Comparing and Despairing



One of my favorite yoga teachers used to say, “Don’t compare and despair. There will always be people better and worse than you.”

Of course, this wonderful age-old adage is easier said than done. Not only are we constantly bombarded by advertisements preying on our insecurities, but recent studies show that social media sites actually feed jealousy by creating the “illusion” that other people are living happier, more fulfilled lives than our own.

Here are the strategies that I use to help me focus on MYSELF, instead of falling down the rabbit hole of “Comparing and Despairing.”

1. Acknowledge the Emotion

Jealously is a REAL emotion and its ok to accept that sometimes we all feel jealous. The more I own my feelings the less often I have them. I like to think to myself, what about this situation makes me feel jealous. If I can name the cause, I can tame the cause.

2. Gratitude

Another strategy that helps me from constantly comparing myself to others is looking at my life and truly being grateful for what I have. Sometimes I like to jot my ideas down in a gratitude journal. I also like to think about five things that I am grateful for right before bed. Gratitude always forces me to recognize the good things I already have in my world.comparing

3. Filtered Life

I think we can all admit that the life we portray on social media is not always 100% accurate. Even those of us that pride ourselves on “Keeping things real,” don’t post EVERY nitty-gritty detail of our lives. However, when you are scrolling through beautiful pic after gorgeous filtered photo we have to remember that nobody is perfect, and nobody is living a painless life. 

4. Find Inspiration Without Comparison

This is the one that is often most difficult for me. Currently, I am working on redesigning our basement after our water heater exploded and we had to “gut” it. I pour over beautiful photos on Instagram and Pinterest of “perfect” bookshelves and immaculately decorated rooms and I WANT EXACTLY what the picture depicts. And in all honesty, most of the pics I LOVE are truly unattainable because they are “styled” for the photo and probably not what these people’s homes actually look like in “real life.”comparing

5. It’s all Perspective

There’s nothing wrong with looking at someone and thinking, I want to be like that! But it can become dangerous when it turns into a comparison game. This is tough for me when it comes to fitness and weight loss. Equal effort doesn’t always mean equal results, and that can be frustrating. Your fitness level is unique. Some runners can handle running 65-mile weeks without injury while others get hurt when pushing 20. That is just how our bodies work. Some moms lose their baby weight in three months, others of us still have baby weight and have a 4-year-old as our youngest. It is all in the eye of the beholder.

6. Seek Progress, not Perfection.

For those of us with Type A personalities (over here, over here!) everything can become a competition and can easily become something that we have to do and must be perfect at. The fact is, LIFE HAPPENS. Accept that things won’t always be perfect and move on. If I am going to compare I like to compare to myself and see the PROGRESS that I have made.

What strategies do you use to not compare and despair?


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