Comparison is the thief of joy
We know that comparing ourselves to other people isn’t good for us — we’ve heard it from spiritual leaders and teachers, we’ve read it in books, we’ve seen it in memes, and we’ve felt that toxic feeling in our gut when we engage in it…
So then why, in the name of organic vegan brownies, do we keep doing it?!
There are plenty of reasons why you might be sliding into a comparisonitis spiral, even though you know it’s sucking your joy. Here are some of the main ones:
- We compare ourselves when we let our inner critic tell us there’s something lacking within us. Maybe we think we don’t have the smarts to start our dream business. Maybe we think we aren’t sexy or attractive enough to call in a romantic relationship. Maybe we think we aren’t healthy enough to fall pregnant and so we compare ourselves to all the women who are getting pregnant… but none of this is actually helpful.
- We compare when we have a lack of self-worth. When we don’t think we deserve that which we truly desire. But again, it’s not actually a helpful behavior to engage in.
- We compare when we believe there isn’t enough to go around. When we see others getting a piece of the pie that we want, and we start to worry there won’t be a slice leftover for us. (Just a little hint: there IS always enough pie to go around. Always.)
- We compare when we are not staying in our own lane. When we are looking to our left to see what Bob is doing, and to our right to check out what Sally is up to, we can slide into comparison instead of putting our horse blinkers on, staying in our own lane, and running our own race.
- We compare because we have been conditioned by society and the patriarchy that success looks a certain way. From the moment we come out of the womb, we are bombarded with messaging that says success is going to school, getting a degree, getting a job, getting married, buying a home, having kids, retiring in our 60’s and that’s it. So we look at other people to compare where we’re all sitting on the ladder that none of us asked for. The good news is that YOU get to define your own definition of success. How cool is that?!
- We compare because we have a lack of belief and confidence in ourselves. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” My friend’s 15-year-old daughter was about to give her first big speech at school and she was telling me she feels scared, not confident and she doesn’t believe in herself. I told her my little secret technique I do before I walk out on any stage to give a talk. ‘You have to put on your imaginary Confidence Coat’, I told her. ‘What’s that?’ she asked. ‘It’s a big Harry Potter style cloak that, when you wear it, gives you all the confidence you need’. She loved the idea and a few days later I got a text from her saying it worked and she nailed her speech. So don’t forget to put on your Confidence Coat whenever you need it.
- We compare because our inner critic tells us we are behind or lacking something. We look at others on social media and think they know more than us, or they are ahead of us, or that they are an overnight success. Spoiler alert: there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Most ‘overnight successes’ have been working their buns off for years, so don’t compare your Chapter One to someone else’s Chapter Ten.
How To Quit Comparing:
- Master your inner critic.
- Dial up your worthy-o-meter. When you are a 10 on the worthy-o-meter scale, you won’t be comparing yourself to others. When you feel your worthy-o-meter slide down below a 10, dial it back up. Say out loud, ‘I’m worthy of all the love, health, abundance, happiness, and joy in the world’. Feel it with every cell in your body and every fiber of your being and don’t stop saying it until you 100% feel it. You can also do any of my Mastering Your Mean Girl Meditations or a self-worth tapping session to help you dial it right up.
- Up your self-love. Self-love is a feeling and when you feel overflowing with self-love, you won’t be comparing yourself to anyone else. I used to have zero self-love until I created my self-love menu which is basically a menu of 10 things that fill me up from the inside out, not the outside in (like, say, ice cream does). Things like watching a sunrise or sunset, reading a good book in the park, diving in the ocean, feeling the sand under my toes, meditating, having a cup of tea in the sun, cooking my favorite meal, or taking an Epsom salt and essential oil bath. Each day I would then do one thing from my self-love menu to make sure I felt overflowing with self-love. I created a beautiful self-love menu for you which you can get (totally free) at right here.
- Tell yourself, ‘there is always enough to go around’ because there always is in ALL WAYS.
- Stay in your own lane. Put your blinkers on and run your own race. Remember, no one is the same as you, and no one has the same skills, experiences and circumstances as you, so quit comparing and stay in your own lane.
- Remove your triggers. Whatever triggers you to compare yourself to others, remove it from your life. Do a social media, magazine, or movie detox. Remove yourself from the triggers so you can heal the wound. This isn’t about avoiding or suppressing the triggers so you don’t get triggered (this is not spiritual bypassing). Instead, it’s about giving yourself some space to heal. Think of it like this… imagine you fell over and cut your knee open. If you keep picking at the scab it will never heal, but if you give it some time, space, leave it the heck alone and allow it to heal… it will. So don’t keep picking your scab. Remove yourself from the triggers for the time being, until you feel full within yourself, then you can go back to those things.
- Celebrate all your achievements, big and small. This is a great way to sidestep the comparison game. Open a blank document on your computer, and title it something like, ‘Achievements’. Then at the top of the page, put the month and year and list all your achievements no matter how big or small each month. For example, I launched my ebook, I bought the domain name for my new business, I sold my house, I bought my dream home, I didn’t yell at my kids when they tipped their paint all over the floor, I’m pregnant, I got an ‘A’ on my exam and so on. Add everything, no matter how big or small, to this list whenever you achieve something. Then whenever you are feeling flat, or you go to compare yourself to someone else, read this list and be proud of all that you have achieved.
- Upgrade your operating system. Choose to upgrade your internal operating system to one where envy and comparison do not exist. It’s a choice, your choice!
- Remember, the surface of other people’s lives — including their highlight reel on social media — is not a fair representation of what’s going on for them, so don’t compare their outside to your inside.
- Get grateful. A sure-fire way to get out of comparison is to write down or say out loud a minimum of 3 things you are grateful for.
Do you have anything to add? I would love to hear your ideas. Pop them in the comments and let’s create an epic resource we can all revisit, whenever we feel like we’re getting sucked into the trap of comparisonitis.
Thank you so much for this article- I really needed it!
I have been feeling very overwhelmed with everything going on in the world. I came to realise that I was comparing myself to friends and family working from home who are getting amazing home and self-improvement projects done with the extra time.
I was starting to feel down about not getting more done and comparing constantly – ‘I bet Sally’s house is spotless right now, I should clean xyz before bed’
I really needed the reminder to stay in my own lane and be grateful for what I have.
Thanks a million!
Staying in your own lane is key honey and be kind to your beautiful self. xx
Love this! All seems so obvious yet we have to constantly remind ourselves! I’m going to do the talking session now!! Xoxo
Little reminders each day are super supportive honey. Enjoy the tapping session and let me know how you feel after. xx
Im so grateful for you and what you are putting out there into the universe.
I have your books Mastering your mean girl and Open wide and I re-read chapters of them each night and reflect on how I’m going. Your words inspire me to keep digging deeper and has opened up so much in my relationships, especially the one with myself.
Just wanted to tell you that you do make a difference, you are amazing and you have changed lives because you have followed your truth and inspired others to do the same!
So grateful and sending so much love and positive vibes your way hun!
Thank you so much for your kind words Katie, I’m beyond grateful and sending you so much love. xx
Love this, Melissa! I can really recommend a compassion meditation, so I am full of my inner white light and send this to ALL other people, especially to those with whom I have a difficult/ challenging relationship…so my light dissolves all the conflicts! <3
Great idea Amanda. Thanks for the tip. xx