Self-Comparison, a window for opportunity
Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt
I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before. It’s one I think about and come back to often. We all know comparing ourselves to others is counterproductive, it takes us off our track and our game leaving us worse off. But have you ever considered that comparing yourself to yourself could be just as counterproductive? Think about it… we’re human, we constantly change. If you compare yourself to how you were yesterday, last week, or 4 years ago you might find yourself in negative thoughts. It takes our focus off our present moment and takes us to the past, removing our excitement and joy from the forefront of our minds and taking us to a place of judgement.
For example, and let me preface with saying this example is not ground breaking or life changing but it’s a way to look at this. I went for my first run post-marathon today, and it wasn’t amazing. I felt slow, a little heavy, and some pain. I found myself thinking “why is this feeling so hard, I was able to run a marathon last weekend and today I can barely make it through 4 easy miles”. Let me tell you what – those thoughts made the run that much harder! I was able to catch myself in these thoughts, and I was able to reframe. I gave myself grace instead of judgement and walked when I needed to, showing my body grace.
You see, we need to show ourselves as much love as we would to other people. I would never tell a running buddy that she needed to get her act together or pick up the pace, I would tell her to take it easy and listen to her body! So why is it so hard for us to do that to ourselves? Perhaps it’s because we are actually comparing ourselves to ourself. We are setting expectations and standards, that may be based in societal pressures or in what we see on Instagram, of how we need to be and we judge ourselves when we fall short. Y’all newsflash! This will not help you achieve your goals. It will actually zap your motivation and it definitely won’t make you feel good or powerful.
It’s important to recognize the fluidity of life and the differences day to day, month to month, and year to year. You are not the same that you were yesterday just like you aren’t as you were 10 years ago and that’s OKAY! Be with yourself. Be okay with how you are today, right now, because it’s all you are guaranteed and you deserve to feel peace, joy, and love right now. Here are a few ideas to help when you find yourself in the self-comparison trap…
3 ways to stop self-comparison
- Focus on your strengths; grab a pen and piece of paper and take a moment to write a list of 5-10 things you love about yourself. Place this somewhere that you will see it often (I recommend on your bathroom mirror). Start to shift your focus from what you lack to what you have as you are
- Tell a better story; rewrite your story to one of empowerment, optimism, and strength. Instead of telling yourself you’re not enough or you messed up, give yourself grace, and visualize how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Replacing the negative story with a positive one will move you forward towards it
- Be your own cheerleader; let’s be real, we’ve got to be kind to ourselves first if we want anyone else to be. The world is harsh enough out there for us to be beating ourselves up too. Don’t let that mean little voice in your head tell you lies. When it pops up, make the choice to shut it down. Be kind to yourself, talk to yourself as you would talk to your very best friend. Don’t be shy, give yourself a pep talk! You’re doing great!