The Comparison Trap and How to Escape It

Goodbye 2017 me, Hello 2018 me!
Does the ringing in of the new year have you stockpiling all your intentions? I am all for setting myself and my clients up for success in reaching their goals, after all … fail to plan,  plan to fail. But, there is something deeper that happens to some of us that can be an easy trap to fall into – the comparison trap. My hope is that you compare yourself only to yourself and below are some ways I’ve found make it easier to get your mindset prepped to become the best you that you can be in the new year!

With the impact of social media and being “liked” for certain attributes, it’s easy to want some of the external qualities that others have, or you used to have, and immediately feel crappy about yourself. It used to be advertising and magazines that put the pressure on us to look a certain way, but now we are bombarded with social media giving instant feedback that feeds, what I believe, is the big fat trick we can play on ourselves. That trick is that we tell ourselves for one reason or another “I am not good enough” or “If I were just this much thinner or more successful” or “If I had made better choices or come from a better family.” then “I could have or be (insert the amazing thing that you want or think will make you happy).” Then, at some point there’s a big SIGH OF RELIEF WHEN YOU WAKE UP and realize that:

1) The dream that when you get “X” you will be happy is just a mirage – until you’re happy with yourself and create goals based on your own accomplishments and needs, there is always that one more thing just beyond your grasp at happiness.

2) That the skinny bitch on Facebook, or whatever image gets you comparing yourself to her, was happy in the first place! (pardon my French – taken from the title of a funny book called, “The Secret of Skinny Bitches”,  a spoof on a good weight loss book called “The Secret of Skinny Chicks”)

3) Eventually, we become confident in ourselves and outgrow the comparison trap!  A  2015 study by researchers at the Universities of Essex and Cambridge showed that the tendency to engage in comparison processes declines across a lifespan. One reason, they hypothesized, is that “…as we age, we’re more likely to evaluate ourselves against the yardstick of our own past rather than the present state of others. Social comparison is generally most potent for the young!” This translates to “Oh, I am going to grow out of this kind of thinking” and that might just be a sign of contentment, maturity, or self-love and all those good stereotypes that really show that this life is about YOU and your wellbeing.

Sonja Lyubormirsky, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside and the author of “The How of Happiness” notes that for happy people “It’s not that they don’t notice upward comparisons, but they don’t let that affect their self-esteem, and they stay focused on their own improvement.” In other words, a happy runner compares himself to his last run, not to others who are faster

I would love to help you reach your body goals, no doubt, and that is my specialty. My hope is that you first look into your motivation to be sure and get things right. Focus on your health inside and out. Comparisons can be healthy when they are realistic and its good to be stretched out of your comfort zone. Don’t forget to count your blessings instead of thinking about what you lack. There is always somebody better off and worse off than you.

Last thought is taken from Ravi Chandra, a San Fransisco psychiatrist and author of “Facebuddha: Transcendence in the Age of Social Networks!” He says “Explore what you admire and appreciate about other people and cultivate joy for their success.” Chandra says, “It can be a catalyst for personal growth.”

My mantra is this: “I am my own competition when it comes to my body and life goals. I always try to be better than I used to be, regardless of what it looks like. I go at my own pace knowing always that true happiness comes from my relationship with myself and my inner voice in my ❤heart.”

Please be kind and patient and see yourself with loving eyes in your reflection. Your killer instinct can match your bright and caring spirit, now let’s make 2018 magnificent!!!

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