We have all been guilty of comparing ourselves and our lives to the perceptions we form about the lives of others. While it’s natural to observe those around us; the self-judgment and desire to measure up is what causes us to become emotionally paralyzed and unhealthy.
Comparison often develops into a secret battle between yourself and an unaware target. This battle, internal in its entirety, cannot be won. That’s the thing about comparing – it’s extremely tricky.
Comparison is an attack and a devaluing of who you are.
If you find yourself suffering with this unhealthy habit, here are a few tips that will help you implement new outlooks:
1. Identify what triggers your comparing behaviors. Is it your desire to be recognized? A preoccupation with perfection? A lack of self-esteem and confidence? Or even too much time spent on social media? Whatever it may be, allow yourself to be vulnerable and explore these feelings. Once you determine its origin, find productive ways to address it.
2. During the moments that you find it difficult to change your comparing attitude, use it as a check-point for self-love, creativeness and opportunity! Instead of comparing in a way that displays bitterness or minimizes who you are - relate with the intent to learn and be inspired by what you admire in others!
3. Remain mindful of your strengths, abilities, and achievements. To focus on what you don’t have is to waste valuable time that could be used to build upon your existing qualities. Establish your own rationale for success and institute a plan to create a life that achieves the happiness you desire. After all, what comes out of comparing someone’s good to your bad?
4. Remind yourself that no person is perfect. Imperfections are what makes you uniquely YOU. This means that all people face adversity for various reasons. You never know the story behind the person that you compare yourself to. Chances are they struggle, just like you. Reframe your shortcomings into strong points so that you are an encouragement to those who may admire you.
Be aware that when you engage in comparing, you are comparing yourself to your own opinion of what you would like to see in or for yourself. The reality is, you’re human - you may never end comparing completely. The key is to end your likelihood of reacting negatively when comparisons occur.
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.