Stop Comparing Yourself to Others #SelfLove


At the start of the year, I was a woman on a mission. 2017 was going to be the year I got my mojo back, the year I would feel normal again, and the year I would dedicate to the personal development of my mind, body, and soul.

I’ve already made positive progress towards nurturing my mental and physical health. However, during my mindfully-infused sessions where I take the time to learn and grow, I’ve noticed an uncomfortable trend – comparison. We all do it, but it’s in varying degrees of intensity. I’ve often wished that I could live in a warm country like my hugely successful cousin, Becky. Or that I drove a super sexy Land Rover Evoque like my bestie, Liz. These are the kind of comparisons that are merely fleeting thoughts rather than crippling destruction for our self-esteem. I love these thoughts because they shape my ambitions. I want to earn enough to buy a lovely car, and I want to travel to interesting places.

In January I bought a
couple of life planners to help me plot out my world domination. As a stationery geek, this was no hardship, and I quickly filled each one with the relevant information. On a side note, I’ve yet to find a life planner that contains everything I want/need to satisfy my organisational needs. However, the planners helped because I was writing everything down and could, therefore, see at a glance what I was hoping to achieve, the date I wanted to complete the goal, and all the other SMART* necessities that go hand in hand with reclaiming your mojo.

At the same time, I joined some Facebook groups dedicated to boosting your inspiration, motivating you to achieve your goals, and empowering you to succeed. All the things that I value in my life and strive to pass on to others. The fit was perfect, and I became as active as time allowed in these groups.

Roll the clock forward a couple of weeks, and I started to feel twitchy about some of the groups I joined. Don’t get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet. I’ve posted about my own success on more than one occasion. If we don’t share our achievements, especially if you run an online business, then nobody will know you exist.

I, therefore, think that it’s not the groups that have changed, it’s me. My inner monolog of destruction is reading these ‘look at what I’ve launched/sold/done’ as a way to prove I’m not ‘there’ yet, wherever there may be! Perhaps I'm overly sensitive, or in need of re-reading my CBT notes but the feel of these groups has shifted for me.

Instead of feeling motivated, I feel drained. Instead of being inspired to achieve, I feel useless and defeated. I know that my depression has something to do with this, the cognitive settings in my brain are overloading with the ‘I’m not good enough’ chatter. So what can I do?

I’ve backed away from the groups. Some of them I left so the notifications no longer appear in my feed, and others I stopped interacting with, so the algorithms do their job and bury the posts until I might need them again. I feel better already.

I surprised myself with the intensity of my comparisons. I was so sure that being a part of those communities would be the best thing for my personal development and yet it backfired, leaving me feeling empty.

Comparing ourselves to others is dangerous. We are unique in every way, and we should embrace this fact. I worry about my daughter who, at fourteen, can be influenced by the celebrities she loves, and the body image that is portrayed on the cover of every magazine (that rant is for another post!).

I’m incredibly active in blogging and book circles online, and one group, in particular, has boosted my confidence and helped me to shake off those ‘not good enough’ thoughts. It’s these kind of communities that matter.

Surrounding ourselves (online or in real life) with people who support us is important. Learning to recognise negative thoughts and releasing them is another factor in boosting our self-love. Understanding how much damage comparing ourselves to others can be the first step in correcting these thoughts.

It’s another lesson I’ve learned on my current journey. I’m still healing, still recovering, and obviously I’m still vulnerable. That’s okay. Realising that fact has helped me to act accordingly. There may be a time in the future when I re-join these empowering groups and throw myself into the mix, but for now, I’m going to concentrate my efforts on the people/groups/activities that nurture my mind, body, and soul.

Over to you: I’ve chosen to talk about Facebook groups in this post, but perhaps you find yourself comparing your life to just one person or a set of friends. What could you do to correct this?

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with to help:

  • Be kinder to yourself – notice the negative talk and release these thoughts.
  • Write it down – I’ve mentioned my love of journaling before, but I can’t stress enough the benefits of writing down what you are grateful for, or using a happiness jar (read my post about that HERE).
  • Focus on what you have – cherish your family/home/job and don’t focus your attention on what others have.
  • Commit to self-love – take care of your physical, emotional, spiritual needs every day. Commit to nurturing yourself to be the best version of you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you find yourself comparing you to friends? Can you recognise the negative talk and correct it? What tips can you share that might help someone to break the comparison trap? Please feel free to share in the comments box below.


*SMART goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time Based



Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Comments

  1. I so agree, Shelley. I’ve blogged about this too, but still fall into that comparison black hole from time to time, especially regarding my writing ambitions. I think it’s important not to deny the disappointments, but overall I do count myself lucky that my life’s pretty good right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree, Anne. I believe that as writers' we fall into this trap because writing is so solitary. We need to ensure that we network and join writing communities to help us connect and not feel so low - or begin comparing our writing to others.

      Delete
  2. Great post, Shelley and a tough thing to try and rid yourself of!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mark. It can be an ongoing struggle for so many people. At least by sharing our stories we know we're not alone in this.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for this. It's something I need to hear and hear often. It's incredibly hard not to compare ourselves to others. But it most definitely does not help with mental stability/happiness. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree, stopping the comparisons is a tough task, but when we remind ourselves that everyone does it as some time or another, it can help us cope.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for a useful post.

