Lately (and pretty much my entire life) I’ve gotten caught up in the comparison game.
It’s a game that we lose… every time.
Because it makes us feel like crap.
It makes us feel like everyone else is better than us.
It makes us feel like we’re less attractive, successful, happy, in love, intelligent, and the list goes on.
And I have a little bit of a history with being a sore loser.
I used to throw a tantrum every time my boyfriend completely whooped my butt in a game of Phase 10. It just wasn’t fair. Why did he win EVERY SINGLE TIME? Can’t someone throw me a bone here??!
Comparing myself to others feels just as frustrating, but has such a more devastating impact than a game of cards.
So why do we do it?
Why do we torture ourselves?
Why do we let ourselves get sucked into this place of disempowerment every single time?
I love this article on Quora that explains how comparison originated as a means of survival. Back in the day, we had to assess nearby creatures to determine if they were a threat.
Are they stronger than us? Can they kill us?
Nowadays we don’t need that quite as much. But it’s still there. We still compare.
So what do we do? How do we stop this natural tendency from derailing us every time?
Lately as I’ve become more aware of the effect comparisons have on me, I’ve been able to control how I respond.
Instead of letting it get me down, I focus on how it can lift me up.
I’m now able to control my reactions to losing card games as well😁
Instead of silently fuming as anger burns inside me, I laugh at how horribly I did, and playfully challenge him to a rematch.
I actually win a lot more games now too (and he’s not the type to LET me win so no it’s not a coincidence!).
We can win at comparisons too by choosing to focus on gratitude and inspiration.
I cultivate genuine gratitude in my heart for the people who seem more successful in their businesses, have more social media engagement, speak with greater confidence and conviction.
I’m grateful for them because they’re an example of what’s possible. They’re holding the torch and leading the way.
If they can do it, I know I can do it too.
And I don’t have to figure it all out from scratch. I can look to them for guidance.
So instead of feeling bitter or resentful toward them, I feel grateful.
I’ll even tell them how much I appreciate all they’ve done and how it’s positively impacted and inspired me.
Surely they’ll appreciate my message, as they probably get stuck in the comparison trap too – we’re all human! We all need a boost!
A lot of times the pain of comparison comes from “how come they accomplished this so much faster?” or “why is it easier for them?”
It’s tough because we want our results right now. But I know and trust that we all have our own unique journey with a unique timeline.
It might take some of us longer, and that’s okay. It’s not about the end result anyway.
We have to learn to enjoy where we are each step of the way, while also keeping ourselves inspired to keep going.
Instead of focusing on what I don’t have or how “behind” I might feel, I turn this inspiration into fuel to get my butt moving!
After all, the most important action we take is the one we’re taking RIGHT NOW.
I know my future self will thank me for it.
Now when I look at these people, as I start to feel the dread creep in, I ask myself “What do they have that I want?”
What can I learn from them?
How can I make this happen for myself?
What can I do right now to get me one step closer?
And then I do it.
And that’s how I win the comparison game.
Every. single. time. 😊
I will throw one word of caution though that often in life we’re so quick to ignore our emotions and slap a smile on our face to keep going.
If this feels like that to you, and you’re struggling to find the gratitude and inspiration, take some time to just let yourself be with your emotions.
Give them a little attention and they will pass more quickly.
In addition to gratitude, Psychology Today recommends other ways to stop the comparison game, such as avoiding your triggers and focusing on the good you already have in your life.
Wherever you’re at, just remember you’re not the only one. We all do this, and we all have the ability to recognize and control our reactions.
So the next time you get caught up in the comparison game, find some space in your heart to say Thank You, and appreciate that you’re letting yourself dream bigger.
But don’t stop with the dream. Ask yourself how you can start taking action toward it now.
Your journey is unique, and as long as you keep moving forward, you WILL get there.