Ready to break a bad habit? I know I am.
Here we are almost halfway through this series and we are making so much progress! Today we are going to break a very bad habit. I know many of you are guilty of this habit and so I want to set you free from a trap that we have all fallen into at one time or another.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Theodore Roosevelt
It’s time to STOP comparing yourself to others and it’s time to stop comparing others to yourself. No matter how you look at it comparisons are unfair, a waste time, can cause resentment and steal our joy.
This is a habit that I struggle with at times, so just remember that I am talking to myself as much or more than anyone else! I don’t want to be the pot calling the kettle black, so I wanted to just get that little confession out of the way up front.
I have ample opportunity to compare myself to others in all areas of life, as I am sure many of you do. There will always be someone to compare ourselves to and there will always be someone comparing themselves to us. It’s not what you have that matters, but what you do with what you’re given.
The Comparison Trap
You know how it goes, you’re listening to someone sharing their latest greatest news and you want to be happy for them, you really do! You’re smiling and patting her on the back but inside you are questioning your own self-worth. Inside you are feeling a little bit short-changed… maybe even a little jealous. I’ve been there, too.
There are lots of areas where we compare ourselves so I’m going to point out just a few, and you can add any others you think of in the comments, I mean, there’s an endless number of people and things we find to compare against… Don’t worry, we are going to come up with some actionable insights to help us to break this habit.
- comparing your body, height, weight, skin color, hair, eyes, fitness level, etc. to others
- comparing your accomplishments to those around you
- comparing your life and activities to the “highlights” of other people’s lives you see on social media
- comparing your marriage to another couple's’ marriage
- comparing your financial situation to others
- comparing your age to others (there’s nothing you can do about it anyways!)
- Comparing yourself with your younger self! (so guilty here)
Have you ever been scrolling through social media and start to think, “my life is so boring” or “I need to step up my fitness game” or any other thoughts similar to these?
I know that has happened to me, especially when I see people traveling or at the beach! The beach is my favorite place and as far as traveling, I have a serious case of Wanderlust! I didn’t realize what was happening to me until I started texting my husband, “I need a new adventure.”
I’ve always loved doing what I do! How could I be so dissatisfied with all the blessings I’ve been given? That’s when I realized lately I had spent more time on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram etc. because I’d been stuck in bed during an illness. These social media outlets were feeding my discontentment. I was seeing someone on vacation or winning at life at every turn, meanwhile I was stuck in bed! I started feeling very much like life was being unfair to me!
No wonder I was starting to feel down and out. Comparison often leads us to be utterly dissatisfied with our own circumstances in life.
Remember in the kickoff I told you the best way to break a bad habit was to replace it with a good one? It’s time to swap habits!
Actionable Insights are simply tools that you can use to change your habits, basically it’s information that can be acted upon.
Awareness: Become more aware of of the harmful effects of comparisons. When you catch yourself comparing, change activities, walk away from your computer, the magazine with airbrushed models, or whatever it is. Just walk away and do something else.
Avoidance: Take a break from social media, or at least limit your time until you can learn to like yourself the way you are. Trust me, things begin to look much brighter when you stop trying to measure up to other people’s highlights.
Appreciate: Learn to appreciate your own success. Also, appreciate the successes of those around you, realizing there is not a limited amount of success in the world; there’s enough to go around!
Gratitude: Be grateful for what you have, recognize those things and acknowledge them. Gratitude is a shortcut to contentment.
I Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Inquire: This is especially important for your own growth. Learn from those who are successful without envying them! Ask genuine questions about how they achieved success and work on establishing your own model of success!
Understand: Instead of judging others and yourself, try to understand what the other person might be going through. Things aren’t always what they seem!
The Big Picture: Things aren’t always what they seem. You never know what is going on behind the scenes in someone else's life.
Remember: There are no perfect people. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Where someone else may excel in one area they may struggle in another.
Celebrate: The next time your colleague is sharing her excitement about her new promotion celebrate with her! Even if you are feeling envy creeping in congratulate her out loud and applaud her accomplishments and you’ll notice those feelings of jealousy start to fade away!
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Overflow: Think of an area where you are gifted and try to come up with a way you can use that gift to bless someone else. If you are blessed with more than you need consider giving some to another person less fortunate than you!
Anytime you feel yourself about to give in to the old habit of comparison, just pull out this new bag of tricks.
If you have anything to add to this bag of tricks feel free to share them in the comments! Remember, we can all help each other out on this one!
Here’s a pep talk I shared with my Youtube family back at the beginning of this year about avoiding the comparison trap.
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