    I don't compare myself to my friends, but to people I hear on podcasts, or to other members of a writing association. I keep telling myself that I should only be comparing myself to myself, but that doesn't always work.

    I'm giving personal goals a try this year. I've only ever had work goals before and they were always based on what other people wanted from me, not on what I wanted (or needed) to achieve. In a corporate environment it can't be any other way, of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, April. I understand what you're saying and I agree. I tend to compare myself to the top self-help guru's or an award winning writer! I just need to remind myself that they all started small once upon a time, and, as you so rightly point out, comparing myself to myself is the only way to go. Good luck with your personal goals x

      Delete
  5. I agree about Facebook groups. I have joined a few, but I don't interact too much and I find frequent squabbles among members. I wouldn't say they're supportive. I find blogging communities much more supportive and inspiring. Esoecially blogging or flash fiction challenges. If you have the time and energy, perhaps you should start a more supportive facebook group with a simple weekly challenge? I'm sure your blogging friends would take partπŸ˜‰
    Finally, I absolutely agree, never compare yourself to others, but always try to be better than yourself, that should be our ongoing struggle in life πŸ’— Thanks for the inspiring and honest post!πŸ’—

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Lucy. The blogging communities are fantastic for supporting each other. Suzie Speaks (founder of SundayBlogShare) started a FB group called Big Up Your Blog which is still new, but phenomenal for support and inspiration.
      I love the idea of a FB group challenge!

      Delete
  6. Egads, I'm forever comparing myself (unfavorably, of course) to other people in all ways (as a writer, mother, witch, photographer - the list goes on and on). Sometimes I wallow, and message a couple of good friends to complain, which helps. Other times, just like you suggest, I'll "journal" (quotes because I use a Word document, not pen and paper) about it, and that gives me a little perspective. Love the idea of SMART goals - definitely have to give that a go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Traci. I love how you compare every aspect of your life - I do exactly the same! It's not just work, it's motherhood, hobbies, beliefs, etc. Yes, journaling is one of my favourite self-help tools (must be the writer in me!!) x

      Delete
  7. So helpful - I actually wrote your last few points into my journal to help me to remember them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, that's great to hear, Ruth. Did you have a go at the questions on my January review? Every month I'm doing a final month post with a few personal development questions tagged on the end - you might enjoy doing them too x

      Delete
  8. I often tell my yoga students not to look around them during class because no one else in the room has their body or their life experience. So why do I find it hard to do this myself in real life? Why am I envious of friends with bigger kitchens, more exotic holidays and apparently easier lives all round? It's ridiculous, because I'm blessed in so many ways, and I'm sure there must be people envious of me. Could it be that, despite my best intentions, I'm only human?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to copy your comment out and pin it on my notice board, Julia! I'm guilty of looking around the room during my Pilates class and telling myself off for not being able to reach my toes like the other ladies - that's going to stop! x

      Delete
  9. I'm over from Elena's. Yes, every time I hear someone comparing like this it makes me crazy. A pet peeve of mine. I don't know why women in particular do this. There will always be people with more or less than us. So what? We each inhabit our own skin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Carol, and welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment x

      Delete
  10. I've written several posts on the fact that comparing yourself to the highlights of others (on FB, blogs etd) is the worst thing you can do to yourself. You will never measure up and it can be soul destroying. Now I just feel happy for those who are having good stuff happening and if they are too loud and too 'look at me"-ish I unfollow them. Comparison steals your joy every time - or inflates your ego if you're doing better than they are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Leanne. I like that you say 'highlights' because this is what most of us do, we only upload our best selves to social media, therefore, comparing ourselves will only bring unhappiness. Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  11. Hi Shelley I've also written much about self-love and also the trap of comparison. Blogging seems to be an area where it is difficult not to compare, especially when everyone is spruiking about their big numbers. I too have left groups or felt dejected but this year I have tried to just write and if people like that's great. If they don't the world won't end. Enjoyed your post. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue. I recently found your blog and love it, so I'm honoured that you popped in for a visit x I totally agree with your process of writing for the sheer joy of it.

      Delete
  12. I am so guilty of this. I need to focus on myself and not what others are doing otherwise I'll constantly be disappointed in myself. We're all on our own journey, but it is difficult not to see others' success and see it as your failure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Jo. I like to congratulate those friends/colleagues/bloggers who are genuine, but over time I've been able to spot the 'look at me' types and learnt to switch off from their vibes. It's better for my sanity that way! X

      Delete
  13. Joining in a community spirit while writing is so important. If we support and inspire each other then that benefits all, humans, (not even writers!) are not meant to be solitary, we are meant to be there for each other.If we can achieve that via on-line relationships, and face to face friendships so much the better :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I couldn't agree more! I compare myself to others all the time, usually with thoughts of "my life would be so much better if I was more like..." or "If I had that too.." and "how come she managed that but I can't?" It's stupid. It's particularly insidious when someone then compares themselves to me, and I spend all my time pooh-poohing the comparison because, for whatever reason, I don't see it as valid, so neither should they. It's daft, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment