Stop Comparing & Start Living
“Comparison is the thief of joy”
Comparison. It’s something we’re all guilty of from time-to-time, especially now we post so much of our lives online.
This topic has come up a lot recently - in podcasts, books and conversations between friends and other small businesses, so I really feel it’s an important topic to discuss. If anything, it can be a comfort to know we’re not alone in these feelings.
For me personally, it's been almost a year of using Instagram in a business capacity and I've had some real highs and real lows with it - some lows have come from comparing myself to other small business’, but I now truly see how detrimental this is.
We’ve all been there
Through endless scrolling, negative thoughts like ‘they’re so lucky, I’ll never have X, I'll never be as X as them, I’m not as good as X, why are they so X and I'm not?’ can pop into our minds.
It may make us feel demotivated, resentful, hopeless or send us into a spiral of doubt. All horrible, debilitating feelings which no-one wants to feel. Please just know, you are normal - these feelings of comparison are universal.
The good news? It’s something we can manage.
Be mindful of your social media usage. Ultimately, we have to take responsibility for what we’re filling our minds and days with. Try to notice what triggers any feelings of comparison and take action to avoid it going forward (even just temporarily).
Remember that life is a constant energy exchange. You know yourself best and what depletes your reserves - try to block out some external noise so you have more energy and time to focus on yourself and your goals.
Change your thinking from “I wish I was like them” to “thank you for showing me what’s possible”. This was an absolute game-changer for me - it flipped a negative thought right on it’s head and turned envy into inspiration.
Be aware that we live in a hugely digital world where people usually only post the highlights of their lives. This is not the whole picture, so take it with a pinch of salt. We are each on completely different paths. We have no real idea what someone has been though to get to this point, so it’s like comparing apples and oranges.
Redefine what success is to YOU. Everyone's version of success is different because everyone has different values, prioritises and aspirations. To some people, a massive win may be managing to leave the house to go to the shop after an anxiety attack. To others, it may be moving out of their parent’s home. Ultimately everyone’s goals will be different and that’s just fine. Don’t let social media make you chase something you didn’t authentically want in the first place.
- Celebrate everything, even the small things! Look at how far you’ve come in the last few years. It can help to write it down too. Read it. Feel it. You bloody did it! There may have been a time when one of those things seemed impossible, yet here you are with all of these small but mighty wins under your belt. Although thinking ahead to ‘what’s next’ can be important, don’t forget to celebrate how far you've come.
Speaking from experience, I know that I’m at my most susceptible to feelings of comparison when I’m feeling mentally drained. I’ve recently made a conscious effort to take care of my basic needs first, then I don’t tend to be in a position to spiral downwards.
Drink lots of water. Get good quality sleep. Get out in the fresh air twice a day. Move your body. Do things that make you feel joyful.
Do whatever it takes to switch up negative thinking to empowering thinking. I love saying the following mantras to myself whilst walking to the shop.
I love and approve of myself
I am confident
I am successful
I know what I'm doing
I deserve success
There is room for everyone to follow their passion in life
As I’m writing this, we are deep into the Covid-19 pandemic. Really tough times like this will always come, that’s just life, but please be kind to yourself during them. In our most vulnerable states, beating ourselves up for feeling a certain way is so counterproductive.
Please remember we are all winging it in some areas of our life/business - no matter what the online presence shows. If someone looks like they have absolutely everything figured out, remember this is just the final snapshot. 99% of the time there's a lot of stress and sacrifice to get to that point but not many people show that side of the journey.
Remember, confidence and self-love are daily practices. I love this quote by Zig Ziglar -
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” It’s the same with so many thoughts/emotions. Find ways to remind yourself every day.
Please just know this - you are exactly where you should be. If you have a goal, remember a tiny step forward is still a step forward. Be proud of how far you’ve come and don’t dwell too much on other people’s journeys. Most of the time we have no idea of their bigger picture - how much hard work, sacrifice, learning and emotions have gone into their life or work. Be confident in your own abilities, we have so much more to give than we give ourselves credit for.