How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others: Our Best Tips
We’ve all had those moments, you are sitting on the couch, chip crumbs laying a track across your sweater, and you open your phone to see your friends out picking berries, completing a race, or, even worse, swimming in crystal clear waters on some beautiful vacation.
Panic sets in.
What am I doing sitting here with empty Ruffles bags while Lisa is in Tahiti!?
You immediately decide that you too will have a picture-perfect vacation somewhere, pick berries, and make your own pie with them, and it all starts… NOW!
But we are here to tell you to stop. Constant self-comparison is not healthy. Our friends who are out enjoying their beautiful vacation may have been in a potato chip, Netflix-watching cave last week. But, even if they weren’t, you are you, and that is something to celebrate.
FOMO And Social Comparison: The Science of It All
Research shows that social media, in particular, causes us to have unrealistic expectations for our looks, weight, lifestyle, and more and can even give us a real fear of missing out (FOMO), which has similar effects as physical pain on our brains. None of this is healthy for us, and it is impacting younger generations more and more.
Comparison is the thief of joy. -Theodore Roosevelt
We have known that comparing ourselves to others isn’t a step on the path to happiness for years. Even before social media, there were sneakers and lifestyles to be jealous of, and our ancestors experienced social comparison as well. But, happy people don’t need to feel better than others. So how do you stop, or at least put habits in place to help you compare yourself less?
How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
1 | Notice How You Feel
We love this tip in Psychology Today by Susan Biali Haas, M.D.—she talks about bringing awareness to the situations that make you fall into the comparison trap. Do Lisa’s posts always make you feel less-than? Does watching Reality TV make you wonder why you don’t live in a mansion on a hill? Make a list of the things that make you feel bad, and then take steps to avoid or work through them. The article by Susan states, “Avoid comparison triggers if you can, especially if the activity or contact doesn’t add meaning or any real value to your life.”
2 | Work On Self-Acceptance
We can worry all we want about how we compare to others or start to actively love ourselves. Unconditional self-acceptance asks us to gain awareness of our strengths and weaknesses and accept them as they are. Happiness is more than just a feeling. We can actively practice it—one of the most potent ways to do that is through self-acceptance.
3 | Catch Your Negative Self-Talk
We get it. Many of us use self-deprecation to relate to or add a little comedy to a situation. But, negative self-talk is not good. It can manifest itself as something we say out loud or even the thoughts that go on in our heads. Just as positive self-talk can help us have a more positive outlook overall, negative self-talk can do the opposite. This can snowball into damaged relationships, depression, bad moods, and more. Note when you are feeling self-critical and try to change the thought. If you try to go for a run, for example, a few mins in, you might think, “This is so hard, I am a bad runner!” the best you may be able to do at that moment is just to notice that you were negative to yourself. But, if you can, you can also say, “I am building stronger cardiovascular health.” Switch a negative to a positive enough times, and it might just become a habit.
4 | Practice Mindfulness
Meditation is a beautiful practice for a multitude of reasons. One of those is that it asks you to note the positive attributes you bring into the world. Often, when we get into a negative headspace, it can be hard to consider the good in us. When your run is going terribly, it can be hard to think about what a creative artist you are, for instance. But, being intentional about mindfulness meditation can change that for you. One study looked into patients with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and found that two months of meditation training helped improve their self-esteem.
5 | Define What Happiness Means To You
This may be the most important step of all. If you take a moment today to sit down and consider what true happiness looks like to you, you may notice that those things that bring up envy within you, those things you compare yourself to, aren’t even the things that you want in life. This is a great self-compassion exercise. Maybe you dream of becoming a teacher at a local school, and happiness looks like talking to a classroom of kids each day and then coming home to kick your feet up. Those reality TV comparisons of mega-mansions might not have as much weight after you write that down. When you sit down and define happiness for yourself, you won’t need to look to others for what that looks like.
You can work on feeling the benefits of self-acceptance and stop comparing yourself to others with our virtual wellness platform, iChuze Fitness. In the Mind section, you can find meditations, self-care tips, and more to get you in the right mindset to take on your day. Come on into any of our locations to experience the Chuze difference in person.