Going Beyond Comparison
Comparison is everywhere we look today. Even right now, I’m comparing how easy it must be for others to write a blog.
Two decades ago we had limited access to what other people were up to in the world. Now we’re tuned in 24/7.
Studies show that as much as 10 percent of our thoughts involve comparisons of some kind. Depending on where you sit, maybe that feels like a conservative number.
This process gets an early start – at home.
82 percent of people grow up with siblings. These early relationships shape us in major ways, inherently contributing to the lens we see ourselves and others through.
Comparison was ripe for me growing up.
As a little sister to a fabulous big one, it was natural to notice the similarities and differences in our strengths and in the path I walked behind her.
Sometimes this is helpful. Comparison brings attention to a higher standard and can be a huge motivator to getting better at work and life.
More often than not, it’s the opposite.
Theodore Roosevelt famously called comparison “the thief of joy”.
Can you imagine what he’d be thinking today? Social media has catapulted this issue into the center of the arena and we’re collectively paying the price – at both work and home.
I find it a little ironic that I’m hitting this topic as we entered middle school last week.
Aside from the awkwardness we all remember, one of the most important distinctions about middle school is that kids begin shifting their awareness to others and the world around them. They begin to notice others more, and with that, become increasingly self-conscious and aware of what those others might think of them.
Fast forward to adulthood and many of us haven’t been able to break the pattern.
The hardest hit? Women.
According to research, approximately 90 percent of women compare themselves with other social media users, compared to 60 percent for men. As a result, a whopping 40 percent have a negative perception of themselves.
We know this and somehow we still find ourselves scrolling.
Last week I talked about our tendency to stall when we need to execute. And one of the biggest reasons we do that? We look around instead of ahead, and get way too focused on what others are doing.
It can feel good in the moment as you’re scrolling through Instagram, until 30 minutes later and you’re knee-deep in a random person’s family reunion pictures and you’ve lost all track of time.
One of those breaks may not make a dent, but it can become a snowball that’s rolling downhill fast.
Comparison is killing what we’re trying to create.
It keeps us from growth, authenticity and ultimately fulfillment and success.
Judging yourself against others not only causes stress and anxiety, it kills relationships, creativity, and ultimately peace and fulfillment.
Ultimately, comparison drives disconnection. From ourselves, from our focus, from others, and from what matters most.
No one is winning.
There will always be someone better, more attractive, more wealthy, and more accomplished.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for that. It’s not worth it.
So how do you keep yourself from falling in?
As always, reframing an old mindset takes serious intention. We have to remind ourselves again and again where to direct our thought patterns or we’ll default to the same places we’ve always gone.
Here are SIX tips to moving beyond comparison.
- Take a social media sabbatical. There is no faster road to the comparison trap than social media. There’s no denying its direct correlation to depression, anxiety, loneliness, and feelings of inadequacy. So stop ignoring it – do what it takes to get this in check so you can set your mindset up for success.
- Get curious. This is one of our favorite hacks because it WORKS. When you notice yourself starting to judge or compare, ask yourself what seems interesting about what someone else is doing and if it’s truly interesting to YOU. Having a posture of curiosity changes everything.
- Find YOUR thing. What do you get lost in, or what fires you up? If you’re struggling with this, phone a friend or family member. Dig in and figure this out, instead of getting lost in figuring it out for others.
- Practice gratitude. It’s cliche, but again, it’s one of the most popular hacks because it’s so incredibly powerful. Reminding yourself of what you HAVE (not what you want) is shown to shift neural pathways in the brain to promote positivity, empathy, and creativity.
- Compliment others. Nothing kills pride and discontentment like a genuine compliment to the people who may be triggering the most envy in your life. There’s enough of everything to go around – throw some love their way and watch it come back to you in spades.
- Harness your sense of humor. The third greatest hack ever. Stop taking yourself so seriously! Nothing spoils negative feelings like levity and laughter. Find a way to remind yourself to get more of this in your life! You and the people around you will feel it.
This is some of the most important work you will do, and there’s no substitute for it.
To go beyond comparison, it takes intention, practice, and accountability.
And when we find ourselves DOING this, we will also find more fulfillment with who we are, where we are, and what we have. It’s a TOTAL WIN.
If this sounds good to you, we built a program just for you. It’s called Emerge and it starts this September. In this small circle of women just like you, you will find the accountability, encouragement, and coaching to make this shift.
You could end this year, 2023, being more of who you are and less of what you compare yourself to.
Email me for more information.