On our journey to happiness and achieving our goals, the thing that blocks us the most is fear. But fear comes in multiple forms. The number one fear is judgment and comparison. We often fall into comparison mode without even realizing it. Whether we compare ourselves to other people"”how they seem happier, skinnier, smarter, more with it than us"” or we compare ourselves to an older version of our own self (I was so much skinnier back then, or I used to make so much money before I was laid off, etc.), the results are equally detrimental.
Comparison is sneaky, cunning, and manipulative. It will walk around with us and rule our thoughts if we are not careful. If we want to find lasting happiness, we need to look at comparison for what it really is"”fear"”and address the underlying issue. This is why it is essential to look at how comparison is playing a role in our lives.
It is easier to look at the outside of a situation and assume it is better than perhaps it really is. For example, if you're single and still trying to find a partner, it may be easy to assume that someone who is married is happier than you are. It seems reasonable to believe that your friend who got a promotion is smarter than you. We think that because someone got the raise, or had their second child, or just started dating someone, they are richer, smarter, happier, or prettier than us. Such assumptions may be natural, but in truth, they are just ego projections that cater to our insecurities.
Our ego will generate thoughts like, "You are not worthy, or pretty enough, or smart enough, or strong enough, etc." Honestly, we can go our entire lives thinking that other people have it figured out, but this is always a story we create based on only a small fraction of the real picture.
Here's something to remember: Almost everything we see"” especially on social media"”is a carefully constructed version of reality. Judging someone based on his or her status update is keeping you from being all you can be, because you're comparing yourself to a false image and then beating yourself up when you don't stack up.
The next time you find yourself in comparison mode, remember this: We have no idea what someone else is truly going through.
Comparing ourselves to others is a common habit that hinders our happiness, but I find that comparing ourselves to older versions of ourselves is even more harmful. Many of us do this. We fall into the habit of thinking about our past and how we were in a particular situation. It could be about our financial status, our career status, our relationship status, or the size and shape of our body. Maybe you were happily married and now you're not. Maybe you had a successful career, but then you got laid off. Maybe you used to be a size 6 and go to the gym every day, but now you're a busy mom with more than a few pounds to lose.
Anytime you find yourself in comparison mode, remember it kidnaps your joy. Comparisons replace your joy with fear. But the good news is we are naturally inclined to choose love over fear, so this habit hindering happiness can be broken, and it can fixed for good.
When you find yourself looking at someone else and wondering why you aren't as smart, pretty, successful, etc., just take a breath and look inward. Learn to recognize the unique, glorious person you are at this very moment, and then ask yourself what you want, and what feels good for you in the moment. Aligning with your own truth in each moment will help you become who you want to be. In essence, this means you allow yourself to be your true self. Here are three easy fixes for comparison traps:
- Catch Comparison
Over the next week, catch yourself when you start slipping into comparison mode. Most of us go through life not realizing we are comparing ourselves to others or holding on to an older version
of ourselves. You can bust through this habit and reach happiness fast by catching the comparison. Literally addressing it can stop it in its tracks.
- Go Inward
After you formally catch the comparison, go inward. This means taking your attention off the outside situation and focusing on your own self. Start by repeating the words, "This is only one aspect of the entire picture." Remember, we never know the entire story, so assuming what we see is the final outcome will hurt us in the long run. Go on an inward journey to your own heart. This means aligning with your own self.
What does this situation bring up for me?
How does it make me feel?
How can I turn my judgment into curiosity?
- Just Do You
"Just do you" means you get comfortable being you and letting yourself be guided by your own passion and inner desires. When you align with your own true self, the comparison is eliminated.
Choose to focus on love. You are the light; you have dreams, goals, and aspirations that are part of you. And when you align with those, you realize that you are on your own path.