One of my very favorite quotes that I refer to often in therapy and in my own life is: “Comparison is the thief of joy”, said by Theodore Roosevelt.
Mr. Roosevelt was on to something big. Before the age of positive psychology or the strong push for self-awareness, he understood that we will never be truly joyful if we are continually comparing ourselves to others.
There will always be someone smarter, better looking, more successful, stronger, and happier.
When we look to others for our own self validation or measure of joy, we are setting ourselves up for continual let down and disappointment.
So how do you stop comparing yourself? Here are a few tips to get you started:
2. Practice gratitude
Spend your energy focusing on the positives in your own life. What are you grateful for? How are you blessed? Keep a daily gratitude journal. Teach your brain to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Focus on the things you do have instead of the things you don’t.
3. Don’t let yourself get derailed
When you start to compare yourself to someone else, or start to feel bad about who you are, check yourself! Consciously recognize what you’re doing and get yourself back on track.
4. Stay in the present
The past causes depression and the future causes anxiety. Stay in the present as much as possible! It’s like driving a car and you’re looking out the windshield at where you currently are.
The rearview mirror is the past. The side mirrors are the future. Of course you need to glance at them every now and then to help your driving.
But what would happen if you drove your car only looking at the mirrors? Depression and anxiety make you feel bad about the present and make you more susceptible of comparing yourself to those around you.
5. Take care of yourself
Be kind to yourself. Practice self-compassion. Give yourself a break and cut yourself some slack! The better you take care of yourself, the less concerned you are with the things you don’t have. And the more energy you have to get the motivation to get to where you want.
6. Find validation from within yourself
Looking to others for validation will only set you up for failure. Looking within yourself to set your own bar is essential. You are in the place you’re at for a reason. Every person’s journey is different.
Your journey isn’t supposed to be exactly like everyone else. There is no mold that is a one size fits all. Your own journey and what’s good for you is a healthy gage to be comparing yourself to.
Sarah Higgins, MA, LPC – www.chrysalisfamilygrowth.com