The comparison trap is something we all fall into from time to time. We compare ourselves to others and come up feeling short. Comparison is a dangerous game that can lead to a whole host of negative emotions, like jealousy, envy, insecurity, and self-doubt. If you’re sick of feeling like you can never measure up to someone else, here are nine ways to get out of the comparison trap for good.
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I wish I can blame my own experience with being in a comparison trap on social media alone. I wish I can say that it all started with the pretty girl on my high school volleyball team who was waaayyy better than me.
My earliest recollection of comparison was actually when I was about 6 years old and thinking that the neighbor kid had way more Barbies than I did.
I wanted what she had. What I had was not enough.
Fast forward to today and I still find myself sometimes comparing what I don’t have to what others do. A lot of times it isn’t just stuff.
It can be things like talent, time, and demeanor in challenging situations.
The comparison trap has no limitations.
Maybe you can relate to that too. If so, I have hope for you. Just keep reading.
What is a Comparison Trap?
A comparison trap is when you compare yourself to others in a way that isn’t helpful or productive. Oftentimes, we do this without even realizing it.
That’s why it is called a trap. You could be going about your day when that feeling of envy hits. You didn’t see it coming, you didn’t ask for it. You just found yourself in it.
We all know the feeling. You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and you see a picture of someone who looks so perfect and put together.
They have great clothes, amazing hair, tons of friends, and they always seem to be doing something fun. Meanwhile, you’re sitting at home in your sweats with no makeup on, feeling like you’ll never measure up.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. We live in a world where comparison is easy and constant. With social media, we are constantly bombarded with images of other people’s highlight reels.
It’s easy to get caught in the comparison trap and start feeling like you’re not good enough.
How do i get out of a comparison Cycle?
If you are struggling with the comparison trap cycle, you don’t have to stay there. You can get out of that trap and stay out for good.
It may take some soul searching to get to the bottom of why you find yourself in the comparison trap, but with some intentional awareness, you can find your way out with these nine tips:
1. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that has the ability to change your life. When you focus on the good things in your life, you are less likely to compare your life to someone else’s.
Essentially, you are reprograming your brain to choose gratitude instead of discontentment with your own life. Practicing gratitude can improve your physical, emotional, and mental health.
There are many ways to practice gratitude, and it’s important to find what works best for you. Some people keep a gratitude journal, where they write down things they’re grateful for every day.
Others say affirmations or prayers of thanksgiving every morning.
I love this article from my friend LeeAnn at Kingdom Bloggers on showing gratitude to God each day.
Posting reminders around your home or office can serve as prompts for expressing gratitude throughout the day.
2. Stay off social media for a while
The comparison trap is one of the most common and insidious mental traps that we can fall into.
It can easily happen when we compare our lives to the lives of others on social media.
We see all the amazing things that other people are doing and we start to feel bad about our own lives. We start to think that we are falling behind, or our lives are mundane and boring. And we walk right into the comparison trap and the cycle continues.
The best way to avoid the comparison trap is to stay off social media for a while.
You can also unfollow any accounts that can trigger feelings of insecurity.
Comparison will only make you feel bad in the long run, so it’s important to manage your social media use in a healthy way.
3. identify the root of your insecurity
Insecurity can be crippling and keep you in the comparison cycle. It can also be destructive in your personal relationships. The first step in overcoming insecurity is identifying the root of it.
There are many different sources of insecurity. It can be caused by a lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem, or feeling like you’re not good enough. It can also be caused by traumatic experiences or a fear of failure.
Once you identify the root of your insecurity, you can begin to address it and start to build up your self-confidence. Sometimes the help of a professional counselor can be beneficial in this process.
4. Embrace your life
I will never forget the time when I was out to lunch with my mom and my infant son. I was a new mom facing having to return to work.
We were in line paying for our food and a random stranger (who was also a mom) invited me to her mom’s morning out group that was every Tuesday morning. I kindly declined the offer and explained that I would be returning to my full-time job and that would not be feasible with my schedule.
I will forever remember her response. She looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, that must be horrible for you”. I replied with a dumbfounded, “It’s fine”.
What I really wanted to say was “No, lady, what’s horrible is being on the streets with no food and a new baby because we can’t pay our bills”. For several years after that, I struggled with working mom guilt.
I had to come to the realization that this is the life that God has blessed me with, and I choose to embrace it, with all of it’s imperfections. I am so blessed to have a mother who put me through nursing school and the career that has blessed my family.
5. be generous with what you have
Being generous with what you have will keep you from comparing yourself to others.
By being a giver, you shift your focus from your needs to the needs of another. Giving can come in the form of volunteer work, charitable donations, or simply reaching out to a neighbor who is struggling with health or job loss.
The more you give, the less time you have to worry about what others have. When you are generous with your time, talents, and resources, you will be too busy being joyful and fulfilled from your own generosity.
6. confide in a friend for accountability
If you need someone to keep you accountable for keeping yourself out of the comparison game, confide in a close friend that you trust. I have a dear friend who knows me well.
Whenever I find myself going down a path that will lead to negative thinking, I send her a quick text, that usually says something like, “Hey girl pray for me, my mind isn’t right”.
She usually responds with something like “I got you, call me later”. That right there lets your friend know you are on the struggle bus going nowhere pleasant!
7. shut down negative self-talk
Negative self-talk can send anyone into a tailspin if not immediately identified for what it is. Learn to recognize it and quickly shut it down.
Don’t entertain those thoughts. Many times we invite them in like an old friend, become reacquainted, and allow them to occupy precious real estate in our hearts.
If you struggle with negative self-talk, I want to encourage you today to turn to Scripture. One Scripture that will shut down negative thoughts is Philippians 4:8:
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, what is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”.
God’s Word literally tells us what to think about. This should be the measuring stick you use to evaluate if what you are focusing on is worthy of your thoughts.
Don’t stay stuck in a destructive thought pattern.
Friend, you are worth so much more than that.
8. be a cheerleader for others
I mentioned social media earlier but I think it is worth mentioning again here. I often wonder just how many negative comments would be made if they were done face to face instead of from a keyboard.
I don’t know what prompts people to be so ugly in the online space, but let’s choose to be different. Let’s be women who celebrate other people’s victories both on and off the internet.
I want to encourage you to turn your reflection outward to those around you and get excited about what makes them excited.
9. keep things in perspective
I love the saying that “A bad day is not a bad life”. It’s easy to view our whole life through the lens of one day. But, a bad day does not make your entire life bad.
A rough day at work may not necessarily mean you have an awful job. Yelling at your kids does not mean you are a horrible parent. And just because your house may be a mess, does not mean you are falling behind in every area of your life.
Learn the art of seeing things for what they are. Why was it a rough day at work? is it a busy time in your industry or were you short-staffed? It’s okay.
Have you been asking your kid to do the same thing over and over again for the last 5 days and you had enough? It’s okay.
Are you in a busy season running your kids all over the place after work and your house is what is getting neglected right now? It’s okay.
These rough patches do not define your entire life. They are temporary and I want to encourage you to resist the temptation to compare your life to someone else’s based on these short glimpses in time.
It is important to remember when you are trying to get out of the comparison trap that you keep things in perspective.
Well, there you have it. I hope that these tips inspire you to not settle for being stuck in the comparison trap. Live that beautiful life you were created and destined for. If I can encourage you in any way, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to read more on this topic, I highly recommend this book by Sandra Stanley, Comparison Trap: A 28-day Devotional for a further look at how to overcome comparison.