Why do we keep doing something that leads to the same old icky feeling? Are we all masochists?! Maybe a little. Self-defeating behaviors start small- but can quickly develop into dominant patterns due to a lack of awareness and simply out of habit.
Habits can be oh so strong and stubborn! Once the mind gets used to doing something, it repeats it automatically. When it comes to comparing yourself, unless you’re comparing your current situation to someone who’s in a more difficult circumstance than you (which potentially generates feelings of gratitude), comparing yourself to others frequently leads to a long loop of negativity.
It usually leaves you feeling like you a) don’t have enough, b) don’t do enough, and overall c) aren’t good enough. It’s important to keep in mind that many of the thoughts and inadequacies that result from this practice are not based in reality. Though, it may feel very real because thoughts can be emotionally convincing and pretty powerful.
Comparing is not an easy habit to break all together, but you can make progress one day at a time.
Break the Comparison Trap with this 6 Step Formula:
1. AWARENESS: (with self-compassion) To stop doing something, you need to first notice when it’s happening. Become a compassionate witness to your thoughts. Don’t judge yourself. Simply observe the mind’s pattern + redirect your thoughts back towards you. Develop a realistic awareness of social media's limitations and its common tendency to trigger underlying feelings of inadequacy in many of us. What a person chooses to share publicly often paints a one-dimensional skewed picture of their life. Remember, all humans naturally have flaws & face struggles.
2. ACCEPTANCE: Begin to accept yourself, imperfections and all. Accept your emotions too- even the uncomfortable ones. Envy or jealous feelings are uncomfortable, but they’re even more powerful when avoided. Accept however you’re feeling, without judgment, and get curious about your reactions. Jealous feelings can guide and inspire you towards your own unmet needs or desires.
3. AFFIRMATION: To shift out of feeling less than and to build self-love, create a positive self-statement to rehearse throughout the day. It can consist of an intention you're working towards and/or it can highlight a personal strength. Some examples, "I am enough", "I am worthy", "I am lovable", "My feelings are valid", "self-care is my right", "I love myself." The more you rehearse affirmations, the more it will benefit you and your self-esteem.
4. APPRECIATION: Gratitude is one of the most effective tools to help you move into a more positive emotional state. To combat feelings of jealousy, begin to shift your focus to all the things you're grateful for in your life. Zoom into little moments and simple pleasures- nothing is too small to appreciate.
5. ADVENTURE: Life can be viewed as one big adventure. No one, in the whole wide world, has a journey quite like yours. The starting point, in between moments, and ending- is all one of a kind + can’t be replicated. Don’t compare where you are, at this moment, to where anyone else is- it wouldn’t be fair.
6. ABSENCE: Let's be real, excessive use of social media can take a toll on your well-being and it's one of the most common triggers of feeling a sense of lack. Do whatever it takes to limit your use. Take needed breaks. Unfollow any accounts that trigger you. Fill in the technology void by adding meaningful things to your real life.