Comparison is an insidious, unhelpful pattern of thinking that we can often resort to when we don't feel good about ourselves. When we feel down or unsuccessful or uncomfortable in our bodies, the world can quickly become a catalogue for comparison.
'Comparison is the thief of joy', is seriously such an accurate quote. I can tell you from experience, it simply does not serve us to be trying to measure up to others, to put anyone on a pedestal and in turn put ourselves down.
There's nothing to be gained from engaging in this kind of thinking; it just ends up shaking our own self worth and leading us into a negative mind set, believing ourselves to be less, not good enough or beneath others.
Whether it's on social media, on the street, in our work or wherever, cascading into comparative inner conversation has no place in helping our self esteem, worth and confidence thrive. It's usually just charged by our own insecurities anyway purely attempting to confirm or re-enforce a negative, 'not good enough' self image.
Personally I can unfortunately say I spent an excessive amount of time negatively comparing myself to others and all it did was make me miserable. I can't be anyone else. I can't possibly switch lives or nick someone else's skills or appearance, and trust me, it's exhausting to keep beating myself up because of that.
So I've found an energising and rejuvenating practice to invest in instead, is actually celebrating myself - seeing who I am and knowing that that's what matters and what's worth admiring. And at the same time I can see the worth and beauty in others, without it threatening my own self worth and security.
When it comes down to it, all I or you can do is be who we are, so why not start to actually enjoy and appreciate that?
Maintaining comparison as a practice in our minds is only going to jeopardise our inner security and impede on us feeling strong in who are. And that's just not on.
So, here's how we can put a stop to comparing and harness a more positive, joyful thinking practice instead:
Stop yourself the minute your eyes or mind wander towards making a comparison. Automatic thought processes like this need to become conscious for us to catch them so first, we need to start stopping them in their tracks. Anytime you notice yourself measuring up to another, in any way, stop it.
After stopping the thought, we need to intercept the usual pattern with something new. So instead of comparing qualities, we'll acknowledge our own. Replace the stream of 'theyre so much more x,y,z than me', with an acknowledgement of your own qualities. See your own beauty, talents, uniqueness, mind - shine a light on what's good and valued within you.
Acknowledge that everyone is different and that we cannot base our opinion on others or ourselves merely on appearances and assumptions.
Acknowledge that everyone has something amazing to offer, so yeah you're going to see incredible or impressive people, but you're actually a part of that too.
Acknowledge and affirm the strengths and attributes that you uniquely hold, all of the authentic and endearing substance that makes you You.
Appreciate what you have that makes you who you are. We all are so different and while that may sound cliché, it is true and it is amazing when you begin to celebrate that fact. Own who you are. Be entirely authentic and cultivate a comfort and confidence in the person you are - exactly as you are right now.
Appreciate the qualities of others too. Where before a particularly attractive person might instill intimidation and comparison, learn to appreciate what you admire in them. It's a much warmer way to approach others, with no need for competition or comparison. Others can look great or have great lives without affecting our capacity to look great and have a great life too.
Life is not a competition. Our worth is not constantly at risk based on who's around us or what everyone else is doing. Letting go of comparison enables us to embrace our differences, validate our individual identity and put ourselves on a level playing field in the world around us.
25 year old Yvonne hails from Ireland but is currently exploring what life in the southern hemisphere has to offer. Having travelled through her own journey towards freedom and happiness, she now wants to share ideas on positive mental health, daring to live whole happy lives and overcoming anything that gets in the way of that. You can find more of these ideas in blog and poetry form over at daretolivesos.com and @daretolivesos on social media.