In this age of social media, it’s as if the world around us is constantly telling us that we’re not good enough. That we’re not accomplishing enough, or making enough money, or that our bodies and appearances just aren’t enough, etc. etc. So we fall victim to the comparison game; the scrolling through our feeds wondering why we don’t look that way, have that many followers, live that life, have that job. Trust me, I get it, we’ve all been there.
But as we’ve also all heard many times before, this is far from healthy. And as much as we try to shake the need to compare, we often find ourselves right back where we started.
That’s why I’ve created a post with a few tips to remind you (and myself) why comparison actually makes us miserable and how to stop TODAY:
Why you shouldn’t compare yourself:
1. It only slows you down
Have you ever heard that saying about the two racers where the one who looks back to see where the other is, is slowed down, and the one who looks straight ahead, wins? Well, when you compare yourself, you are the racer who looks back.
By this I mean that by wasting your time checking and comparing the progress of others to your own, you are taking valuable time away from focusing on yourself. You are hindering your own growth when you allow the strengths of others to be an indicator of your weaknesses.
Not only does this impact your mental health, but it also keeps you from appreciating your own strengths and using them to propel yourself forward.
2. You LITERALLY can’t be anyone else, no matter how hard you try
For me, when I think of it this way, the concept of comparing myself almost sounds silly. Sure, it’s 100% acceptable to look up to/ be inspired by someone, but it should only go that far.
You cannot be anyone else; you cannot cry, pray, or wish yourself into another person (well, in a literal context), but that’s okay! You shouldn’t want too. You have your own unique set of [AMAZING] qualities that separate you from everyone else, and that is a power within itself! (“No one is you and that is your power” – unknown)
3. Not everything is what it seems
About a week ago I stumbled upon an instagram page (@beauty.false) exposing how instagram models and influencers have photoshopped their photos. My immediate thoughts were, wow, so many women spend so much time trying to look like these women, and not even these women look like these women (That’s So Raven throwback, if you know, you know).
I am not mentioning this for the purpose of exposing/tearing down other women (because these women would be beautiful with or without photoshop), but to point out how we make unfair comparisons based on others who are only putting forth their best selves– on social media, and in life. We’ve all heard the saying “instagram is like a highlight reel” that’s because no one posts their failures or insecurities on social media– or tells you about them if you aren’t close. You only know your own insecurities, and you are using THAT to compare to a highlight reel… think about it.
How to stop:
1. Use the successes of others as the fuel for your own
I think we often convince ourselves that when other people are successful, it means we can’t be. But that’s not how it works. The universe isn’t all like “ope, well they already did it, so that’s it, you’re out of luck.” There’s room for everyone to succeed!
So stop viewing other people’s achievements as a reflection of what you’re doing wrong. Like I’ve said before, you are not a failure because of other people’s successes. Instead, let it inspire you. Use their example as a reminder that it’s been done before, which confirms that you can 100% do it too.
2. Positive affirmations to yourself
Nobody is perfect– not you, not me, not even Beyonce. But when we constantly focus on our imperfections by comparing ourselves, we are consciously, and subconsciously, creating a negative self-perception– which can be very dangerous to our self-esteem.
Instead, focus on all of the wonderful things that make you YOU. Instead of scrolling through your feed and saying to yourself “I wish I looked like that” tell yourself “she is beautiful, and– (not but)– I am beautiful too.” Remind yourself of your strengths and things you’ve accomplished, and don’t forget to be grateful for all of the things you have going for yourself.
3. Trust YOUR journey
Last but not least, focus on YOUR journey! I cannot stress this enough. We are often too focused on the people around us, that we forget about what’s right in front of us– the power to change our own outcomes.
Nobody’s path looks the same, and that’s okay. We all have different strengths and weaknesses that define us, as well as different circumstances. So comparing yourself to other doesn’t even make sense when you think about it, there is no way to accurately measure your work and success in comparison to others.
When you focus on bettering yourself and creating your own lane, everyone else’s around you will disappear. You are not like anyone else, nor should you try to be. Trust yourself, your gut, and God (or whatever higher power you may or may not believe in), and be so enthralled with your own growth, that you don’t have to look for anyone else’s for validation.
The only person you should be in competition with, is yourself.
My pastor once said, anyone can impersonate a celebrity… you can study their mannerisms, how they walk, how they talk, how they act… and you might even succeed in getting them down. But for them, it’s natural, they don’t have to try to do anything, because they just are. While you’re spending so much time trying to be like them– comparing yourself to them, they are just being themselves, and only they can be themselves, because there will always only be one of them, just like there will always be only one of you.
He said, “why be a copy, when you can just be original?
And you, my friend, are original.
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