According to self comparison theory, we determine our own social and personal worth based off of how we see ourselves stacked up against others we view as either better or worse. Common comparisons are referred to as upward social comparisons or downward social comparisons.
Upward Social Comparison: “At least I’m not as heavy as she is.”
Downward Social Comparison: “She is so much smarter than I am.”
In some ways, self comparison can be helpful. Comparing yourself to others may motivate, inspire or drive you to make improvements in your own life.
In other ways, self comparison can be detrimental to our well-being and self esteem.
I work really hard to follow my own advice (the best that I can. No one’s perfect. 😉 ). Slowing down, reflecting and letting myself just be, where ever/however I need to be, just for that day.
One day as I was journaling, I thought about the people I had compared myself to that day. Friends, family, strangers. In a matter of seconds, I had a list of at least 10 people. I compared myself to them in many different capacities like education, job, career, finances, relationships, body type, etc.
After I wrote out the people I’d compared myself to that day I was pretty shocked. I had never thought of myself as someone who compared myself to others all that frequently, or at least not to the point where it affected my life in a negative way…
In trying to dissect how to approach my new realization that I, in fact, was comparing myself to others quite often, I decided to do some research.
I made some intentional changes to counteract the self-comparing slump I had fallen into.
Here’s how I recognized self comparison was holding me back & affecting my life:
- Each time something positive happened in my business, I felt like it still wasn’t “good enough” or “big enough”
- I felt paralyzed by fear of failing
- I felt the need to prove my worth to others around me
Here’s what I did to help:
- I set boundaries on how often I use social media!!!!!! I know you hear this all the time but it made a big difference for me. I even deleted social media apps off my phone for a few days and boy did I feel a significant difference. J
- I stepped into a creative mindset. Rather than comparing myself to what others were doing, I used the time I’d usually spend scrolling through insta to journal new ideas, explore new places and doodle about new visions.
- Cling to gratitude. Seriously. It’s easy to make a gratitude list every day and not really use it to your advantage. Gratitude is about much more then writing down 3 things every morning. It’s how you act in your life, how you treat the people you love, how you approach situations. Practice gratitude in your life, with your actions and with your words.
Now, I choose to stay in my own lane. I choose to put my blinders on, keep them there ..and maybe pull out some bigger, longer blinders from time to time when I really need ‘em.
As a society, we’re constantly inundated with new information, new technologies, products, ideas, etc. This is wonderful and has led to so many advances!
It has also contributed to a deep rooted experience of constantly feeling that we are not enough.
And it makes sense! How could we not compare ourselves to others when we see all of the good things that go on in others’ lives. We listen to everyone’s humble brags and we really don’t see much of the struggle or hard work that happens behind the scenes.
If you’re feeling stuck or that you’re not doing enough, self comparison might be a contributing factor! If you find out that it is, welcome to the club! How can you tweak the way you spend your time and energy to wiggle your way out of the self comparative slump?! Need some help? Reach out to me here!