Imagine a world where no one would compare themselves to anyone else. A world where everyone would be comfortable in their own skin – no matter how oily, dry, sun-bronzed, or wrinkly.
In order to stop the hamster wheel in your head – the relentless cycle of the comparison insanity – you’ve gotta replace those thoughts with something else. I am confident the more you un-practice the habit of coveting the “greener” grass on the other side, the more satisfied you will be with yourself JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
That doesn’t mean you don’t improve yourself. But we are always dangerously hovering that line between improvement and obsession with being more like “the Jones people”.
So, why not try some of these instead? It couldn’t hurt…
10 things to do instead of comparing yourself to others
1. Figure out what’s good about YOU. It can be tough identifying your own strengths, but it’s valuable and healthy to see that you have good traits. You do. Stop it right now. You DO. If your list starts with just three things, then so be it. Write down those traits and then value those qualities.
2. Recognize your weaknesses but don’t hold them against yourself. Did you know that EVERYONE has weaknesses? Mind = blown. We should try and better ourselves, but we are always going to have weaknesses. It’s okay. The human life is not meant for perfection. Our brokenness makes us more accessible to other human beings because we have that broken part in common.
3. Spend more time being grateful. When you begin pulling at your muffin top fat, be grateful you’ve had enough food to actually HAVE a muffin top. Think about it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to be healthy, but we spend too much brain space complaining inwardly about ourselves. Gratitude will help you replace that negative-ness with positive-ness.
4. Actually do the thing. When we compare ourselves, that means we’re probably wishing there was something we could do. For instance, if your friend gets an A in class, and you want an A, then get a tutor. Study more. Actually DO your homework. If that other mom just ran a marathon and you really want to do that, then start training. Slap the pavement every morning. Actually run for longer than down the driveway when you almost miss the garbage guy. Stop wishing, start doing.
5. Give them a #thirdpartycompliment. Third party compliments are this thing I came up with one day with my students. Basically, the idea is complimenting someone BEHIND HIS/HER BACK with the hope that the compliment will get back to that person. It’s NON-GOSSIP. Instead of comparing yourself to that person you admire, COMPLIMENT that person. What a revelation! 🙂
6. Choose different thoughts. We can’t choose what happens to us, but we CAN choose how we respond to what happens. We have TOTAL CONTROL over what we let simmer in our brains. When that thought pops up, SQUASH IT! POUND IT! Think different thoughts. Positive thoughts. Pure thoughts. Beautiful thoughts.
7. Appreciate something and write it down. I make it a habit to write notes of encouragement at least once a week. We can’t leave words unsaid. Trust me, I’m a girl who lost her Daddy when he was 49. I know about saying all the things before all the time is gone. When you’re tempted to compare, encourage someone else (or even yourself!) with words on paper – the old fashioned written kind. The act of physically writing will help you concentrate on something else.
8. Do something else. Knit. Golf. Bicycle. Work-out. Paint. Photograph. Read. Deflect the bad and embrace a hobby. I talk to too many people who say they don’t have a hobby because they are too busy (GASP!), have kids (HUH? We lose ourselves when we have kids? That’s hogwash!), or don’t have time (We have time for anything we want!). It is important to SLOW DOWN and make time in this life for SOMETHING that centers you, calms you, helps you embrace the sanity. If you don’t have a hobby, you need to find one. ESPECIALLY if you have kids.
SIDEBAR: If social media is the thing that makes you compare, take a break. Put your phone down. Maybe even take a LONG break. You’ve got to separate yourself from the stuff that tempts you to compare.
9. Fill your mind with good things. Learn something new – check out a TED talk (have you seen the one about the first woman to complete the 100 mile swim from Cuba to Florida? At 64?), or follow a blog that inspires you (how about mine :)). The Bible is the best place to find good things – it is meant to encourage you with promises of hope and healing. What you watch, listen to, and read has definite impact on where your mind goes.
10. Pray. When I’m tempted to compare myself to that model on television or the girl who can make bomb.com cookies without slicing them from a roll, I pray for my husband. Or my daughter. Or my brother. I thank God for my home with carpet and no dirt floor. I tell Jesus who He is to me that day, specifically. Prayer changes me. That constant communication with my Maker doesn’t allow me to covet my neighbor’s leaf blown yard (you should see my piles), it reminds me to pray for my neighbor’s family.
Comparing ourselves to others isn’t healthy. We were made for a purpose – a YOU purpose. We can’t figure out that purpose if we’re too busy wishing we had someone else’s purpose. You are worth not comparing. Just being YOU.