The three steps to take to turn comparing into gratitude
The act of comparing clouds our right to feel proud of who we are. Instead, we focus on someone else’s achievements or attributes that result in us feeling down; questioning our worth.
I’ve been committing the negative act more often these days after moving to a new city and finding my feet. But the comparison game is participated by every person on the planet(!)
A social theory proves a drive is within us all to understand ourselves and others as well as evaluate opinions. This can become damaging because the complexities of other people’s lives are overlooked, research shows.
Let us explore how to stop comparing yourself to others by taking the three steps to turn from finding faults in yourself into gratitude because:
“Comparison is the death of joy.”― Mark Twain
I am thankful for my life, my friends and family. Every morning I express gratitude towards this absolute blessing in my life. I make time to thank God for being blessed every morning — it’s a habit that makes me happy. Count your blessings — it doesn’t have to be people but can be health, food or a roof over your head.
You don’t, however, have to believe in God to give thanks. Showing gratitude reduces social comparisons, research shows. It will also bring boundless benefits to your mental AND physical health, where a study proved that more grateful people suffer less from aches. Don’t believe me? Here’s the evidence.
Being grateful is all-round good for you; putting our mindset in a positive state, becoming more open to what and who is around us rather than provoking comparison. Thrive off being thankful.
As a wellness coach, I urge clients to find three things they are grateful for. Try it out for yourself every morning and see the positive effect it will have on your day. Comparison gives in, direction kicks in. The active acknowledgement of viewing things in your life you are thankful for will make you less exposed to the comparison game.
Instead, take part in the gratitude game by expressing gratitude towards people. Compliment them on their smile, clothes, taste in music. Lifting others will lift you. Be mindful — the little things are the big things.
Bring in peace and pride by acknowledging what you have and not what you don’t.
So even me, an optimist and grateful person can still fall into the trap of comparison, mostly because I don’t praise myself enough. I need to appreciate my work, my drive, my character more. Do you too? Then the second step to stop comparing yourself to others is for you.
“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. ” ― Shannon L. Alder
Lately, my boyfriend and best friend have been telling me to:
“Stop being so hard on yourself”
I never realised it until they said it out loud. It’s true — I need to, but I can’t help it because I’m borderline perfectionist, and want to see results like other writers and get caught up in comparison. It’s silly! Everyone grows at different rates, I know.
Their reminder rings with the reason I teach yoga and chose to do wellness coaching — I strive to help people appreciate themselves for who they are. Funny, isn’t it? In the midst of me advising this, I forget to listen to my own words. Comparison can sneak up on anybody like a thief in the night.
Just as the list for three things you are grateful for, do the same for yourself. Reach within and rise in confidence. Ask yourself: what do I like about myself? If this is a struggle, to begin with, don’t fret. Instead, ask: what do others like about me? Go to your friends or family for inspiration; they are bound to tell you things you might have not realised. Then you’ll see how appreciating yourself heightens levels of happiness, positive psychology research proves so.
Comparison cannot access positive emotions, nor allow you to express gratitude. How to stop comparing yourself depends all on your mindset which leads to our final step in defeating the downward spiral of negative comparison:
Cultivate an attitude
Expressing gratitude is an attitude. Like any other attitude, you have to practise it to perfect it. Although watch out: it’s not about perfection here, rather the imperfections and accepting yourself for every little flaw you have. The perils of comparison distract this attitude to embody itself within your actions and beliefs.
For example, when I’m teaching English to kids or a yoga class, I feel so grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and peace. The people provide me with my why and I feel high. However, when I’m on public transport or complaining to my boyfriend (comparison can feed on this), it’s way easier for me to fall into finding faults in myself and looking at others. How to stop comparing yourself to others means building an attitude around your strengths, successes. Be proud. Go back to that list of gratitude points about yourself and people in your life etc.
Finding it hard to come up with ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? This might help. Be present and patient, because you are you. There are many reasons to stop with the self-abuse of comparison, here are three.
So there you have it — the act of comparison can be healed with gratitude. Show people you care, count your blessings and be kind to yourself. Comparison is an evil infested action we all commit at some point or other but can be healed with grace and gratitude.