You know the drill. It’s inching towards 1am on a Wednesday night and you can’t get to sleep, so you open up your Instagram and start the scroll. Ah, the endless scroll through unlimited posts. It’s here that our anxiety pops up and thinks, look at all these people having fun, or getting engaged, married, having kids. Why am I not on that same path? Or why don’t I look that beautiful?
Comparison is a curse. Unforgiving and overflowing with doubt and insecurity, our mental health feeds off of it. Society tells us we have to be on one, certain path. Whether it’s men or women: date, fall in love, get married, have kids and die.
But, what is that’s not everyone’s path? Does that mean you aren’t succeeding? Absolutely not. Comparing cars, houses, jobs, money, and relationships is destructive to your own growth.
How do we stop this toxic cycle? Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:
Stop with the social media
Comparing starts on social media. While you might have begun your social escape liking photos of puppies or pins, you usually always end up seeing something that triggers comparison.
Whether it’s a friend humble bragging about her new business, engagement, or pregnancy, that ping of jealousy and panic sets in immediately. How is she so successful and I’m not? What is she doing that I can’t? And ultimately:
I’m not good enough.
When you’re feeling insecure on social media, remember that people normally don’t post about the bad parts of life. On Instagram and Facebook, we are never seeing the whole story. Yes, mental health bloggers tend to open up and show both sides of emotion on social media, but this is not the case with most. So, instead of putting your complete self-worth into the post of someone else’s, remember that you’re only seeing the most polished pieces.
Someone’s success is not your failure
Don’t play that comparison game. Not everyone’s path looks the same, so it’s essential to remember that your friend from high school getting engaged, or your sister getting that promotion does not mean your opportunity or future success has been taken away – your time will come.
Whenever I feel comparison brewing, I refer to this wonderful quote:
Your day will still come around, so instead of giving into those feelings of jealousy and spite, feel happy for them.
Compare yourself to yourself
Instead of comparing yourself to others, create the habit of comparing yourself to yourself. Focus on how much you’ve grown, what you have achieved and what progress you have made towards your goals.
When we shift our attention within, it creates gratitude, appreciation, and kindness towards yourself. Give yourself some props – what you’ve gone through matters.
Remind yourself of what you have
With endless vacation photos to Thailand, and perfectly Pinterest wedding photography, it can start to seem like everyone is doing something with their lives but you.
I’ve found the best way to combat comparison is to take a moment and write down have you do have. What you’re proud of accomplishing. Use your energy to focus on what you’ve built for your own life, it will force that comparing to fade.
At the end of the day, we don’t need to be accepted by others – we must accept ourselves.
The only way to climb out of the hole of comparison is to direct our attention within. When we are happy with our own accomplishments, those feelings of comparison won’t emerge.
So, it’s like the band Jimmy Eat World says,
“Live right now, just be yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else.”
How do you combat comparison? Share your comments below!