A little friendly competition never hurt anyway. There are healthy elements to being competitive. Competition helps motivate you to better yourself. But what about when you become consumed with competition? Or, worse yet, obsessed with comparing yourself to others? Do you downplay the greatness of your own personal accomplishments because, in your opinion, they pale in comparison to others? Do you give yourself credit where credit’s due?
I’m guilty of comparing myself to others in almost every aspect of my life. I’m not as skinny as other girls. I don’t make as much money as my coworkers. My teeth aren’t as white as my sister’s and my thighs are bigger than my cousin’s. It’s quite silly when you break it down like that. And I’m slowly learning to drown out these negative thoughts and focus on myself. To praise my own accomplishments and skills without examining them under a microscope using someone else’s lens. And here’s how.
View Social Media with a Watchful Eye
Someone once told me that people’s social media accounts are their highlight reels. Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms are where people post the best, most amazing, and memorable times of their lives. Vacations, parties, accomplishments, and filtered selfies. Do not compare yourself to what you see on social media. I repeat. Do not compare yourself to social media. No one is hopping on their phone to post a pic of the worst hair day ever or tell the world that they just failed their driving test. People project on social media the best version of themselves and their lives. So next time you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed or someone else’s Instagram account, remember, you’re only getting a snapshot of that person’s life, not the entire picture.
Be Aware of Smoke and Mirrors
Just like money doesn’t buy happiness, neither does beauty. And beauty isn’t skin deep. Stop and think about how superficial it is to compare yourself to someone else solely based on their looks. And looks can be deceiving.
If you don’t know someone extremely well then what you see on the outside is no real indication of the life they lead on the inside. In fact, some people that project a perfect life outwardly are truly struggling internally. People are naturally guarded, which means unless someone is a close friend, they aren’t going to respond to the question “How are you?” with something that sounds like this – “Terrible. I think my husband’s cheating on me, I just lost my job, and I can’t afford to pay my mortgage”. Granted, someone may be going through all of those things internally but are projecting a happy, positive facade. Don’t let looks fool you and certainly don’t allow yourself to feel bad about your own internal struggles. Trust me, everyone has them.
Focus on the Positives
The best way to stop comparing yourself to others is to focus on your positives. When a negative thought enters your mind or you find yourself criticizing yourself, replace that thought with another. Men. Instead of focusing on your receding hairline and spare tire, projects confidence over your amazing eyes and muscular chest. Ladies. Stop comparing your flabby arms and thick waist to other’s. Why not focus on your killer legs and smile? Take those negative thoughts and flip them around. And remember, just as you’re coveting someone else’s attributes, they’re likely coveting something wonderful about you.
Turn Comparison into a Motivation
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Use your fascination with someone else as motivation to better yourself. Do you envy your friend who works from home but feel stuck at your 9-5 desk job? Do something about it! Polish up your resume and start searching for remote work online. Is there someone in your life who dedicates hours of their time to charity work? Do you want to be more like them? Well, you can! Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself and saying, “I wish I could be more like that”, look inside yourself and find ways to make it happen. Don’t let comparison bring you down, instead, let it lift you up.
You Have the Power
Falling into a comparison rut is a lot of feeling sorry for yourself. Instead of wishing for what others have, it’s about being proactive and going after it yourself. Avoiding comparison is also about self-acceptance. There are certain things you cannot change. Accepting this will help you maintain a positive mind frame. And, remember, everyone puts on a good show. No one is living a perfect existence, no matter how it may appear from the outside. Live your version of the perfect life because you never know who you may be motivating.