Comparison is running rampant thanks in large part to the pervasive role social media takes in our lives. A lot of this is due to social comparison theory, or the idea that we evaluate our own attitudes, abilities, and traits in comparison to others. But the problem is, without taking a social media break from time to time, this behavior can become chronic.
For starters – we have to say that it’s totally normal to engage in comparison. You are not an awful or weak person for indulging in this problematic behavior. It is absolutely human nature.
But as we know – comparison is the thief of joy – and can lead to some awful consequences, such as lowered self-esteem and discontent. So we are going to detail some tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others – especially if you’re not taking a regular social media break – and we have even included a video to accompany them! Take a look below.
Step one: acknowledge you have a problem with comparison.
Step two: Find the patterns within your comparing.
Step three: Identify who and when you tend to compare yourself to others.
Sounds easy, but we assure you, this can take some time. Admitting that you have a problem comparing yourself at all can be tough – let alone taking a deeper look to find the consistencies and patterns.
So ask yourself: do you tend to compare yourself in certain areas of your life, like your friendships, romantic relationships, or career? Do you compare in qualitative amounts, or quantitative amounts? And where do you typically compare? In certain environments, with certain people, or online? (Another tally in favor of taking a social media break…!)
Get to the bottom of your triggers.
Once you have some predictable patterns you can detect, it’s going to be easier for you to understand when you’re about to indulge that behavior – and it can make it easier to set yourself up for success by avoiding those situations.
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Comparisons Aren’t Always Accurate
It’s true – most surface-level comparisons are far from accurate. Plainly put – we can’t compare another person’s outsides to your insides.
Because you don’t have X-Ray vision.
You have ~zero~ clue what’s going on inside someone else’s head. You are not a mind reader. Hell, you don’t even know what took someone to get where they are – or in what place they are in their own personal journey. Most people don’t provide details like that when detailing their successes. Frankly, because it’s nobody’s business other than their own.
Which is why it’s incredibly crucial to use critical thinking when it comes to filtering in information.
Instead of taking everything at face value – recognize that you don’t have the context needed in order to make a full comparison.
You are intimately familiar with your own victories and setbacks. You have all of the gaps filled and are extremely familiar with the blood, sweat, and tears put into all of your efforts. Can you say the same for someone else?
Then you can’t make an accurate comparison.
Also remember that social media pretty much exclusively contains the highlight reels of our lives. We only share the bright, the bold, and the exciting. Why? Because it creates much better content than the mundane. Nobody is interested in another boring day that looks like the rest – we want dRaMa. To be entertained. So we post the most thrilling angles and exaggerate our lives for the sake of our audience.
Therefore…it might be a good idea to clear your palate and take a social media break if a lot of these rabbit holes are happening online. Ground yourself back into reality. Get back to the basics of what constitutes victories and setbacks. And once you feel refreshed and familiar with reality – log back on, ready to use critical thinking to combat comparing.
Accept Where You Are
More than likely, if you are engaging in plenty of comparison – you’re not at the end of your journey.
Not even close.
I’m willing to bet you are closer to the start of your journey. Because being at the start of any journey is triggering. It can bring up feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, and anxiety. Starting something new and exciting is always tough. Especially when you feel like you’re already behind.
But you’re not.
You are right where you’re supposed to be.
And once you accept this, it will be easier to ignore comparison.
Once you gain more confidence and see more growth in your own personal journey, this tendency to compare will probably begin to melt away. But don’t wait for that, or bank on it, just to be safe. Instead, make a conscious decision to not punish yourself for taking a risk and trying something new. Whether that’s being open to a romantic relationship, starting a new career or business endeavor, or getting healthy – you should be proud of yourself for trying instead of shaming yourself for not being done yet.
So take a break from forcing yourself to be somewhere you’re not. Accept the reality that you are where you are, and that your journey is not static. If you need to, take a social media break or take a breather from people who ignite your triggers.
You’re a work in progress. So give yourself grace, get off your back, and start cheering yourself on!
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Build Yourself Up
Which brings us to the next step – being sweet as sugar to yourself.
We are all just doing our best, and looking over your shoulder to see how you’re measuring up to everyone else is not nice. Well, at least not if you’re using it to shame yourself.
So instead, take charge of building yourself up. Say affirmations daily that inspire, encourage, and celebrate you. Practice gratitude by writing five things that you’re grateful for daily (bonus points if they are things you did or are working on for yourself). Engage in self-love and self-care as often as possible.
Weed out things that don’t serve you.
For instance, taking a social media break can alleviate some extra stressors creeping up in your life. Or perhaps you need to create some boundaries with friends who aren’t really acting like friends at all. Whatever you need to do to create a safe, nurturing environment for yourself – do it.
But just remember, self-love starts with you. So as much as you can, be kind to yourself. Change your negative thinking and negative self-talk and exchange them for reassuring and sweet phrases. Have your own back.
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Take Ownership Over Your Story
This is the only life on this Earth you’re getting, so you might as well take full ownership over it and love it to pieces.
While it might sound lovely to switch places with someone else – remember you don’t know their struggles. And more than likely, you wouldn’t want to be faced with them, either.
My professor once said….“If everyone were standing in a room together and threw all of their problems into one pile, we’d all gladly take our own problems back instead of switching with someone else.”
Always remember that.
You have this life because you are the only one capable of leading it.
Own it. Embrace the challenges, embrace the struggle, embrace the victories. Embrace it all. Choose your life every single day – no matter what’s in store for you. The more you accept and celebrate your life, the easier it will be to not put it in a line up next to everyone else’s.
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Don’t let comparison rob you of your excitement, optimism, and confidence. You deserve to live a life without the constraints of the constant measuring yourself up next to everyone else. So take a social media break, concentrate on yourself, and follow these steps to break yourself free of social comparison jail.
We’re with ya.