We live in a time where it’s so easy to see how other people are living their lives. Unfortunately, this makes it even easier for us to fall into the comparison trap. However, I am going to be sharing seven ways that you can break free from this trap and start appreciating where you’re at in your own life!
1.) Accept where you are in life
We all go through different stages in our lives. You cannot compare your life to someone who is going through a different stage in their life.
Even if someone is going through a similar stage of life that you are in, your circumstances are still different. As similar as your lives may seem, your situation is always unique.
For example, your nature is different than others. your spouse’s nature is different. Your kids’ natures are different. Your life experiences are different. Your situation is unique to you and is not comparable with others.
Understanding that your life is unique to you and your family will always be a good reminder when you start feeling comparisons creep up. When you can accept where you are in life, it will help you understand how unrealistic it is to compare your life to others.
Examples: If you have 6 young children, don’t expect to “keep up” with someone who has two kids. If you, your child, or your spouse has physical or mental health struggles, don’t expect to “keep up” with those who don’t. Even if the struggles are similar, there are none identical to yours.
2.) Define what truly matters to you
When you are clear on your values and what truly matters to you, it will allow you to show up more confidently in your life. We all prioritize things differently and that’s okay. Just because one person has different priorities, it doesn’t mean that you should feel pressured to feel the same.
So focus on what truly matters to you. You know you best, you know your family best, and you can use your values and instincts to make decisions on how you live your life.
So next time you find yourself comparing, ask yourself if that is something that you find a priority in your life. If it’s not, then accept that you do not find that to be a priority in this stage of life and that you are focusing on what truly matters to you at this time.
Example: Someone might prioritize keeping a sparkling clean house because that’s the only way their brain will function. Whereas another mom that prioritizes arts and crafts with her kids might keep her “mess” out, because it’s more convenient for her. Is there any right or wrong? No, it’s just the fact that one prioritizes the clean house and one prioritizes the time to do arts and crafts with her kids.
3.) recognize your own strengths
Just like you find yourself comparing yourself to others, there are people that are comparing themselves to you. If you’re having a hard time believing this about yourself, I encourage you to journal on it or think about it.
Everybody has strengths and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging them. We all have our different strengths for a reason. That way, we can all come together and help each other in different ways!
Once you are able to recognize your own strengths, it is easier to accept that other things are not your strong point. So, when you find yourself comparing, ask yourself if that’s a strong point for you. If it’s not that’s totally fine! You can either accept that or if it’s something you want to work on you can make it a priority.
4.) Only compare yourself to you
There is a difference between admiring something about someone and comparing yourself to them. If you admire something about someone you can be inspired by their actions, feel happy for them, and take advice from them if you want to learn something they have done.
The problem comes when you compare yourself to the point of wanting to live their lifestyle or be just like them. Even if you want to take a similar path as them, yours will never be just like theirs!
As it says in the word itself, self-improvement is a focus on yourself, not on other people. Everyone is doing their best, and so are you. Just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Instead, try to do a little bit better or more each day. You can compare yourself to where you were yesterday, last week, or last year, but comparing yourself to others will not give you the satisfaction of progress that you’re looking for.
So, focus on your own progress and make yourself proud!
Examples: Look back at yourself as a child or maybe five years ago. Would you be proud of where you are now? What are the things that you wanted? Did you want a family and now you have one? Did you want a husband and now you have one? Did you want to buy a house and now you own a house? What are the different things that you can appreciate about yourself and how far you’ve come?
5.) don't judge a book by its cover
It is so easy to perceive what you think someone’s life is like. The trouble comes when you assume that they have it all together because they appear that way when they are out and about.
The truth is you don’t know what they’re struggling with. They could be struggling internally, and we have no clue what goes on behind closed doors.
It can be easy to think the grass is greener on the other side because of an impression you get, but if you knew the whole story you might now want to be like that after all.
Examples: It can be something as simple as them appearing confident, but inside they’re very insecure and have a lot of internal struggle struggles. Or it can be that they see well off financially, and they have all the nice things. But at the end of the day, there could be fights between her and her spouse about you know it being hard financially. We can never judge a book by its cover.
6.) give less attention to how others are living thier life
We are constantly being bombarded with ads, magazines, news, and social media trying to convince us that we are getting an honest look into other people’s lives.
These are all distractions from your own life. And unfortunately, the more you focus on how other people are living their lives, the less you are going to be able to focus on your own.
This is also where comparisons like to pop up. So, recognize what your triggers are and lessen them. For example, if you order magazines that bring up comparisons, if it’s certain accounts you follow on social media, or if you’re spending too much time online looking for the “newer and better” things, than I encourage you to step away from those things.
These distractions will pull you away from focusing on your own life. As moms we always hear that we cannot pour from an empty cup. If we are pouring our precious time and energy into comparing how others live their lives, it will leave us feeling drained.
If you find yourself falling into these mindset traps, remind yourself that there are no benefits to it and then shift your focus to something in your own life. Then, when you can focus on your own life you will find it easier to be there for others.
Examples of other’s way of living: The way that they feed their kids, the way that they style their house, the style of their kid’s clothes, always buying the newest gadgets, etc.
7.) Focus on the good in your life
When we get distracted by how everyone else is living their life, it can take away from what we know is important in our hearts and the things that truly matter to us.
When this happens, you aren’t able to focus on the good in your life right now. Instead, you are being distracted by all the ways you think you need to change.
However, the more you are able to focus on the good in your life, the less you feel the need to compare. When you are focusing on the good, you will also feel an overall sense of contentment.
Contentment doesn’t mean that you don’t want to learn anything new or better any area of your life, but it’s about feeling an overall sense of peace and satisfaction with your life along the way.
The biggest thing here is that you don’t want to miss the good in your life now because you are so focused on change.
It all comes down to you enjoying YOUR journey. Each one of us are unique. Remember, you know yourself and your family best. You can have confidence in what works for you and your family.
You know what works best for you and your family and comparison will only take you away from that. Look inwards, trust your values, trust your instincts, and confidently show up for that.
Life is too short to get distracted by everyone else’s way of living. Focus on the good things in your own life and you will truly feel free from the comparison trap.