Nothing drains motivation or empowerment faster than comparing ourselves to others. We compare our financial status, jobs, bodies, relationships, clothes, among other things to those of other people. We all do it whether we’re aware of it or not, and it can be a dangerous road to go down.
My first memory of comparing myself to someone else started relatively early. I would constantly compare myself to my sister, who not only got better grades than I did, but also had the coolest clothes, my friends always talked about how pretty she was and I just thought the world of her (still do!). Quick side story- my first “boyfriend” in middle school broke up with me and then bought her a bracelet for Valentine’s Day…if that’s not crushing to a 6th grader than I don’t know what is!! How could I not compare and want to be just like her? Despite being at least 6 inches taller and a lot heavier, I would try like hell to fit into her clothes and do whatever she did to be like her because to me she was just so cool.
Another example is a few years ago when I decided to train for a Figure competition. I began following a bunch of Pro competitors on social media. My Facebook and Instagram feeds were swarmed with pictures of Nicole Wilkins, Erin Stern and other top competitors. I would look at their stage shots and compare my body to theirs. I told myself over and over that I’d never be as lean/ripped/muscular as they were- which in hindsight was true because I was not willing to make the sacrifices that these woman made aside from the fact that my body was not my full-time job – and thus, my self-esteem and self-worth went down the drain.
Comparing ourselves to others holds us back big time because we attach ourselves to whatever story people put out there for us to see. This is dangerous because there’s often a lack of transparency in what people put out there, and that’s ok because we’re all entitled to share what we want, but for those of us who tend to compare we have to realize that we’re only getting a snapshot of the whole story. This is the “don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20” thing. Take the competitors for example. On social media, it can look like they have it all together (although more and more they are coming out with their struggles). They always prep their food perfectly, never veer off-plan, kill each and every workout and they always have big, gleaming smiles on. They don’t seem to struggle at all. What we don’t usually see is where they were when they started, how long it took them to get to this point, all they’ve given up along the way and how much they struggle with the strict lifestyle.
It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others but there are a few strategies we can use to stop comparison in its track. Below are my top 4 strategies for killing comparison.
Clean Up Social Media
Anyone you compare yourself to, unfollow. Anyone that doesn’t make you feel good, unfollow. Anyone hindering your progress in any way, unfollow. You won’t miss them, I promise 🙂
Give Yourself Credit
Become innately aware of everything you’ve accomplished and all of your successes. Focus on all you have instead of focusing on what others have. What are you doing well? What have you accomplished? Which of your strengths can you use to reach your goals?
Being thankful for everything we have immediately brings us back to the present and brings it back to YOU. When we recognize all the good things in our lives it’s easy to forget about what we don’t have.
If you have to compare, compare to yourself.
Why not strive to be the best possible versions of ourselves? This not only benefits us but also enhances what we can offer to others. Work hard to take care of yourself physically and emotionally and commit to growing a little bit each day. Read a self-development book or listen to an audiobook or podcast (I have some great recommendations if needed!), journal, whatever works for you!
Remember, comparisons are based on an illusion we create about a person or situation that might not even be true. We play into the story that we’re given and build our assumptions around that. Remember that those we admire have screwed up, felt pain, felt lonely, felt not good enough, have eaten crap and skipped workouts…just like you and just like me. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others but just remember that nothing good ever comes from it. So let’s stop comparing ourselves to others. There is no sense wasting our energy this way. Instead, start living your life however you wants to and be determined to do the best you can at it!