Have you ever fallen down the comparison hole? …Say you’re browsing on Instagram and see an unbelievably cool picture of your friend’s room with a view of the mountains that she wakes up to on her vacation while you’re stuck inside of your bedroom at home, without much of a view, studying. Or someone you know announces that they just got the latest Edea Piano skates after they just got a pair of Ice Fly’s only a couple months ago and you still have a while before you’re getting a new pair of skates. It can be really hard to crawl out of that hole once you’re in it. The truth is we’ve all been there—thinking that other people have it better. So why does this negative thinking, or gremlin of comparison show up and what are some of the things we can do to get out of or avoid this state of mind?
First, I think the most important thing to mention is not to be hard on yourself for having these thoughts in the first place. Being aware of your negative self-talk is wonderful, but it can also be sabotaging if you use it as a weapon rather than a tool. When you catch yourself in a moment of comparing, remember that the reason we compare ourselves is because we, as human beings, are curious. Naturally we want to challenge our limits and find out more about our potential, and the world around us. So before you beat yourself up for wistfully playing with the idea of wanting to have or do the same thing as someone else, remind yourself that this is just one of the ways inspiration is wanting to play with you and with what’s possible.
Second, the reason it can feel so darn yucky is because our gremlin, or ego, starts to feel threatened, sending us messages that we must not be as good or together, or (fill in the blank) as that person if we don’t have or do what they are doing. We must be missing out. This is where this quote by Steven Furtick becomes the biggest and most gratifying truth:
“The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel”
It’s ok to notice something amazing about someone else and it’s also ok to feel temporary envy. It’s when you start to dwell on it that it becomes a problem. What we put our attention on grows. So simply notice the feeling without judgment and then release it by sending out well wishes for the other person and by refocusing on what you do have and your goals, rather than on what you don’t have.
Third, use social media for self-expression rather than comparison. Social media can either be a comparison pit or it can be a medium for sharing positivity and inspiration and a celebration of who we are. To capitalize on the latter use these three questions to guide your social media posts:
What’s important to you? Knowing your values will ensure that what you post is aligned with your essence and represents what you stand for, whether it’s equality, freedom, creativity, or even fun.
How do you want to feel and what makes you feel that way? Are you at your best when you feel strong, radiant, bold, etc? Keeping your core desired feelings in mind will inspire eye catching and/or thought provoking posts.
Who are you posting for? Consider the audience that you want to appeal to. What is their age group, what do they care about and what are they looking for? This consideration will keep your posts effective and consistent.
There are times when comparison can be helpful. It can act as the extra push needed to perform at the next level, like training in a facility with other great skaters in order to consistently challenge your pre-conceived limitations. Recognizing when it becomes overwhelming and destructive rather than an empowering light is key. And we can notice the comparison gremlin by how it feels (i.e. a weight in your chest, spreading an uncomfortable heat through your body, or saying mean things about yourself or another). Nevertheless, without the awareness of how much attention and focus we put on the activities of others can bring out the ugly green gremlin of envy. And an overload of envy feels and tastes gross, like kale. Just kidding, Kale is delicious when you add it to your fruit smoothie and then you'll still get it's nutritional value without the taste! #kalesmoothiesforthewin
I'd love to hear your thoughts, what do you do when the comparison gremlin shows up? Share your comments below <3