You've probably heard the saying 'Comparison is the thief of joy' but how does comparison affect you subconsciously every day? And how can you overcome it?
Your life, your reality and how you feel is essentially governed by your thoughts. It's only natural to look at outside situations and play the comparison game in your head, but how does that actually make you feel? I'm going to give you 5 ways to move through comparison and feel more self confident and empowered, today.
There are 2 types of comparison - comparison to yourself (or your idea for yourself and where you 'should' be) and the commonly known, comparison to others.
You might notice comparison to yourself coming up as focusing on all of the 'shoulds' - things like 'I should be at this stage in life, have this certain thing, be at this point in my career, have hit these life milestones' and even 'I should be a certain weight or fitness level.'
Comparison to others is a more well known and obvious pattern, and is a lot more common with Social Media and being overly exposed to so many different people's lives and realties which, at the end of the day, leaves less focus and gratitude for your own life and achievements.
As with every mindset and thinking pattern, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. The strengths of comparison, both to self and to others, is that it can be a strong motivator and help you to set goals, take action steps and gain a sense of achievement to feel empowered.
On the other hand, the weakness of comparison is that it can leave you feeling flat and down about yourself. The key is to notice when you are leaning towards the strengths and use them to your advantage! And when you notice the weaknesses coming up, use some of these strategies:
The 2 parts of the brain that feel gratitude and comparison can not be activated at the same time. So the quickest way to move through comparison is to notice that you're doing it and switch to thinking about something you can be grateful for in that moment instead. It could be something as simple as the fact that you got to listen to your favourite podcast episode that day, you moved your body or that the sun is shining and you've gotten some fresh air.
This is also another reason why gratitude journaling is such a powerful practice because it actively switches on the gratitude centres of the brain to focus on feeling appreciation and happiness.
Find joy in the small things
It can be tempting to focus on what's next and get stuck in the 'I'll be happy when...' mindset. But the truth is, life is happening right now. Yes, big goals are important and help you to feel good, but there is also joy that can be found in appreciating the small things. Your coffee in the morning, prioritising yourself and moving your body, listening to your favourite song, a cup of tea and a book, making a nourishing meal.
Finding enjoyment in the small pockets of your day means there is more opportunity to bring in that gratitude and appreciation more often.
Change your language
Instead of focusing on all of the things you have to do, change your language to 'I choose to' instead. If your day is filled with thoughts of all of the things you have to do eg. I have to get out of bed, I need to have a shower, I have to work out, I've got to go to work etc. you are subconsciously telling yourself you're not actually doing anything because you WANT to!
Instead, change to 'I choose to work out today because...' and answer that because every single day. Because each day there could be a different why, and connecting to your why regularly is empowering.
Do a Social Media cull
You are over-exposed to other peoples lives more than ever before with the internet and social media. It's the quickest and easiest way to get stuck in the comparison trap. As with the first points, everything has it's strengths and weaknesses so I'm not going to tell you to get rid of social media entirely! But notice how you feel next time you're scrolling and if there's accounts you scroll past that make you feel less than, give them an unfollow or click mute.
Decide how you want to feel each day
You have around 60,000 thoughts each day. Around 95% of those thoughts are repeats from the previous days. Thinking about this statistic, it's easy to see how you can get stuck in a habit of comparison without even realising it. Give yourself the space to ask yourself 2 simple questions each morning:
1 - How do I want to feel today?
2 - What can I do today to move towards that feeling?
This is powerful because it stops the autopilot and gives you the opportunity to really consider how you want to feel and also opens up a huge range of possibilities for things you can do that day to move towards feeling that way. It actively stops comparison in it's tracks and invites the feel-good emotions to help you feel more like the best version of yourself.
If you're ready to ditch comparison, feel empowered and surround yourself with a community of like minded Women, join us in the Transform with Thessy program today.
Ami Rankin - Emotional Wellbeing Coach