After a keynote I led on a college campus, a young woman asked me: How do you stop comparing yourself to others?
I love this question because my answer has evolved over time. I used to compare my body to someone else’s body. Believing that if I just had her legs or olive skin that my life would be better.
Then, once I healed some of my body story, I found that comparison moved to business. I used to compare the growth of my business to the success of other people’s businesses. Always checking how many likes or followers they had, and then feeling crappy when mine didn’t match up. And after that, comparison moved into my relationship and so on and so forth.
It seems the story of comparison is never ending – and always manages to find fuel to source it.
The one thing I know for sure is from this powerful quote:
“Comparison is the Thief of Joy.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
The good news, here are three ways I’ve learned to interrupt this cycle and flip it on it’s head. It’s what I shared with the brave student in the audience, and am now sharing with you.
What do you do if you start comparing yourself to others?
1. Be YOU.
The best way to stop comparison from taking over your life is to get to know and love YOU. The more you like, value and appreciate yourself, the less you feel flawed and defective. This is the underlying root of all comparison. “I don’t feel good enough.” When we look at ourselves and our lives through that lens, it’s easy to fall prey to the comparison monster.
The best gift we can give ourselves is falling in love with who we are and where we are. In fact, in my experience falling in love with the thing that I loathed has brought me more reward and liberation than I ever thought possible. (Curious what I mean? Watch this video.)
Accepting our current reality (body, job, relationship status) doesn’t mean our circumstances won’t change or get better (i.e., lose weight, make more money, get in a healthy relationship, etc.). What it means is we are no longer fighting our current existence. We are no longer actively seeking the cure for our disease, because we realize we aren’t diseased at all.
In that choice, we create space. We find our worth and celebrate the thing that makes us unique; thus kicking comparison to the curb.
2. Switch from Envy to Admiration.
Question: What artists do you like? Musicians? Painters? I imagine every person reading this has their own favorites. And just because I happen to dig Jason Mraz doesn’t mean that Led Zepplin doesn’t have value, right?
Imagine how boring the world would be if we only valued one type of musician or artist. That would be no fun. Yet, this is what we do when it comes to our body or even our definition of success. It’s narrow – tall, thin, no cellulite or earning a minimum of six figures without having to work a lot.
But, there are lots of definitions of beauty and success if we are willing to open our minds to all the possibilities. So, instead of being filled with jealousy or envy, see if you can flip that to admiration.
“What a beautiful work of art!” Our bodies are creations, and creations can be considered art. So, why not see and appreciate that beautiful walking work of art in front of you? Wishing you were that in order to fill a hole in you is completely different from appreciating it and still knowing you have value.
It’s subtle, but can make a big difference. And, ps, admiring it tends to welcome it into your life versus pushing it further and further away through envy.
Read more: The Best Way to Say the F Word
3. Acknowledge It – Out Loud to the Subject of Your Comparison.
This is the scariest and most fun when you get behind it and risk trying it. When you see someone and think: “Man, if I only had her legs” or “If I only had her business sense” – TELL HER. Yikes!?
Acknowledging it and praising her not only interrupts the negative pattern within yourself, but it’s also an incredibly generous gift to give. More often than not, the recipient of the compliment is so appreciative. In fact, she/he may even admit how your words made their day. That they were feeling self-conscious in their outfit or launch of their new program.
When this happens it’s eye-opening. It allows you to see that we all have insecurities and fears – even the people we look at and think are perfect!
This guest post is from contributor Amber Krzys. Amber is a top speaker, coach, and “bodyhearter” who helps people have a body and life they LOVE! Amber is a graduate of Point Park University.