Updated: Apr 29, 2021
Once we stop comparing ourselves, we're free.
Be honest, at some point in our lives, we’ve all compared ourselves to someone. Maybe it was that taller thinner girl, or that smarter more confident guy, or that higher paying job, the faster car, the more sociable person, the list goes on. Comparing ourselves happens, and sometimes it’s so automatic we don’t even realise it’s happening until we feel the repercussions of those thoughts. But before we get into that I just want to shed some light on just how this process occurs.
Comparing ourselves to others begins with our thoughts. Our belief system about who we are and our self-worth can determine whether we look at another person and feel adequate or inadequate. If we compare ourselves from a place of inadequacy and low self-esteem there’s a dam good chance that the thoughts we develop will continue down that pathway. So once we have negative thoughts running through our minds what happens next?
Well, our thoughts then go on to impact our emotions. Now you don’t have to be a psychologist to know that negative thoughts create negative emotions. When our thoughts are saying you're not good enough chances are you're going to feel some sort of negative emotion. Which negative emotion may depend on the individual but it could anxiety, depression, or even anger.
So we have negative thoughts leading to negative emotions, now what? Well, we have actions or behaviours. Our emotions have the potential to directly impact our actions. What we chose to do after thinking and feeling in self-defeating ways has the potential to be self-destructive.
However, if we can stop the unhealthy practice of comparing ourselves, we set ourselves free. Free from those self-defeating thought processes of thinking were inadequate and need other people's material possessions, personality traits, and physical aspects to be whole.
So what do you do if you’ve found yourself partaking in the unhealthy practice of comparison? I would suggest starting at the beginning with your belief system. Begin with challenging those negative self-thoughts, implement some positive affirmations, and list all your positive attributes. Having them somewhere that you will see them will remind you of the amazing, unique individual you are. Next address the emotions. Acknowledge them, identify them, and let them be. Providing your emotions space within you to come and go without judgement is a concept of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT has shown to reduce the impact and control that negative emotions can have on an individual. And lastly actions. Actions can include engaging in self-care, setting achievable goals, journalling, taking time out, doing something you enjoy, talking to someone, the list goes on but to sum it up just do something positive for yourself.
With positive thoughts come positive emotions and with positive emotions, we have better chances of carrying out more positive actions in our life. This, in turn, can support those initial positive thoughts we have.
Remember, whilst you can’t be everyone…….. you can be anyone.