You know that feeling. You wake up on the wrong side of bed and just feel down for no apparent reason. After reluctantly getting ready, you hop onto Instagram and see that a bunch of your friends posted pictures and they look absolutely gorgeous. Stunning from head to toe. And all you can think is that you’re completely unattractive. You find a million things about yourself that you loathe.
What? You don’t know the feeling? Dang, get it girl! Or guy. More power to you!
The rest of us though—I feel you. You’re definitely not alone.
It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, in any aspect of our lives. It could be comparing our physical appearances, school grades, social status, relationships, career progression, just anything at all.
We already know that comparing ourselves is never helpful. We know that each and every one of us is beautiful, smart and successful in our own ways. It all comes down to perspective.
Why do we still do it then? Why put ourselves through the unnecessary suffering?
Well, unfortunately in this instance, we’re human and there’s a tendency to feel that there’s always something better—a better body, a better job, a better partner, a better place. I’m guilty of it myself.
Here’s what I think, though. You always have a choice on where your thoughts go. Maybe you can’t help thinking something, but you can decide that the thought stops right there, or you can dwell on it for hours, even days on end.
Know how to differentiate between helpful and unhelpful thoughts
When I started doing a meditation practice following an app called Headspace, one of the practices was knowing how to identify unhelpful thoughts. It’s normal to feel a little negative, but it’s also important not to try to suppress the thought.
The process is to identify the negative thought, let it float around in your mind a little, and then let it go. It no longer serves you, and it isn’t you. It isn’t your reality. It’s simply a thought passing through.
Find (good) distractions
Sometimes all we need is a distraction from the thinking mind. Exercise is a common one. But as someone who’s an advocate for doing the things that make you feel good, I think it doesn’t need to be something extremely exertive. Something as simple as taking a walk does wonders in my opinion.
Find your thing and make it a reminder whenever you feel caught up in feelings of jealousy and envy.
Talk about it
Not everyone likes talking about their innermost thoughts and feelings, and that’s okay. We all have different ways of dealing with our struggles and pains. But I find it helpful to voice out the things I’m going through.
Opening up to your loved ones, whether friends or family, can really help you to make sense of why you’re feeling the way you are. If that person knows you really well, they could work through the thoughts and feelings with you.
But even if you don’t have that person in your life, just sharing what you’re going through can help you feel a lot better. I know this from personal experience as I’ve been vulnerable to a few people who don’t really know me that well, but whom I find I can be open with.
Take a digital hiatus
I believe that social media has amplified feelings of envy and insecurity for a lot of us. Because of this, I took steps to remove it from my life, temporarily, just to see where it would take me.
For a week, I went without Instagram on my phone, as that’s my biggest social media addiction. And let me tell you, it made a world of a difference. Even after reinstalling it, I felt like it was no longer the same sort of habit that I had. Instead of feeling like the images controlled my perspective, I chose what I wanted to see. I also started having less of a need to post something all the time.
It was a breath of fresh air that I needed badly at that time of my life. I’d gladly do it again any time I feel that I need it.
If there’s anything at all that you take away from this article, I hope that it’s encouraged you to find what you need to make yourself feel more empowered as you. Wholly you.
Because the truth is, as John Legend famously put it in his song “All of Me,” you are perfectly imperfect the way you are. You just choose not to see your beauty. You choose not to see the immense capability and strength to do what you want that are already inherently in you. You choose not to see the treasures and the blessings that are right there, all around you.