Written by: Claire Elmes, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In the age of social media where everybody’s lives (or rather, highlight reels) are on display, nobody is immune to “comparisonitis” – the tendency to compare yourself to others and feel inadequate as a result.
Plus, with the help of negativity bias, it’s easy to feed that self-critical voice that tells you you’re not good enough, or you’re not doing enough, or you don’t have enough.
We sometimes forget that we are all unique individuals with our own strengths, personalities, and dreams, so shifting your focus to re-centre and reclaim the control you have over your own life is the key to combatting comparisonitis.
Here are 5 ways to deal with comparison when it’s becoming a pervasive problem in your life:
1. Acknowledge your thoughts
When feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness arise because of comparing yourself to others – or to a version of yourself that you feel you “should” be – acknowledge and sit with them.
Suppressing your thoughts and emotions will only make them stronger and place your body under physical stress. Addressing and processing your thoughts and emotions will provide much needed relief by bringing clarity and self-understanding to the situation.
Be pro-active in exploring the roots of your discomfort. What can it reveal about the underlying reasons for your emotions?
Comparison can sometimes illuminate things or feelings that are missing from our own lives, and these usually have emotional roots – belonging, connection, intimacy, freedom.
2. Counteract negative self-talk with positive self-talk
Every time you think or make a negative comment about yourself, immediately follow it up – either in your head or out loud – with something positive to balance it out.
Often, your self-critical voice overpowers your compassionate voice and creates an environment where you’re more susceptible to not feeling good enough and comparing yourself to other people (or an ‘ideal’ version of you).
Feed your self-compassionate voice and work on developing self-trust and accepting yourself as you are.
3. Become content with imperfection
A perfectionist mindset is often rooted in overly high or unrealistic expectations which can end up impeding productivity, creativity and authenticity, which then negatively impacts on your mood and self-esteem.
It can intensify feelings of not being good enough, especially when comparing yourself and your achievements to somebody else’s, leading to chronic dissatisfaction.
There’s a difference between setting goals and striving to do well, and having rigid, highly self-critical standards of ‘success’ which bring up anxiety and self-doubt.
Learning to become content with imperfection is the key to inspiration and creative power. Adopt a growth mindset and learn to trust in your process.
4. Make a list of your strengths and personal goals
Don’t lose sight of the things that make you unique and individual. Constantly comparing yourself to others can diminish your own personality, your dreams, desires, and goals.
Make a list of your strengths and personal goals to help you regain focus on your own life and highlight what is special about you, rather than focusing on what everybody else is doing or striving for.
Remember that you are on your own life path and nobody else’s. While you can learn about yourself and what you desire from how you respond to other people, you can only live your own life. Focus on what you can control.
5. Make a daily gratitude list
Keeping a daily gratitude list of all the big and little things you’re thankful for in life that bring us joy is a great antidote to dissatisfaction.
It’s not a way to by-pass painful or difficult emotions (see point #1) but it can help you to stay calm and grounded and shift your perspective by focusing on the positives in life.
Negative thought spirals and expectations can cloud our view of how much we already have and have achieved in life – use gratitude to help gain some clarity on the good in life.
Remember you are only in control of your own life, actions and emotions – where focus goes energy flows!
Claire Elmes, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Claire Elmes is the founder of Inspire You and is passionate about work-life balance. Having experienced burnout, Claire is dedicated to empowering people to work through stress and anxiety, traumatic life events, shift mindset, regulate emotions, gain clarity, and develop a stable routine. Through coaching and therapeutic techniques, Claire helps people tap into their potential and transform their lives for the better. Since Covid 19, Claire has recognized many companies are changing how they work and is supporting them to develop innovative well-being strategies to prevent staff burnout and help teams thrive, not survive. Claire provides companies with regular well-being support on a wide variety of topics such as: "How to avoid burnout", "How to make time in your week for what matters", "How to stop overthinking", "How to improve sleep", " How to manage imposter syndrome," "How to be the best version of you", to name just a few. Claire's mission is to empower the emotional well-being of staff and bring the fun back into work life.