Stop Falling Into The Comparison Trap
Have you ever been sitting on your couch next to an unfolded pile of laundry, wearing yesterday’s pajamas, drinking more caffeine than you should be, and you realize you’re mindlessly scrolling social media and comparing yourself to every single person there? One minute I’m scolding myself for not exercising more because a girl I know just posted about how she lost over 60 pounds and is now a certified personal trainer. Then I’m cringing because one of my mom friends posted about this fun weekend trip they took their kids on and my son is playing cars while I’m scrolling Facebook. The next minute I’m feeling inadequate because someone just posted they are finally debt free and we’re still working on paying it all off. Oh and don’t even get me started on how to compare someone’s beautiful wedding photos to the ones I have from 8 years ago where everything is now out of style.
WE HAVE TO STOP THIS.
I’ve been there and I know you’ve been there too. It’s so easy to compare our lives to others and social media multiplies that by ten. Falling into the comparison trap only leads us to feeling defeated and discontent while causing us to waste time we could be using for good and to miss out on being excited for someone else! News flash: extinguishing someone else’s flame does nothing to fuel your own. And just the same, lighting someone’s candle does not make your own burn less bright. Someone else’s success doesn’t make your own any less important or less possible. This comparison trap will only bring you down, so it’s time to kick comparison to the curb.
I know putting a stop to the comparison is easier said than done because for many of us, it’s become so second nature we don’t even realize we’re doing it. It’s going to take time and you won’t be perfect. You may fall back into the comparison trap from time to time but my hope is that you will realize when it happens and be able to remind yourself of the truths.
Here are some truths to keep in mind when it comes to comparison:
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT LIFE
No one is perfect. No life is perfect. We tend to compare our everyday life to the highlight reels we see on social media. We trick ourselves into thinking that because we follow someone on Instagram, we know what their entire life looks like. The truth is most people only post their highlight reel to social media. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. When I have guests come over to my house, I clean it (sometimes frantically 30 minutes before they arrive) because I want them to see that I care. When you see posts on social media, just remember that you’re only seeing a portion of someone’s life and there’s a good chance it’s the best portion. Behind the scenes, their life is probably totally normal. In the same way, you can’t compare your beginnings to someone else’s middle. If they have been building a business for 8 years, you can’t compare it to the business you started 5 months ago. Everyone is on a different path and we will all experience different journeys so trying to compare those is simply a waste of time.
BE MOTIVATED, NOT COMPETITIVE
If you do feel yourself falling into the comparison trap, use those emotions to feel motivated rather than competitive. Use someone else’s success as motivation for your own. You can look at what they’re doing or have accomplished and think “if they can do it, I can do it too.” Let them become your inspiration for setting and achieving goals. Be careful to not just dream about it but actually fuel the motivation to put a plan in place and take action to make it happen!
BE CONFIDENT AND CONTENT WITH WHO YOU ARE
You have to believe in yourself. If you’re playing the comparison game, it may be because you lack confidence in yourself. Stop feeling unhappy about your life and find the confidence to know that you can make a change (because you can). Thinking negatively will only hold you back from your dreams. Find ways to be grateful for your life as it is now and be confident that you are capable of taking action to get to where you want to be while still enjoying the now. If you’re not happy now, there’s no amount of stuff or circumstances that will make you happy later. Be content with who you are now.
When you feel the comparisons sneaking in, put on your blinders. Take a break from social media if it’s causing you to think negatively. Make a list of what you’re grateful for now. Dream about where you want to be and then take it a step further to make a plan of action you can start today. Take a step back and be present in your life now. In the great words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So what are you going to do to hold on to your joy?