Who's Your M.U.T.
I’ve been listening to a podcast about comparison, and it’s hit some trigger points for me. Exactly WHO am I Measuring Up To? The young girl with the long flowing silky hair and the golden tan I never have? The couple who is traveling to places that bring me peace or the businesswoman who’s working from home and is kicking ass on all fronts?
Who is she to you? In reality this begs the question who am I? Some degree of social comparison is inevitable, but when we use it as a gauge of self-worth, that’s when we run into trouble. We know that comparing ourselves to other people isn’t healthy for us -research has proven this over and over again in the areas of our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. So then why do we keep doing it?! There are a plethora of reasons why you might be traveling down this dark winding road, even though you know it’s stealing your joy.
We compare ourselves when we let our inner critic tell us there’s something missing within us. A void we need to fill. Maybe we think we don’t have the brains to start our dream business. Maybe we think we aren’t sexy or attractive enough to catch the eye of that special someone. Maybe we think we aren’t healthy enough to get pregnant and so we compare ourselves to all the women who are getting pregnant… but none of this chatter is actually helpful.
We compare when we have a lack of self-worth. When we don’t think we deserve what we truly desire. Yet again, it’s not actually a helpful behavior to engage in.
We compare when we believe there isn’t enough to go around. Metaphorically speaking, when we see others getting a piece of the pie that we want, and we start to worry there won’t be a slice left for us.
We compare when we are not staying in our own lane. When we are looking to our left to see what Abigail is doing, and to our right to check out what Brittany is up to, we can fall prey to comparison instead of putting our blinders on, staying in our own lane, and running our own race – to completion!
We compare because we have been conditioned by society that success looks a certain way. From the moment we come out of the womb, we are bombarded with messaging that says success is going to school, getting a degree, getting a high paying job, getting married, buying a home, having kids, retiring in our 60’s and traveling the world. So we look at other people to compare where we’re standing in line. The good news is that YOU get to define success. You may have not written the beginning of your story, but you sure can write the ending!
We compare because we have a lack of belief and confidence in ourselves. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Truth bomb!! Let that sink in a little bit!
So how do we stop the craziness?
Master your inner critic. You are worthy! None of us get out of life unscathed. Our spirit will be crushed once, twice or multiple times. Don’t give up! When you feel like you’re not enough, that’s the time to reach out and grab what you want. Daily positive affirmations about yourself will also cultivate courage, compassion and connection.
Increase your self-love. Create a self-love list that fills you with joy from the inside out. Only you know what makes your heart sing and puts a spring in your step. For me, it’s waking up early, having some quiet time, enjoying a cup of tea or a latte, feeling the warm sun on my face and relaxing in a bath of bubbles to wash the day away.
Stay in your own lane. Put your blinders on and run your own race. Remember, no one is the same as you, and no one has the same skills, experiences and circumstances as you, so quit comparing and stay in your own lane. My father-in-law likes to ask the question during difficult times, "will the same people, given the same set of circumstances, come to the same conclusion?" It sounds like the logical answer would be yes, right? The answer is no, they won’t – because they all have different experiences.
Remove your triggers. Whatever triggers you to compare yourself to others, remove it from your life. Do a social media, magazine, or movie detox. Remove yourself from the triggers so you can heal the wound. This isn’t about avoiding or suppressing the triggers so you don’t get triggered. Instead, it’s about giving yourself some space to heal.
Celebrate all your achievements, big and small. This is a great way to sidestep the comparison game. Open a journal and title the page, Achievements. Then at the top of the page, put the month and year and list all your achievements no matter how big or small each month. Add everything, no matter how big or small, to this list when you achieve something. Then whenever you are feeling down, or you start playing the comparison game, read this list and be proud of all that you have accomplished.