How to stop comparing yourself to others…(in 3 simple steps)
Do you catch yourself comparing what you can do, how you look, how you respond to situations to what others do, how they look, or respond? Perhaps you do it without noticing.
You know it’s not logical to compare yourself to someone else but you do it anyway. Why and how can you stop? After all, it’s not only affecting how you feel about yourself, it could very well be affecting so much more, like your happiness, productivity, etc.
First, let’s look at why you may be doing it. We live in a world where comparison is pretty much how decisions are made. When someone has to pick the right person for any reason, they compare two people’s resumes, their talents, their looks, and so many other attributes right? From the time we enter school, we are compared to something or someone else and it doesn’t stop when you’re an adult. In some instances, families compare their children to each other.
The problem is, we’re not taught the utility of that comparison. Or that we really shouldn’t compare ourselves to another person. We’re not taught not to judge our own self-worth based on what someone else thought about us as compared to someone else. We can actually be traumatized by being compared to someone (especially if fear of not being good enough is a challenge for you). As such, your moods, days, happiness, your life, is easily swayed when the water gets rough or even just changes direction. It’s really no way to live, but so many do it without knowing that it doesn’t have to be their normal. It’s taught and it becomes a habit. Habits may be hard to break, but there’s nothing that says they can’t be broken. You make that decision.
If you’ve noticed that you compare yourself so much that you feel it’s holding you back but you don’t really know where to start (or start again) at breaking that habit, I have a tool for you that can help break this pattern. Can you imagine living without those constant thoughts of longing?
Here’s my challenge to you, ADD for the next 30 days and share your results!
- AWARENESS: You can’t change what you’re unaware of
Being able to identify when you’re engaging in that comparison cycle is the first step to getting rid of the habit. That cycle will look different for different people and may show up in different areas at different times. You can’t change something you’re not aware of. So pay attention. Notice how you feel in your body or thoughts that run through your mind.
Mine showed up most when I found myself in the presence of really high energy type A people. They seem to be so full of life. What people say most about me is I am very calming or I calm them down. I battled that because it seems that the world tends to take more to the high-powered, high-energy people. Becoming aware of that within myself is what helped me walk down the road towards overcoming that insecurity. (That topic may just be another article).
2. DISTRACT: Find something else to focus on for the time being
When we compare ourselves to others, it typically results in self-doubt or frustration, sadness, depression, etc. One thing’s for sure, it’s virtually impossible to jolt yourself out of that state once you’re in it without a worthy distraction.
What worked for me is that if I found myself starting down that path, my acute awareness stops me before I go too far (step 1). And finding some reason to compliment someone or help a stranger immediately put things in perspective and kept me from spiraling the rest of the day.
Another avenue that helped is picking up a book or listening to an audiobook that reminds you of just how amazing life in general is. Distractions are especially useful when you still have an entire day ahead of you and staying focused on the task(s) at hand is a key aspect to a successful day. Once you’ve gotten through your day successfully, it’s best to process what you went through as soon as possible, while it’s still fresh on your mind and heart.
I’ve helped many of my clients through this as well. One client, I’ll call her Tracy, complained about always feeling exhausted at the end of her day for seemingly no reason. After we talked, we were able to bring some of her habits that could be the culprit to her awareness, like her subconscious need to be recognized for work she had done in front of coworkers. We agreed that the desire wasn’t unhealthy, however, how she processed it wasn’t serving her well. Since she didn’t notice it at first, we worked on ways she could recognize it in the moment (step 1, awareness). Once she was able to recognize it, she found effective ways to distract herself for the time being (step 2). She has more energy at the end of the day and is able to move to step 3, dissolve.
3. DISSOLVE: Process your experience when the time is right
You do that by dissolving those de-engergizing emotions through self-compassion and kindness. You acknowledge how you were feeling (without judgment and with compassion — as though you were chatting with a friend who experienced what you did). If you have a trusted friend, you may even reach out to them to help you reframe what you interpreted. If you’re familiar with EFT (emotional freedom technique), you may choose to engage in some tapping. Journaling has also been a healthy way to dissolve emotions. Those are just a few things that come to mind that can help you dissolve the emotions/feelings you experienced so that they don’t get stuck and create triggers you didn’t know existed.
To stop comparing yourself to others in a detrimental way, all you have to do is ADD 3 simple steps and bring the awareness of just how amazing you truly are! What are some things you use to distract yourself in order to make it through a difficult day? How have you dissolved those de-energizing emotions? Share in the comments.