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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How to Stop Comparing Your Life to Others (Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Stop Comparing Your Life to Others (Step-by-Step Guide)

They look so happy. I bet they never fight. Why can’t my relationship be like that…

We’ve all been there, thumbs scrolling social media looking at the enchanted lives of our former co-workers, schoolmates, old flames, and total strangers, wishing we could switch places with them for just a moment. We spend time examining their images and captions as we flog ourselves mentally for all the choices made that brought us to the present moment, somehow thinking it’s “our fault” that their lives look so great and ours feels so crappy.

Psychologists have coined this the comparison trap, and there is no doubt that the invention of social media has made the trap much bigger and harder to get out of.[1]

Depending on how many people you are connected with on social media and their frequency of posts, you face a daily onslaught of smiling faces and orchestrated moments designed to show how grateful, happy, positive, focused, and productive they have been. Yet, those are mostly curated moments chosen because they don’t capture the real messiness of that person’s everyday life.

Put simply. those moments may be real, but they are not indicative of what is really happening in that person’s life at the moment. The feeling of being overwhelmed that accompanies actively comparing your life to others can be extremely destabilizing, especially if you are making an upwards comparison. This can be detrimental to you emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

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Some studies showed that:[2]

“When a person chooses an upward (rather than downward) comparison target,  . . . that threat leads to increased upward comparisons.”

Comparing yourself against someone whom you believe has a better life and has accomplished more than you only leads to you finding more people with lives that seem better than yours for you to compare yourself to.

If you stop comparing your life to others, you will become more content with your life.

But how do we stop comparing ourselves to others when we are constantly bombarded by social media images of smiling faces many seemingly unaffected by the world’s problems, people boldly fight against injustice looking rested and unscathed, and others who appear to have easily given themselves to the work of spiritual and personal growth without a single set back?

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Here are the four steps that you should do if you want to stop comparing your life to others.

1. Change Your Focus From External to Internal

Turning your gaze from external to internal is not easy, but it is worth it. You should stop comparing your life to others because you are the only person who needs to validate yourself. I know that may sound like a crazy idea, but it is true.

However, that would be a difficult idea to integrate into your life if you have never tried it or are so afraid of it that you cower at the thought of being in a relationship with yourself. A good place to start is by sitting with yourself, whether through meditation, journaling, movement, or some other kind of intentional reflection.

Begin by asking yourself, “what are the external influences that I have allowed to guide my life—intentional or accidentally?”

Think or write about it. Then, give yourself some time to envision what it would be like to be unmoved by external forces, opinions, or thoughts—draw or write what that reality would be like for you. While this work is ongoing, this is a great starting point that you can always come back to when you feel yourself getting sucked in by those external influences.

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2. Limit Your Consumption

It’s easy to get caught in the comparison trap when you are constantly looking outside of yourself for validation. Limit your screen time if you want to stop comparing your life to others. Use the tracker on your phone to minimize the amount of time you spend online consuming social media.

The images you see there are often highly-curated and seemingly perfect moments in otherwise messy and real lives. Trust me, these people aren’t living examples of perfection they are just crafty people who stockpiled content for drip release over time.

3. Pick One Source of Grounding Inspiration

It’s okay to have one or two people whom you look up to for inspiration. This could provide a bit of external guidance for your journey. The person does not have to be a famous one like Deepak Chopra or Oprah. They could be your yoga teacher, mentor, good friend, someone in your industry, or someone on a similar journey.

It can be helpful to turn to them as a resource when you feel off your game or if you are losing track of your journey and are starting to get sucked back into the mind-numbing rat race.

4. Cultivate a Sense of Joy to Detach Yourself From Others’ Success

Seeing others succeed should not shake your world. Even if you think that they are doing the same thing as you, their success and struggles are their own. Stop comparing your life to others because you are all experiencing different things.

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Cultivating detachment around the journey of others will help to liberate you from feeling that you have to measure your progress against theirs. Cultivating a sense of authentic joy for their progress will help you celebrate your own progress.

When you are happy for others, it makes it easier for you to be happy for yourself. When you are willing to acknowledge the wins of others no matter how small, it allows you to acknowledge your incremental wins, too

Final Thoughts

Proactive self-validation and reflection are the cures for avoiding the comparison trap. However, this is easier said than done.

