Life’s Not A Competition: How To Overcome Comparison & The Feeling Of Not Measuring Up
Clodagh O'Mahony·November 24, 2021
One moment you were scrolling Instagram and the next you’re consumed with feelings of inadequacy, failure, and shame. Your head is spinning with toxic thoughts and you can’t escape the painful sting of self-judgement. All it took was a glance of someone 'having it all' and suddenly your confidence has come crumbling down around you.
This is comparisonitis and without preventative action, it can strike at any time: when you’re on social media, during a period of intense personal growth, even when you’re chatting with friends.
If comparison has ever held you in its clutches you’ll know just how painful, disempowering and confidence-shattering it can be. It shines a light on all the areas you feel you are failing at while simultaneously knocking your confidence so badly that it can prevent you from taking steps towards your goals.
It will come as no surprise to you that here at The Head Plan we don’t want you to compare and despair. So let us take help and guide you in stepping into your self-worth and shaking off the feeling of comparison for good...
How To Overcome Comparison
Identify your triggers
Here’s what we want you to know: it’s not about the shiny new car your friend has just purchased or the business empire that stranger on the internet is growing. No, it’s all about you. That’s right, YOU. And looking at your comparison triggers in this way can be the essential shift that takes you from falling behind to living your best life.
Comparison is like holding a mirror up to your insecurities. It allows you to see with crystal clarity where you could use a little extra self-love. So, you need to begin by questioning why certain things trigger you the way they do. What insecurities, doubts and fears lie behind that negative comparison? What beliefs have led you to believe that you don’t measure up?
In her book Comparisonitis, Melissa Ambrosini outlines two key practices that will help you in areas that you might start comparing. She calls them ACES and CAST and they’re sure to stop your negative inner critic in its tracks.
When you feel the hurt of comparison bubbling up inside you, turn to ACES: it stands for Awareness, Choose, Eliminate and Shift. That means becoming aware of when you’re comparing, choosing what you want to feel instead (eg I choose love, I choose self-acceptance, I choose inner peace), and eliminating the trigger. That might mean logging out of Instagram or excusing yourself from a conversation that’s draining your self-worth.
Finally, you can shift your energetic state by going for a walk, turning on some music, meditating or even jumping up and down. This helps get those negative vibes out of your body. (Need more? Turn to our list of mood-boosting energy shifters here.)
When you’ve fallen down the well of self-judgement you can use CAST: It stands for Character, Awareness, Shut The Door and Truth.
To use it, you should give your inner critic a character. Go ahead and give them a name and even imagine what they might look like. Next, become aware of when your inner critic is popping up, then politely shut the door on them.
Finally? Find your truth. That means no more believing toxic lies about yourself but grabbing on to a new perspective. Look for evidence of the exact opposite of what your inner critic has been saying. Is it really true that you’re not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough to succeed? Absolutely NOT – so go ahead and find evidence to the contrary.
Document your achievements
Denis Waitley, a renowned motivational speaker who appeared on The Secret, says, “The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself” but when was the last time you kept track of all that you have accomplished? When we compare, we focus on all that others have said and done and we ignore the amazing successes that we’ve created.
Right this second, think of a time you overcame something really hard and lived to tell the tale. YOU did that. Consider how many times you’ve hit a target, found the right words to comfort a friend, bought the perfect gift, or aced a project at work. No matter how you think you measure up to others, you have provided more value to others than you even realise.
You can do anything you put your mind to. Read that sentence again and really let it sink in. Knowing this, you can use comparison as fuel for the fire. When you feel the sting of inadequacy, you can use it to inform your goals.
If somebody has something you want, we want you to know that there is nothing to stop you from having it too. All it takes is a willingness to succeed and a little planning to get there. So, what are you waiting for? Open your journal and get going. Write it down and make it happen – because guess what? If they can do it, so can you.
There’s nobody quite like you…
You are doing the best you can. There are 7.8 billion people in the world and not one of them are exactly like you. In fact, there aren’t enough words in the dictionary to adequately describe you in all of your amazing abilities.
When you look at it like this, it seems silly to compare yourself to someone else. Just as you aren’t like them, they aren’t like you either. Swap comparison for celebration and recognise yourself for the once-in-a-lifetime miracle you are.