Comparing yourself to others is an everyday thing. It’s what I also call comparison culture. Some people spend a few moments; some people spend heaps of time doing this. For some, it feels manageable as they’re just fleeting thoughts. For others, it can feel exhausting or even bring on anxieties. As we talk a lot about looking after your confidence and wellbeing on Lucky Things, it’s important to talk about how we can stop comparing ourselves to others.
Be mindful…We can’t stop our thinking patterns, at times they’re automatic. So pause and acknowledge how something makes you feel and then decide to move on. Mindfulness is a great way of managing how we then focus our emotional energy on more positive things. Dr. Tamara Russell, a leading mindfulness expert, created the Transitional Pause. As Tamara says, it’s about “a short practice you can do anywhere to help you train your brain to act with awareness. Take three minutes to acknowledge where you’ve come from and the impact of that activity, how you are right now, and how you intend to be in the next interaction.” I’ve found that it’s an easy mindfulness exercise that can be done on the move and helps me to clear my mind and get it ready for the next task.
Clock it up…How much time do you spend in a day comparing yourself to others? If you think you compare a lot, then do a journal to see how many times a comparison interrupts your day. Then roughly work out how much time you spend on comparing yourself to others. You may be shocked by the results. If you realised it added up to half an hour, an hour or even more, how would that make you feel? For me, I know I can spend any comparison time that more wisely. Whether we’re parents, carers, busy in our day jobs, entrepreneurs, creatives or bloggers all of our time is precious.
Celebrate your skills and talents…We all have them but sometimes we forget about what makes us great. When you find yourself comparing to others, close it down by focussing on yourself. It’s too easy to start thinking about what others are doing, saying, achieving, wearing or where they’re going. If you want, pop over to my blog post on why we need to Celebrate our skills and talents.
Recognise others’ skills and talents…It’s also about pausing and acknowledging other’s achievements. We never know the full story behind someone’s success or their everyday life. Everyone has ups and downs whether they decide to talk about them or not. As social media can present the perfect parts of someone’s life at times, use your own filter. We easily forget that everyone’s life is different or difficult. Focus your time and energy on recognising others’ achievements instead.
Turn comparison into inspiration…Being happy for others is a much healthier feeling right? Don’t let jealousy eat you up. As a counsellor once told me, feeling envious is a more positive feeling than feeling jealous. Feeling envious means that you respect what someone has or who they are. When I couldn’t get pregnant, it was easy for me to compare myself to others. Why did my situation feel unfair and more difficult than others? At the end of the day, through comparing, I realised I just wanted something that was important to me and IVF was my option. It’s also handy to think about if what they have is what you really want? If you really want something too, be practical and think about how can you achieve it?
What’s right for your uniqueness?…So I do wonder, as we and our lives are all unique, is it right to compare ourselves to others in the first place? It’s fine to feel curious about what others are doing or achieving. Don’t let that distract you from your own plan and intentions. Just because someone else is doing X or has Y, is that what we need to do or have too? Check in with what’s right for your life and uniqueness. We’re all doing good things and working towards our own successes.
Don’t get sucked into comparison culture…It’s here to stay but just because others are comparing themselves to others, don’t feel you need to as well. Recognise when you’re doing it and make a decision whether you want to spend your time or energy on something else more positive.
Do you compare yourself to others? Do you think it’s healthy to compare yourself to others? What do you think about comparison syndrome and comparison culture? Is comparing yourself to others a healthy thing? How can it feel unhealthy? Leave a comment below as it would be great to know what you think too…