There will be ups and downs in your journey if you want to stop comparing yourself to others. But if you make your focus internal, limit your consumption of ultra-curated social media, pick a grounding source of inspiration, and work on cultivating joy and detachment for the success of others, then you already made a big step in the right direction.

More on How to Stop Comparing to Others

Featured photo credit: Timur Romanov via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: The Comparison Trap
[2] American Psychological Association: Taking A Closer Look at Social Comparison Theory

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Awilda Rivera

Success Coach - Author - Speaker - Yogi - Advisor

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation

11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation

The power of positive thoughts cannot be denied, even though sometimes it can seem a little like a cliché when you hear people talking about it. Well, I’m here to tell you that cliché or not, the mental and physical benefits of thinking positively are a proven way to give you more confidence, improve your self-esteem, give you motivation, and generally put you in a better mood. Thinking of at least one positive thought every day can have significant benefits for you.

Some scientific studies even suggest that thinking positively can reduce the likelihood of health conditions, like depression, hypertension, and a variety of other stress-related disorders.

This sounds amazing, but what does it really mean to think positively?

Positive thinking isn’t about finding your inner smile. Many people rarely have what they would consider joyous inner thoughts but that doesn’t mean they can’t be content with themselves and their life.

Positive thinking (thinking of positive thoughts every day) is more about finding the positive imagery in your life and viewing things through more optimistic eyes, especially if you’ve got yourself into a rut of seeing things negatively.

The biggest problem with positive thoughts is that they wear off quickly and things like rejection, negative experiences, setbacks, and heartbreak can soon put you into a downward spiral that gets you back into that negative funk you hate.

And, let’s be honest, being in a negative funk is a sure-fire way to strip your motivation and leave you unable to perform at the levels you know you can. If you’re looking for an instant way to boost your motivation, join the free Fast-Track Class – Activate Your Motivation. It’s a free intensive session that can help you identify your inner drive and build a sustinable motivation engine. You can sign up for the free session here.

So, how do you keep yourself positive in a world that seems hell-bent on bringing you down? Well, with the right routine of positive thoughts you can ensure that you wake up every day feeling motivated and looking forward to everything life has to throw at you.

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Here are some tips so you can start thinking of positive thoughts every day.

1. Be Thankful You Woke up This Morning

Not to start on a morbid note, but you woke up this morning. Some people didn’t. Don’t think of it is as a depressing morality tale, just use it to remember that you’ve won the greatest gift life has to offer – you’re alive.

It’s so easy to dwell on the negative aspects of our lives, but we always seem to miss the most obvious positive thing we have – life itself. Take a deep breath, look outside your window, and marvel at the world around you.

2. You Don’t Have to Listen to Haters

There’s no doubt that some people are really mean-spirited individuals who will love to ruin your day. Well, I’m here to tell you they can’t. Not if you don’t let them.

Ignore the haters. Dismiss their bile for what it is – vicious comments of unfulfilled people. Remind yourself that you are above them and nothing they say will bring you down.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

I know, I know. It’s easy to say, “Don’t compare yourself with anybody else.” But at the end of the day, we all have envious thoughts when we see somebody we perceive to be more successful than we are.

But think about it, are they really better than you and even if they are, does it even matter? By spending time being jealous you are wasting time on negative thoughts that could be spent pursuing something that makes you happy.

4. You Must Take a Chance

It’s easy to shy away from something that is high risk and high reward out of fear of being labeled a loser.

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Have you ever noticed that doing so actually makes you feel worse than if you’d just taken the risk in the first place? We know that rejection feels bad and failure can weigh heavily, but regret is a far stronger emotion over time.

Don’t hesitate if you have the chance. Go for it and tell yourself that if you fail, it’s no big deal. At least you tried.

Perhaps the perfect example of this approach is David Goggins. We all have a lot to learn from the inspirational David Goggins story and his priceless sayings.[1]

Goggins, considered by many to be ‘the toughest man alive’, is a retired Navy SEAL and the only person ever to complete SEAL training, the U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. He’s also one of the world’s top endurance athletes and held the Guinness World Record for pull-ups, completing 4,030 in 17 hours.

