“Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life.” - Jen Sincero
I see acts of comparison and hear about people’s experiences of comparing themselves to others often these days. It can be easy to get caught up in what others are doing, especially since people can take in so much information through not only in-person interactions with others, but also through social media.
Focusing on the seemingly perfect lives of others can sometimes trigger us to question if we’re living it up enough in our own lives. Throw in what often appears to be many overnight successes of musicians, business moguls, weight-loss success stories, etc., and we’re in a complete spiral that can cause us to feel like we’re completely losing at this whole “life” thing.
Our perception of how perfect other people’s lives can be creates a huge illusion that we’re not good enough, that we’re doing something wrong, and that we’ve missed something along the way.
Recently, an Instagram follower asked this question: How do I get over comparing myself to others?
As I felt the response come to me, I was of course was greeted by reality.
The thing is, comparison is real and it's something that we all do. I'm not sure if we can ever make it completely go away. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to find a way to get over it 100 percent.
I do think, however, that there are steps we can take to work through those moments where we find ourselves comparing ourselves to others.
Below are some alternative perspectives to comparison, and some suggested action steps to help move you forward. My intention is that these are valuable to you on your path to finding effective ways to manage that pesky urge to compare.
1. When you feel that act of comparison come up, that is called a trigger. Ask yourself, “What is being triggered inside of me?”
Say you see your friend Jane traveling the beaches of the world, and that causes you to go into a state of comparison. Why is that? Is it because you want to be traveling more? Have you been putting off that tropical vacation too long? Maybe you see your friend Dave sharing photos of a yummy dinner out with his girlfriend Kate, and you find yourself going into a state of comparison. Why is that? Do you feel like you’re ready to find someone to share special moments with? Maybe you’re triggered when you see John living a freedom-based lifestyle because of his success and dedication to building his dream business. Why is that causing comparison? Are you feeling regret for not remaining dedicated to building your own thing?
Take the time to look at that area of your life. And trust me, I know that this can take some courage, so I’m sending loads of respect to you for being brave enough to do it (many people will not).
Suggested action: When you discover the reason why you’re triggered to go into comparison, think of what steps you can do to change your own situation on that subject.
Do you need to make changes in your budget, create a second source of income to dedicate to travel, or simply prioritize planning vacations more?
Is it time for you to set the intention to get out more and becoming more social to be able to meet your ideal mate, or taking time to do the internal work that might be blocking you from letting someone in to your life?
Is now finally the time for you to start taking your dreams more seriously and devise a plan to create that business that will allow you to live your dream lifestyle?
2. Bring yourself back to your life, what you want, and what you’re focusing on.
Sometimes when we feel the need to compare, it comes from the land of the “shoulds”. Ah, should I have purchased a four-bedroom house like my friend Nancy? Should I have taken the career direction that Beth took?
It’s so crucial that we know the difference between what we truly want for our lives vs. what we think we should have compared to others. Ensure you’re doing what lights you up in life. If you don’t know what that is yet, that’s ok, click here for some steps to help you get there.
If you are doing what you love and are confident in the things you know you want out of life, then come back to that space. Remember that you’re doing you. You have your own dreams, goals, and all the wonderful things that make you you, and that make your life truly unique.
Suggested action: When you feel yourself comparing decisions you’ve made vs. the decisions others have made, ask yourself: “Well, is that what I really want?” Come back to what you’re creating for your life based on what lights you up, sets your soul on fire, and makes your heart flutter. Please always remember that there is just one you. You are here on this earth to bring something unique to this co-creation of life that we’re all a part of. And this doesn’t mean that you have to be Mark Zuckerberg or Sara Blakely. Even if you’re number one goal is to just bring positive energy to those you interact with….fantastic, and THANK YOU because it is so much needed. Your life is uniquely for you.
This action can be even more effective if you decide to take a break. Really look at when and where you’re finding yourself comparing your life to others’. Is it when you scroll Facebook? Maybe it’s time to take a break from social media. This can also help you immensly to come back to you, your goals and dreams, and to help you refocus on what it is your truly want, instead of getting distracted by what’s happening all around you. Also, time away from scrolling and comparison literally gives you more time back in your life to focus on creating more of what you want.
3. Discern what you focus on.
If being on social media sets off a comparison trigger for you, please know that most of what people post online is their life’s highlight reel. The best stuff. The good moments. The fabulous nights out. The yearly vacay pics. Even in real life; a birthday celebration, bridal shower, any kind of social gathering. These events and limited times we see and spend with others are just that -- limited glimpses into the highlights of their lives. And if you focus only on those highlights, its can oftentimes leave you feeling like a) you’re always missing out, or b) cause you to feel like your life is not exciting enough. Remember always that no one has a perfect life. No one has it all together or has all the answers. Everyone experiences great highs in life, and everyone experiences the lows, too.
Suggested action: See step 4.
4. Be appreciative for what you have.
I know, I know. You’ve probably heard this many times, but there’s good reason for it. When you’re in appreciation and grateful for what you have and what is in your life, it puts you in a high vibrational state that lines you up to the highest vibrations of source energy, the great bit Universe that’s here with you, wanting so badly to support you. And in turn, the co-creative energy of the Universe can work more closely with you and present to you more things to be grateful for.
You might be comparing yourself to someone else’s good fortune, but honey, there is someone out there comparing their life to yours. Remember what you do have, even if it’s the opportunity to be here, now, living and experience this thing called life on earth.
Suggested action: When you’re in that act of comparison, stop. Think about even just one thing that you love about your own life, and bask in the joyous feeling of it. Do you enjoy the work you do? Great, really sit with the appreciation that you get to do something you enjoy (many don’t). Do you love where you live? Awesome. Sit with that, or better yet, go out for a walk and take in the energy of what you love about your neighborhood.
Comparison being the fastest way to take the fun out of life is a true story, my friends. Just keep focusing on what you’re creating, living, and experiencing. And keep having fun with it all. And if you get honest with yourself and find areas that are triggers for you that you want to intentionally change, know that I’m sending loads of respect to you for getting real with yourself and allowing those feelings of comparison to move you into the direction you want to go.