adamant about being yourself. There’s nobody here better than you because they are not YOU!
And if you feel you have more challenges than others, consider it a gift – an opportunity to develop the strength and self reliance that will serve you for a lifetime in all hours of need.
Be yourself, really be yourself without regard to what others are doing, or being, or what they are thinking, and by default, you will rise to heights of life satisfaction that will be an inspiration to others.
2. Focus on Your Journey
We all go through cycles of moving fast and moving slow. Everyone experiences alternating seasons of rough seas and smooth sailing.
What matters most to you is sailing your own ship in your own direction. Spend too much time watching someone else sail their ship and torrential currents may topple you over and sink your ship to the bottom.
You are not in a race to beat the other ship. Life is NOT a competition, it is a journey. All you need to worry about is following your bliss, enjoying your own life, and charting your course to where you want to go.
3. Use Social Media Mindfully
What we say here applies to all social media but the big elephant in the room (er, web) is Facebook, colloquially referred to as ‘FAKEbook’. A lot of talk is made and many blog posts are written about how social media, especially Facebook, drives people to compare themselves to one another.
If you feel the self-comparison bug when you’re on Facebook, first consider what you’re really seeing: often it’s people presenting the absolute best aspects of their life and none of the stuff they wouldn’t want you to know.
And let’s not judge them for that nor should you be judged if you feel the least bit envious of their new car or fabulous vacation because as we discussed already, this comparison mess is what we’re taught to do from the time we can walk.
I’ve come across people who have deleted their Facebook accounts just so they don’t subject themselves to anything they don’t desire to see but I don’t think you have to take it that far.
Just be mindful about how you use social media. What you look for is what you’re going to find.
To get the best aspects of social media, have a deliberate and positive purpose before you log on.
Check in once day rather than once every 5 minutes! AND, don’t let yourself get sucked in. Check in, catch up with the people you need to catch up with, then check out and get back to living your life instead of somebody else’s. Be mindful. 🙂
4. Practice Gratitude Daily
I never realized just how much I had to be grateful for until I started a gratitude journal. If you’re not doing this already, you’ll be amazed at how much a gratitude journal will raise your vibration and elevate your outlook on life.
It’s a very simple practice that can be kept simple but the best time to do it is first thing in the morning so the feeling carries on through the day. Just write down three things you’re thankful for on whatever medium is best for you. Don’t over think it. The important thing is to feel it.
Once you you get into the habit of writing down three things every day, you may find yourself wanting to write down more than three things, maybe even pages, because it feels so good.
The key to this life is always feeling good about yourself, and you have plenty of reasons to feel good about yourself if you just decide to look for them. Once you’re always feeling good about yourself, the thought of comparing your life to someone else’s won’t even cross your mind.
5. Love Everyone, Especially Yourself
“Love is the Answer. What was the Question?”
Some of the greatest minds to ever grace the face of the Earth – Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein – all said over and over, in one way or another, love is the answer whatever the problem or question may be.
These were not weak, wishy-washy people. These were kind, loving but very powerful people who effected more lasting positive change than any President or Prime Minister ever has. They loved all humanity and they loved themselves.
Not to mention, the ascended masters – Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, etc. – all preached love of all including love of self as being the solution to whatever conundrum you may pose.
So why do the rest of us struggle with it so much!? Oh yeah, because somewhere along the way we all decided to teach each other to compare ourselves against each other.
Love yourself for who you are, where you are, with what you’ve got right now and extend that love to everyone for who they are, wherever they are, with whatever they’ve got. When you love others, you love yourself and vice versa.
Volumes could be written about this. Just play and experiment with the concept of love. Expand your capacity to love and most importantly, begin with yourself.
6. Utilize Positivity Tools
A positivity tool is anything that makes you feel better about yourself and helps you have a more positive outlook on the future: books, blogs, uplifting videos, upbeat music, anything.
Any time you are focused in a positive manner is time you will not be focused on comparison.
Podcasts with a positive focus are by far my favorite positivity tools. There are tons of them out there but I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the top 10 if you want to take a look: Top 10 Positive Thinking Podcasts
7. The Emotional Freedom Technique
Emotional Freedom Techniques is an energy healing modality also referred to as ‘EFT’ or ‘Tapping’. I was first introduced to EFT a few years ago but I made a judgement about it without even trying it and put it in my ‘weird file’.
Then, a few months ago, I learned how some people I trusted were using EFT and getting amazing results.
So I gave it a try with an online community called the World Tapping Circle. The basic premise is that you use positive self talk while tapping on ‘energy meridians’ throughout the body to release negative energy.
It wasn’t until I used EFT that I realized how much self-comparison was at the root of so many of my limiting beliefs.
In my first session I cried. Yep, I really cried for the first time in a very long time but it was an enormous relief.
The benefits have been so positive for me that I now do it on a regular basis.
I hope these tips were helpful. Always remember that YOU are WORTHY of all the love and happiness that you came into this life for.