How many times today have you already compared yourself to someone else?
The super cute outfit your co-worker was wearing, that vacation your friend just posted about on Facebook or the amazing article your peer had published…
Our world is so connected these days that it’s impossible to not be constantly bombarded by updates on what everyone around you seems to be doing.
While I’m all for celebrating other women and their accomplishments (seriously, we need a lot more of this), as soon as we’re having one of those moments or days when we get sucked into self-doubt and questioning ourselves, these seemingly innocent things will take us out.
What quickly starts as an innocent scroll on social media or walk to the bathroom quickly sends us into the vicious cycle of comparison. We start comparing, we then judge ourselves for comparing, we start looking at everything else we could do better or differently and before you know it you’re eating a pint of Ben and Jerrys and binging on Netflix. Whoops….
Being in this space leads to nothing productive. It kills creativity, joy, and motivation. It leads us to make choices from envy, fear, or competition instead of inspiration, our core values, and our bigger vision.
So clearly this isn’t a place that any of us want to spend our time in, so what should you do when you find yourself here?
Here are a few of my favorite suggestions.
1. Actively stop following anyone or anything that is making you feel less than
I have to constantly remind myself and my clients that we are in control of our inboxes and feeds. While you might be telling yourself “yeah, but I need to know what my competition is doing” or “but how will I keep up on industry trends?”, the truth is that there are healthier ways to do this is you’re currently stuck in comparison. Unsubscribe from any emails that don’t 100 percent bring you joy and make you feel amazing, unfollow or unsubscribe on social media the same way. Even if we don’t think this is a big deal, a harmless two-second Instagram check can lead you right back down this spiral. Plus, you can always follow again once you’re in a better headspace. Odds are, you won’t miss anyone :)
2. Remind yourself that you are a flower
Okay okay, I promise I’m not crazy. Have you ever heard the quote “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms?” As I was out on my walk this morning, I was thinking about how freeing it must be to just be that little flower and open up and shine every day just because. Soaking up all that sunshine, enjoying the rain. Not giving a second thought to what all the other little flowers around it are doing. Be that flower. Let yourself bloom and be beautiful without worrying about the next person.
3. Brag on yourself
As women, we tend to be especially hard on ourselves. We’re always being fed images of how we should look, act, think, etc. and it’s exhausting. Take some time to journal about what makes you, you. Share your accomplishments, the risks you’ve taken, awards you’ve won, adventures, etc. Anything goes! If you’re stuck, ask three people close to you what they admire most about you. This was the number one favorite exercise for the women who completed my free challenge and helped them see themselves in a whole new light. It’s meant to feel a little uncomfortable, so just go for it and see what you get back.
4. Approach the person you’re comparing yourself to
When we’re all up in our comparison tailspin, it can be easy to forget that the person you’re comparing yourself to is also human. Unless they’re super human, they also have fears, insecurities, and self-doubt. Reach out to them to share gratitude or admiration for what you are envious of. You may be shocked in what can come from these simple exchanges.
Bottom line is, we’re all human and this is just how our brains are designed. So be kind to yourself and maybe just starting with simple awareness is enough for today.
If you have other tips for breaking out of comparison mode, I’d love for you to share them below in the comments. You never know who might need to hear what you’ve got.
You may also like:
Julia Wells is a Women’s Empowerment Coach who helps leaders find their voices, lean into their fears, and become a greater force for good in the world. She is fiercely committed to sisterhood and creating communities where women feel safe, supported, and seen. Julia landed in the Bay Area when she ditched corporate to explore entrepreneurship. She feels most alive when singing obnoxiously in the car, chasing a sunset, or practicing Buti Yoga.