Comparing yourself to others will kill your confidence. I used to struggle with this too but learned how to talk back to these thoughts and gain power. I learned to embrace my imperfections, and my life got a whole lot easier. If you want to feel more confident, reach your goals and get what you want out of life this year, comparing is the first thing that needs to go.
No one is perfect. Not that Instagram model, not that blogger, not your friend who seems to have it all, they all struggle in some way. And comparing yourself to another person’s life, whether someone you know IRL or the perfect life you see on social media, is only going to hurt your self-esteem.
You may think that by following people on social media who have the perfect body is going to motivate you to work harder, but it’s not. Trust me! It’s only going to make you feel worse and overwhelmed when you don’t reach your goal.
Myth: Comparing Can Motivate You
Nope. Comparing yourself to others leads to a stressful and insecure mindset, which is anything but motivating.
It isn’t your fault, and you can do something about it. Our culture and advertisers profit off insecurities. They want us to compare ourselves to their icons, so we buy their sh*t. I’ve been guilty of this, and the more I became aware how media and companies mess with our heads, so we buy stuff we think will make us feel secure, the more upset I became and the less I compared myself.
This isn’t a new concept, even ads of the 1920s did this. When you succumb to comparing you are giving into this billion dollar industry. Advertisers know how to trick us into spending money by showing us fake images that trick or minds into thinking that need to have it all. They want you to feel bad about yourself. It leads to spending more money on striving for the illusion they are selling.
Let’s be honest, would a confident and secure person feel the urge to buy whatever the magazines or sponsored ads on social media are selling? No way! But when we feel insecure and avoid embracing our real, messy selves are easy targets for the cream, jeans or whatever they are selling. We want to look as refreshed as Jennifer Aniston drinking a Smartwater, but we will never have her hair and makeup team or her million dollar paycheck (at least not yet).
And through the years, advertisers have only gotten better at making us buy things and feel bad about ourselves. You know that Instagram model with the perfect wardrobe or the perfect house or the million followers? News flash: She’s paid to present that fake perfection. It’s not just the filter; many advertisers and companies pay Instagrammers tons of money, sometimes thousands, for just one picture. They’re not showing you their real life, and the more we scroll through their feed, the more we continue to play the comparison game.
Tired of the Comparing Game?
So what do we do? We know comparing hurts confidence, but we CAN change it. Try these tricks to stop yourself from comparing next time you fall into the trap:
- Catch Yourself. The first step to changing your thoughts is to notice when you have them. If the urge to compare comes on strong or your feeling the FOMO flood your brain, pause and think about why you’re comparing. It’s usually your negative thought or self-talk telling you that your life isn’t as perfect as it should be. When you’re hard on yourself, you’re only hurting you. Stop and think about why you feel that way. Is it motivating you or is it self-harming? You have to be aware of your negative thoughts first. Catch yourself when you make negative comments about yourself or somebody else. Even if someone appears to have everything, they don’t. You never know what’s actually going on in their lives.
- Change the Conversation. And yes, I mean the conversation with yourself! The problem with comparing yourself to someone else is that you don’t see the full picture. The other day I was looking at this Instagram account of a woman who looked like she had IT ALL. When I read her bio, I saw that she was in recovery and had some significant mental health issues a few years back. Don’t assume; look at what’s missing or what your brain is leaving out.
- Stop Trying to Achieve Perfection. I’ll say this a million times: No one is perfect. No one’s life is perfect. If someone’s life looks too good to be true, it’s because they’re only showing the best parts. An effective way to become more confident on the inside and outside is to stop buying into the BS. Start taking the time to honor what make you unique and what makes you special. Make a list of what you bring to the world and what you like about yourself. Get clear about what you are looking for in life. Treat yourself like you would a friend. You know when you celebrate your best friend’s accomplishments? Do that for yourself. Take a few minutes every day to celebrate what you accomplished or how far you’ve come. If you need to compare, compare yourself to who you were in the past, you’ve come a long way, my friend.
Remember: Imperfection and embracing the mess and the real you only makes you more connected to others. Confidence is being true to you and people are attracted to authenticity. Perfection doesn’t exist. You are already unique and have a lot of valuable things to bring to the world and those around you. Instead of negatively looking outward, start looking positively inward. So, how are you breaking the cycle of comparison this year? Let me know!
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is The Guidance Girl. Her goal is to help YOU become the most confident person you know! Emily is an award-winning author Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, Educational Speaker, and parenting consultant. She travels around the country educating girls, women, and parents. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.