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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)
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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

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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 July 21, 2021

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary
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When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

“Attitude is Tattoo”

Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

Believe You Can Do It

Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Embrace Failure

Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

Start Making the Change

But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

Why is that?

Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

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So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

Write down What You Want to Change

Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

Tell a Friend and Talk About It

Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

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Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

Final Thoughts

You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

More Tips for Strengthening Your Resilience

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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