How to Stop Comparing to Reduce Your Anxiety
Most, if not all, of us, do this. “Look at what they did to their house! Why can’t we have something like that?” “Wow, her life is so great, look at this vacation they took! My life is so boring.” “She is so successful, I could never be so successful, I should quit.” Our inner and outer dialog is depressing. We think “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not _____”. Insert your comparison.
Ugh! It’s terrible, right?
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
― Zen Shin
Comparing your life to others has GOT TO STOP.
Comparing steals your joy! It’s the Hamburgler of pleasure.
If you want to feel better, and reduce your anxiety, you must stop comparing yourself to others and learn you are enough. I mean, I did it. OK, ok, sometimes, I still catch myself doing it. I’m only human.
The point is to catch yourself, go into prevention mode, and break the nasty comparison habit.
This post continues with the 4-part blog series to have a better day, leading to a better life. First, we talked about gratitude, and then the benefits of meditation, and we looked at how to stop complaining – all ways to help you limit the anxiety in your life. This post is about how to stop comparing yourself to others.
estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.
Why you need to stop comparing
Ok, I know this is hard. We grew up comparing ourselves to others, in fact, our parents were helping us with that? Right? “Look how nicely behaved she is”, “Your older sister has better grades than you.”
This comparison did not stop in childhood. It’s dripping all over our lives now.
For instance, you might be the only one of your friends not living in “happily ever after” and you wonder what is wrong with you. NOTHING IS.
Comparing is about fitting in, competition, and trying to look better than another. It lacks compassion, authenticity, creativity, and it teaches us to devalue ourselves. This lack heightens anxiety, disappointment, envy, and shame.
In the end, you feel WORSE about yourself and your situation. Having the awareness of when a habit is harming you is important as that will allow you to change the negative habit.
Every time we compare, it makes us feel inadequate and inferior. It causes our hormones to go wonky due to the high-stress levels and can negatively impact our mental, spiritual, and physical health.
ErMaGawd. I’m so done with this terrible comparison messing up my health, aren’t you?
Ways comparing fails us
It doesn’t show us the effort and behind the scenes. Sometimes, it took years or decades for a person to be where they are. Also, their life might be in shambles with depression, verge of divorce, their kids hate them, or they have no real friends, etc. but they have a ton of money. Is that really what you want to be like?
It’s a waste of time. Comparing is something that is harmful to our mental and physical health (see above with the stress and anxiety). Why put energy into something harmful?
It discounts your uniqueness. You’re an awesome bundle of unique strengths, weaknesses, feelings, desires, motivators, successes, etc. Shine YOUR light bright!
What to do instead
I’m glad we are on the same page that you want to quit the habit the creates anxiety, shame, jealousy and unhappiness in your life. If you were like me, you want this, but maybe you don’t know how to do it. Here are some ideas to help you stop this negative habit.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to your past. Honestly, we are all on a separate path and develop skills, awareness, etc. at different times. Plus, we most often don’t want to end up at the same destination. So, look at where you were 1 year ago, or 5 years ago. With where you are now, how do you measure up from where you were?
- Still in the same spot? Egad. Get a coach to get your butt a-movin.
- See a lot of growth or movement? Sweet! Give yourself a pat on the back. Go ahead! I’ll wait!
- See decline? Take a moment for self-assessment. What is going on? Do you need a therapist, coach, or something else?
Instead of comparing yourself to others for your personal motivation (which most often will backfire and we will only see what we don’t have) choose to look at the similarities of HABITS. I mean, we are all human here.
- Seeing the similarities will motivate you – for example “If they could do it, so can I”
- Noticing the patterns or habits of another that you admire, can help enforce your own positive habits. Do they get up early in the AM and you do too? SWEET! You are on the right track.
- See the common human bonds so you feel a sense of connection. For example, your Facebook friend with all the “fun vacations” just wants to be loved. So, do you.
Possible ways to break the comparison trap. Pick 1 or 3 and experiment to see what works for you. Keep testing it out until you have a successful recipe.
- Express gratitude daily
- Connect to compassion by seeing they are a human with needs like yours
- See the positive of what you can learn and learn it! Beware! Do not go down the negative, woe is me attitude. This is about personal growth, not poor me.
- Have a mantra of “I am enough”
- Build up your self-esteem, confidence, and/or self-love
- Limit or eliminate time spent on social media. UNFOLLOW people/groups/pages/businesses.
- Limit your exposure to your triggers of comparison.
- Make a list of your accomplishments.
- Become very clear on what you want in your life and head towards it.
All in all
Honestly, comparing yourself to others isn’t ALWAYS a bad thing. The one time it can benefit you is when it wakes you up to your inner desires and aspirations.
If this happens, take action and focus your energy on attracting and getting what you want. If your life is improving and you are having growth, connection, and you’re thriving, have at it!
Otherwise, in short, making comparisons with others just sets you up for failure. Imagine if you could cultivate the comparison game to a positive art form. Stop comparing and seeing the lack, or negativity, which causes dark clouds of misery in your life.
Instead, use comparison as a positive to become a better person, make connections, and celebrate your uniqueness.
Share this post with friends that you know can benefit from the comparison train wreck!
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