He sounds like a ‘naturally gifted badass person’ right? But in his book, he reveals that he was actually ‘The weakest man in the world’, in his own words.

Overcoming obesity, poverty, racism, learning disabilities, abusive violent father, he came through the other side, inspiring people to embrace suffering and struggle, to find their greatness and inner peace. He took the slim chances he had and changed his life completely.

5. Accept That Things End

Even the best things in life end eventually, so don’t worry about them. Don’t fret about how the good times are about to stop, just enjoy them while they last. And when they do finally end, be happy in the knowledge that something else just as good will come along.

6. Don’t Judge Others

This ties in with point number 2 above – you won’t like it if others judge you so don’t judge them. We know it can be difficult to refrain from labeling other people, but doing so is a sure-fire way to start descending into a negative thought spiral.

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We all live in a world where passing judgment is tolerated, but not only is accepting people a great way to make others feel better, it’s also a fantastic way to foster positive thoughts within ourselves.

7. Don’t do Things for Others That Make You Unhappy

We all want to make other people happy, right? But what if the things that other people want us to do makes us unhappy?

If you’re doing something just for the satisfaction of others, don’t. Stop it right now. Your happiness and your time should never be sacrificed for the satisfaction of someone else. You won’t be able to think of positive thoughts every day if you are unhappy in the first place.

8. Don’t Like Your Job? Then Quit.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but nothing is more certain to drain your happiness levels quicker than a job that you hate. If you spend your evenings and days off dreading returning to the office, then start to do something about it.

We’re not talking about jeopardizing your livelihood by quitting (although the dramatic heading for this point certainly suggests so). What we mean is start to make plans and formulize an exit strategy. Nothing promotes positive thoughts more than a plan that removes something negative from your life.

Start simple by saving up funds to make the change and circulating your CV. The first step may seem difficult, but the sense of relief it gives will improve your thought patterns immeasurably.

It might be scary to start over at someplace new and going through a screening process that might be tedious, but once you understand that selling yourself can be easier than you think, you are halfway through.[2]

9. Take Control of Your Mornings

How you begin the day will set the tone for how the rest of it will go. Getting up in a panicked state is a very efficient way to kick start a negative emotional spiral. Get up bright and early, and give yourself time to prepare for the day.

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Though some of the mind-boggling thoughts you are having when waking up can be positive for you and even mean more than you imagine, it’s better to set up a fixed positive mental routine.

Think about the positive aspects of your life and tell yourself things like, “Today is going to be a good day” or “I’ll be amazing today.” Yeah, I know this sounds cheesy, but positive words instill positive thoughts.

10. Focus on the Good Things in Your Life No Matter How Small

You’re going to hit obstacles during the day. Things don’t generally run perfectly all the time. The trick is that when you encounter a challenge, don’t dwell on it and choose to focus on the positives you can find no matter how small they may seem.

If you get stuck in a traffic jam, don’t fret about how it is slowing you down. Take positivity in the fact that you have extra time to listen to the radio station you have been enjoying. If you head to your local store and it’s out of the ingredients you need for your dinner party, buy something else and create a different food masterpiece.

Focussing on good things is a great way to gain positive momentum in your life. The huge power of momentum is that even a series of very small things can accumulate to massive results – with the aid of momentum.

11. Look at the Funny Side

Even dark situations can have a humorous side if you look at them the right way. When in a dark or trying situation, remind yourself that what is happening to you will probably make a great story in the future and may even be passed on as a joke. Look for the funny side and laugh.

Final Thoughts

We all know that positive thoughts can be incredibly motivational but in modern life, it can be difficult to stay uplifted when the world around you seems determined to bring you down. By following some of the tips in our guide above, you could harness the power of positive thinking and find yourself starting every day motivated. So, start thinking of positive thoughts every day!

More Tips to Start Thinking of Positive Thoughts Every Day

Featured photo credit: Jacob Townsend via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Vision, Belief, Change: Best David Goggins Quotes
[2] Vision, Belief, Change: Is Selling Yourself Easier Than You Thought?

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