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How to Escape the Comparison Trap

April 26, 2016

I’ve been in an emotional slump lately. I let myself get down because I see the creativeness, the intelligence, the uniqueness of other people and realize how lacking I am. I fall prey easily to the comparison game when I read an inspirational blog post, see a beautiful, well-dressed woman, hear about someone else’s thought-provoking ideas, see pictures of someone’s cute home decor or artsy designs. Then I instantly look at my own ideas, my own creativity, and wish I had what someone else has. Sound familiar?

We are never good enough for our own satisfaction. We are never content just being us, just trying to be the best version of ourselves as author and speaker,  Matthew Kelly, talks about so often. We often see what others have and it’s always better than what we have.

It’s a constant, vicious cycle of accomplish and compare. We accomplish something great on our own and for a moment we are proud and satisfied with who we are and what we have done. Then we look and see what someone else is or has done. We compare that to ourselves and suddenly, we are not enough. We are not accomplished enough, smart enough, talented enough, rich enough, pretty enough and the self-pity sinks in, pulling us down into depths of inadequacy and self-loathing. Then when we work up the courage to try and be satisfied with ourselves again, the cycle starts over.

However much we try and try to be someone else, we just can’t, because we are made with identities and personalities that are all our own. We constantly rebel against ourselves yet if we aren’t ourselves, and if we can’t learn to be content with our talents, interests, and uniqueness,  then we will spend our lives chasing someone that we can never be. We each try to be a person that does not exist. A person who has little bits of all the people we admire and envy, a person with the best of every trait and talent in existence.

When we can step back and see how ridiculous that is, then common sense has a chance to rein in our emotions.  It would never work to have the best of everyone in each person because then we would all be a confusing jumble of each other instead of uniquely ourselves.  We would no longer be unique with our own sets of strengths and weaknesses but instead, we would be identical perfect robots.

How to Escape the Comparison Trap

So instead of constantly rebelling against your uniqueness and accomplishments,  here  are a few ways to jump off the comparison train and embrace who you are:

Run From Negativity

Instead of giving into negative thoughts and self pity, be positive, laugh, shrug it off. Redirect your attention to helping someone, completing tasks on your to-do list or doing something fun that you enjoy. Go for a walk, listen to a favorite song, call up an old friend, plan a date night with your spouse, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you don’t want to ruin your day by feeling crummy.

Be Humble

Realize that you are not the best, that there is always someone who will be better than you at this or that quality and that is OK. That’s life and everything is not perfectly fair. Pride is the biggest obstacle to being at peace with who we are and what we are capable of. So a dose of humility can go a long way in allowing us to step away from the spotlight and let someone else be better. Be content with being the best version of yourself, not the best version of someone else.

Praise Others

Compliment, compliment, compliment. When you admire what someone else does, let them know about it. Be generous with genuine admiration for other people’s talents and strong characteristics. If you envy what someone else has, praise them instead of silently sulking about what you lack. You will end up feeling better about yourself in the process because the attention is taken off your own failings and is instead highlighting someone else’s qualities.

Be Gracious

Accept compliments graciously. Recognize when you are being praised or admired for something you do well. Soak in the recognition you do receive and be grateful for the admirable qualities that others see in you. If you can learn to be content with who are are you will accomplish more, compare less.

Cultivate Your Talents

Be aware of the talents and strong points you do possess. Instead of wishing for what you don’t have, find ways to nurture the gifts you have been given and fine tune your own qualities so that you can proud of your accomplishments. Be on the lookout for ways to learn, grow and enjoy your God-given abilities. Be confident and content with who you are and allow yourself a healthy pride in what you do well.

Thank your Maker

Remember to be grateful for who you are and what you have been given. For you are loved and unique just the way you are. We are each made to pay a certain role in this world, a role that only we can fill. No one else can be you. Be thankful to God for all the blessings He has given you and remind yourself daily that you are enough. Through thankfulness, you can spend less time comparing and more time being at peace.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” ~Psalm 139:14

  • Catholic Mommy Blogs

    Perfect! I think we all fall into that trap sometimes. It’s great to know how to dig yourself out. 🙂

    • Yes, for me it seems like a cycle that I don’t even always realize, haha. But yes the reminders for how to combat it are helpful and I’m sure there are other ways that I didn’t think of as well 🙂

  • Well said!

    • Thanks, I wrote this as a reminder to myself but I’m happy if it can be a good reminders to others too. Thanks for reading 🙂