We’ve all heard it before. Comparison is the thief of joy, and it’s very true. When we compare, how often does it actually make us feel good about ourselves?
And these days, it’s more readily available to us. We’re constantly in each others’ lives, watching stories on Instagram, reading Facebook updates, checking email, Snapchatting what we’re doing. It’s hard not to compare.
But it still doesn’t mean we can’t set healthy boundaries that remind us to not compare and to instead cherish and celebrate who we are, strengths, weaknesses, failures, and triumphs.
Here are a few of our best tips:
We all have our own unique journey.
As frustrating or as reassuring as that statement is, no one will ever walk in our shoes or see life through our eyes. We can empathize to a degree, but no one’s life path is going to be a cookie cutter version of someone else’s.
Use this to your power. It should actually be a relief! Because you’re not going to do something exactly how someone else will so you don’t need to feel the pressure to mimic their path. Take for example it takes one person 2 months to lose 20 lbs, but you’re “struggling” to lose 5 lbs in a month. Is that really a struggle, or is it just a part of your path and this is what your body is in need of? Maybe the person you’re comparing to has held onto weight in the past, and for a lot longer than you have. Maybe their body just reacts differently to this type of change. And that’s okay. Because no matter what, if you continue to do the work, you’ll get there, regardless of the journey and winding roads.
Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.
This quote comes from Leeor Alexandra, a self-help YouTuber. Sometimes, social media can be good, but other times, it can lead to some very damaging behaviors. It encourages people to only showcase the best parts of their lives, while we, maybe in our not so great parts, are viewing it thinking about what’s wrong with us. Why can’t we have that.
It’s very easy to look at someone’s outer image and think they have it all together, when in fact, they could be looking at you and thinking the same thing. The same goes for comparing your beginning to someone’s middle or even end if you’re so bold. Everyone starts somewhere. Perhaps someone at the gym has hit a milestone you’ve also set your eyes on. They’re just farther along in their journey. It doesn’t mean you’re any less of a person or athlete, and it doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish it too.
We’re so quick to give our power away to what we think is reality, when in fact, we only know part of the truth. Remember that the next time you feel like others are farther than you!
Focus on your strengths.
You might be surprised to discover this, but there are a lot of things you can do that others can’t. And yes, I can say this completely as a hard truth even though I’m an objective writer. Maybe you’re not a writer, but you can sell anyone on anything. Maybe you don’t speak up a lot, but you’re there and constantly lending an ear to a loved one. Celebrate what you’re good at, even if it’s “just being.” Your body is an incredible system in and of itself. The amount of mechanics it took to engineer an organism that contains so many intricate systems that all work together and simultaneously. I mean, that’s pretty profound.
Remember what you do have in your life
There’s a great cartoon of a car owner comparing his car to another car, thinking to himself, wow, it’d be nice to have a new car. Meanwhile, the bicyclist next to him is thinking, he’s so lucky he has a car. Then you look at the man standing on the side of the bicyclist, waiting for the bus to come, and he ponders what it would be like to go freely wherever you want on a bike. Finally, the cartoon ends with a person in a wheelchair, peering out at the man standing at the bus, wish he could walk like the man waiting for his bus.
It’s all perspective. Remember what you do have in your life, and I’m sure you’d be shocked to find that you have quite a lot. This is not to make you feel bad about wanting something else. But it should help you to feel more abundant and free rather than limited and scarce. When we see ourselves as abundant, more abundance presence itself to us.
Most importantly, remember that you, as you are, are enough. Whole. And complete.
This sounds so cliche, but it will always be true. If you were stripped away of everything you own, every experience that you’ve had, accomplishment that you’re proud of, and all that you’re “worth” in terms of material objects, you, as a person, are still whole and complete. You are still worthy of a life you love and of being free from anything that binds you.
We often compare and feel less than. Sometimes we feel more than, but the truth of the matter is that we’re all equal. And we’re all equal with or without all of our accolades, ribbons, and stars. When you can confidently say that you love yourself without condition, you then see yourself as worthy and complete. And that’s the most important thing to remember.
If you’re struggling with self worth, also know it’s okay to remove yourself from anything that’s causing you to get into that vicious cycle. If it’s triggering you, it’s okay to remove what’s bringing up something uncomfortable until you’re ready to embrace it and learn from it. Sometimes, we need just a break. Feel free to delete social media, lean into friends that help you feel good and take a break from others that you feel you easily compare to, etc.
And remember that learning to be confident in who you are and not compare to others takes time, patience, and practice. Keep with it, and you’ll find freedom faster than you think!