What’s a one-way ticket to nowhere? Streaming Friends for the umpteenth time, and also, comparing yourself to other people. No matter how hard I try, I’m never going to wake up in the morning as that picture-perfect Instagram influencer. So why am I trying to live her life? Instead of wasting my time and energy trying to emulate someone else’s body, lifestyle, career, or success, I decided to shift my mindset: Let them inspire me when it serves me and cut them loose when it doesn’t.
Comparing ourselves to others is a trap we all fall into from time to time. These five steps have helped me quit the comparison game:
Acknowledge the Toll of Comparison
Comparing yourself to others can be detrimental to your mental and emotional health in the long run, especially if you already deal with anxiety, like me. The sooner I realized it’s a mindless loop of second-guessing, it was easier to break the cycle. I thought about the reasons I compare myself and my life to other people and how I typically feel afterward. I’m typically not envious of houses or cars, but I discovered I was following too many family travel bloggers. Their endless, smiling adventures made me question if I was giving my own family enough quality time, if I had taken enough chances in my life. I had to tell myself “they probably scream at their kids and get mad at the mess too.”
The added stress (and less sleep) just wasn’t worth it.
Consider Your Strengths
We can’t all be good at the same things. How boring would that be? When I find myself comparing my life to someone who excels in an area I struggle with, I try to take a moment to step back and reflect on my own skills instead. As a kid, I was lousy at puffy paint. Couldn’t squeeze out a straight line to save my life. As an adult, that means I’m not the mom cranking out custom birthday cakes for my kids. Does it matter if I go to a bakery instead? No. Because my research and planning skills mean I always find the best one in town.
Reevaluate Your Relationships
Friends are essential. We go to them for advice, bounce ideas off of each other and drown our sorrows in wine together. But we also run the risk of constantly comparing our lives to those of our friends, even when we know what goes on behind closed doors could be the complete opposite. Do they support you and your choices? Do they offer encouragement? If all they do is lap up the praise and never reciprocate, that’s a problem. I feel lucky to have a village of friends who are supportive and kind. But I’ll admit, I’ve let some friendships fade that didn’t serve my mental health.
Remove the Temptation
I’ve mentioned cleaning up your social media feeds here before, but it always bears repeating. People typically post the best shot of 50, the vacation photos instead of the day-to-day routine or the house just after cleaning day. Remember when I said it made me question all my life choices by seeing Instagram feeds from family travel bloggers, I unfollowed most of them.
I’m sure they struggle like we all do, but their curated feeds didn’t serve me. And hey, if our stuff isn’t serving you, we will hate to see you go but your mental health is way more important.
Give Yourself Praise
It’s time to start patting yourself on the back more. Why? Because the life you have is one someone else is dreaming of. (I know, that sounds counterintuitive a bit, but you know what I mean). I’ve started giving myself credit for all of the wins, big and small. Reciting affirmations in the mirror might feel like a bit much at first, but you have no problem liking and commenting on the photos of people you barely — or never — speak to, right? Send some of that love your own way.
How do you avoid comparing yourself to others? Give us your tips below.