Have you ever had the experience of walking into your own house and automatically you notice all the things that haven’t been cleaned or projects that need to be finished? Then when you go over to your friend’s house what you notice are the newly framed family photos or that she just made cookies and they small amazing?
It’s the same with our health and wellness. It’s so easy to tune into all of the things we dislike about ourselves while simultaneously feeling like everyone else has it so much more together.
Comparing ourselves to others is an incredibly effective way of negatively impacting our self-esteem, health and happiness.
Feelings of jealousy, discontent, and inadequacy are all things that cause us stress and unhappiness.
And just like anything else in our lives, the more we do it the more it can become a habit to the point where dissatisfaction feels normal.
So how do you break out of the comparison game?
Next time you notice your self-esteem plummeting as you stand next to that seemingly perfect woman at ballet barre who’s not even breaking a sweat, try out these simple techniques:
Tune in to Your Thoughts
You can’t change your thoughts until you recognize that you are having them. Notice when you start comparing yourself to others and then without self-judgement try to approach it from a standpoint of curiosity. Curiosity itself is a great antidote to negative feelings.
Identifying Your Strengths
I work with talented, smart, wonderful women. But when I ask them to tell me about their greatest strengths and best qualities they almost unanimously struggle with it. Maybe it’s because we’re worried about seeming self-centered or proud.
But knowing your own strengths and focusing on them is a great way to recognize that you don’t need to compare yourself to others because you are unique and amazing in your own right.
Write down three things you love about yourself. It’s not boastful – it’s just for you. When you are feeling less than stellar you will have this list to come back to and focus on to help you remember that you are incredible in your own way.
Shift from Jealousy to Admiration
Sometimes all you need to feel better is a small shift in the way you look at things. Instead of feeling jealous of your office mate who always leaves right on time to get her run in, can you admire her for setting clear boundaries between work and home life and making exercise a priority? The smallest shift in mindset moves you from jealousy to admiration and will have a huge impact on your health and happiness.
Remember What’s Important
It’s worth taking the time to identify what you value most in life because then the other stuff doesn’t matter so much. Your time, energy and thoughts are all limited resources. Spend them on what matters to you most and try to let go of caring so much about the other stuff.
Accept Where You Are
Yes, it might be frustrating to look around and feel like everyone else is already where you want to be, but remember nobody started out there. If there are things you really want to change in your life you can do it but it takes time and dedication. Be kind to yourself on that journey and recognize that every step is a necessary part of the process. Stay focused on your own work and put your time and energy into self-improvement rather than negative thoughts.
When you are feeling unhappy or unsatisfied with your life compared to others, it can feel hard to be grateful. That’s why making gratitude a habit is so important – so that you fall back on it almost automatically when things get bumpy. Taking a little time every day to write down a few things you are grateful for has been shown to have dramatic effects on health and long-term happiness. Crowd out that feeling of wanting what other people have by filling it up with gratitude for what you already do have.