Curbing the Comparison Game
By Vanessa Palencia
I’m guilty of playing the comparison game. Whenever I’d stand next to another girl shorter than me, I would automatically tell myself that I’m a giant and that I’m not dainty or feminine for that reason. Whenever I’d be besides a girl who told me that she was a size 4, I would program myself to see my size 8 as an overweight number and convince myself that I needed to be on a strict, regimented diet. Whenever I’d see a girl dressed to the nines, I would deem myself as unworthy of attraction of the opposite sex as if my worth was determined by the number of guys pursuing me.
These are all horrible thought processes! There’s no valid reasoning behind any of them. They’re all based on purely illogical assumptions that I’ve convinced myself to adhere to. Nothing more. Yet, somehow these negative thought processes led to my diminished self worth. Comparing yourself to someone else hardly ever leads to a positive self image because when we compare ourselves to someone else, we’re comparing ourselves to an idealized version of that person.
Nobody is perfect. In somebody else’s eyes, I might seem like this perfect person leading a perfect life, but they don’t know the mental, emotional, and physical struggles I go through. The person whose life, body, or job you want may have had to go through hell before getting to where they are now, or perhaps they’re not satisfied with what they’ve got. Like Joshua Becker puts it, “We typically compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others.” That needs to stop now.
Once we let go of comparing ourselves to others, we’ll free ourselves to embrace who we are, love others fully, and learn to turn everything we touch to gold. So how do we curb the comparison game? Read this list carefully and practice them daily.
1. Recognize when you’re comparing
This is one of the most important steps ever! It’s crucial that you become aware of moments when you’re comparing yourself unfavorably to someone else. It’ll help you to recognize when it’s happening, why it started, and how to fix it.
2. Counter your comparison game with positive thoughts
Stop those comparison thoughts in their tracks and show yourself some love. Remember, we’re all unique and possess different qualities and skills that another person doesn’t. So instead of putting yourself down, take a step back and focus on everything that you love about yourself. It may come off as forceful and rigid at first, but overtime it will come naturally to you.
3. Unplug yourself from social media
While social media is a great tool to keep in touch with family and friends, it contributes to the comparison game by displaying the best and most perfect moments of people’s lives. No one is ever that perfect all the time. By unplugging, you’ll allow yourself to enjoy and appreciate the present and learn to differentiate real life versus the life portrayed on social media.
4. Find gratitude
Finding gratitude in what we have in our lives, even in the little things, propels us into positive grounds. There’s so much to be grateful for, so let’s not waste our time by focusing on what we don’t have.
5. Learn to appreciate the other person
It might take some time and effort, but once you learn to appreciate the person you’re comparing yourself to, you start to fight back the negative chatter in your head.
6. Celebrate your uniqueness
Make it a practice to appreciate your body, mind, and soul on a daily basis. If you love your job or you love the way you find solutions to problems, then focus on the positive feelings associated with those things. Once you realize that you are completely unique and special, and that there’s no one else in this world that can be exactly who you are, you’ll recognize your value. You are priceless.
Learning to curb the comparison game is an ongoing practice. The temptation to compare yourself to someone else can be great. Like I said, nobody’s perfect. Even when we’ve fully embraced ourselves, the invitation to compare is still there, but it’s our strength and will-power to not allow ourselves to succumb to such a pessimistic way of thinking that will determine our character and the life we lead. So next time you find yourself comparing unfavorably, take a deep breath and follow the steps above.