Let’s talk about the comparison trap. In this digital day and social media age it is so easy to descend into a deep pit of comparing ourselves to others and more often than not, coming up short. We log onto that awesome, yet at times terrifyingly all-encompassing social media wonder tool, instagram and we’re bombarded with shiny happy images. Newlyweds, beautiful bikini bodies in stylish designer bikinis splashing about on stunning beaches all over the world, for like what? The 4th time already this year! (I mean, really! How?!) Couples having just bought their first home and would you just look at how big it is!? Healthy meals that look like they’ve taken an hour to prepare when you barely have time to shove a pre made salad in your face, whilst rushing from meeting to meeting. Weight loss stories that make you wonder if you should just give up your food together. This list could go on (and on) but you get my point!
You see these images and can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy, which then quickly turns into judgement. ‘Oh well she must be starving herself to have achieved that body in such a short space of time!’ ‘Ahh I’ll bet they have rich parents, funding that lifestyle – not like me, working hard to earn a living!’ Yep, throw in a good dollop of self-righteousness and you have yourself the ticket to feeling better about life. The only problem is, it doesn’t last! Judging others never, ever leads to positive, happy emotions. Another nasty little chain of events triggered from the comparison game? Comparison leads to jealousy, which results in shame at what you perceive to be your own inadequacy, oh hello victim mindset! Now you’re definitely not going anywhere fast.
The thing to remember and I know you will have heard this before, is that people only ever show the best bits! Seriously, even the most honest instagrammers and bloggers out there, will generally put their best foot forwards because let’s face it, no one likes to focus on the negative! Following on from this, if you really think about what your priorities are, you will most probably find it much easier to give yourself a bit of a break when berating yourself for not running more races in 2015, like your favourite running blogger! Running is often their main priority and something they’re often paid good money to do! If you’re totally honest with yourself, your priorities are probably completely different and that’s ok! I repeat, that’s ok!
When I find the green eyed monster is rearing it’s ugly head? I simply aim to be happy for whoever it is! (Stay with me here!) I think, wow, good for them!! That’s actually really inspiring me to work towards achieving that for myself. Then I start to think about how I can work towards that goal and before I know it, I’m not thinking about this other person, I’m thinking about myself and how I can get the best out of my own life, utilising what resources I have.
Negative to positive in 5 minutes flat!
If you struggle with the above idea maybe you could think about taking a little break? I mean, imagine how your day would go if you just avoided social media? You wake up next to someone you love, or you wake up star-fishing in bed, happily content in your own company. You wander into the kitchen still half dreaming about breakfast, the pot of coffee goes on and you start to slowly begin thinking about your day ahead. It’s very rare that you begin by judging yourself on how how small or untidy your home is or how messy your hair is, when you genuinely just #wokeuplikethis. You go to work or about your day having real, genuine human interactions with the people in your life. I’d bet that not once would you feel like a failure because you’re not brunching in some uber cool location dripping in designer gear. With good reason too, might I add! Because guess what? You’re NOT a failure! You are an amazing human working through life and experiencing the same struggles and successes as others, just not at the same time!
Finally, one more thing that helps me to avoid the comparison trap? Keeping a daily gratitude diary, it’s not in depth, heck it doesn’t even have to be a diary, it can be a scrap of paper if that’s all you have. Now, write down 3 things that you are grateful for in your life and about yourself. I tend to pick one person I’m grateful for, something in my life that I’m grateful for – this could be a job or a new opportunity, finally I think about something I’m grateful for in myself. Every day. Do it and prepare to be amazed at how quickly your mindset alters and you begin to see everything in a more positive, non jealous light.