Here is a fantastic blog from Merrisha, our resident life coach at Styled By Susie. Merrisha has been doing amazing one to one work with some of our clients recently. If you’d like to work with her, just drop us an email to find out more (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In the meantime, have a little 4 minute read of this amazing blog.
Love, Susie xxx
I don’t know about you…but my knowledge of birds is rudimentary, to say the least. I can just about tell my blue tit from a robin! Seriously! But I can spy a magpie, which I have always known as the stealers of joy….especially other peoples’ joy. And do you know what else is the stealer of joy? Comparing yourself with others. And because it comes up repeatedly, I wanted to share some tips which might help if you know you suffer from this.
So why do we compare ourselves? Well, there is a very valid reason, which is we all have that innate ability within us. I’m sure you know the scene only too well …..a child playing contentedly with a toy, that is, until they see another child with a toy…and then suddenly they want it! And all hell erupts! We are consistently evaluating and comparing how we stack up against others, as a way of evaluating how well we might be doing.
For some people, comparing against those who appear to be doing better than us can be a source of motivation. It can push us to do better and get more. Just like comparing against those who are seemingly worse off than us can cause us to feel a bit better about ourselves, especially if we weren’t feeling great to begin with. But here’s the thing. Whether we compare against those who are better off or worse off, we quite often internalise this and are left feeling bad about ourselves. Exposure to disappointment and dissatisfaction on a regular basis can lead to feelings of depression. And so, we must take stock of these behaviours, and most importantly do something with them.
So what can you do?
- Evaluate emotions. Always start with checking in with how you are feeling. Emotions are powerful and incredible learning opportunities. Allow yourself to explore what feelings are coming up for you. And begin to get curious about what they mean. If you feel angry when you hear of others’ wins, dig into these feelings to understand what is at the source. Let positive emotions be a source of happiness, but also be mindful of your internal barometer, and if you might be avoiding dealing with other emotions beneath the surface.
- Be aware of your triggers, check your point of reference….and do something about it. If particular social media accounts leave you feeling less than great….unfollow or mute them. There is no reason why you should continue with anything that steals your joy. And be aware of exactly who you are comparing yourself with and how accurate a comparator they are. You cannot and should not compare yourself with someone who started their career journey at the same time as you if they didn’t take time out for children or other commitments. Neither should you compare your body with someone half your age. Remember you are comparing the highlights, with no accounting of their low lights!
- Catch your thoughts and self-talk. I covered tips to manage negative self-talk in an earlier blog but start examining whether or not you are identifying with the behaviour. You can make a stupid mistake, but that doesn’t mean you are stupid. Equally, you can be uncomfortable with a particular part of your body, but that does not mean there aren’t parts of you that aren’t fabulous.
- Ask yourself, are you in alignment? Are you comparing yourself against fake ideals of who you think you should be, what you think you should like, and where you should be in life? At your core, what are the things that truly matter to you and where do you want to be in your life? Once you are clear on who you are and where you are going, it will be easier to turn the volume down on the online and offline noise that is out of alignment.
- And lastly, always return to gratitude. Be grateful for what you do have, your journey to date, and everything that is to come. An attitude of gratitude will always help you see what is there, instead of focussing on what isn’t.
 Festinger, L. A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations. 1954;7 (2):117-140. doi.10.1177/001872675400700202