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From Comparison Into Joy

comparison joy mindset Jun 22, 2023

There’s no doubt that we live in a culture that is constantly comparing – what people have, what they look like, achievements, vacations, children, friends – it can be ridiculous! This is important because it chips away at our self-confidence.  All this is not only supported, but actually fueled by social media, and it affects not only ourselves (to the extent we let it) but also our kids, and the next generation. Enough already! Here are 5 ways to break free.


  1.  Be Discerning:

If you are receiving a message that would have you doubt yourself, ask what is the source of that message. In a word, is someone trying to sell you something by making you feel “less than” an aspirational image? The beauty industry is a perfect example. Women, especially, are made to feel bad if they are “losing that youthful glow.”

Can you imagine what we’d be capable of if we didn’t feel bad about aging? Society has a vested interest in telling women that aging is terrible. Don’t believe it.” – Mira Jacob

  • Spend less time on social media
  • Ask – is this issue/ad/story trying to chip away at my confidence, so I’ll buy something new?
  • Curate what you do take in – identify the sources that make you feel elevated and keep those. Let go of the rest.



  1.  Challenge the Inner Critic

When the Inner Critic tries to give you a message like “You’re not enough, you’re too much, you don’t have the skills or it’s too late to try something new” stop that nasty presence in its tracks.

You may even want to give it a name (make it outrageous) so when you catch that voice in action, you can say to yourself, “Ah Cruella (or whatever name you choose), you again… take a hike!”  Name it to tame it.

Replace negative self-talk with something kind and encouraging. You can create a mantra like:

  • I am right where I need to be.
  • I am not taking the bait – I honor my personal journey
  • My self-worth is something I decide



  1.  Look for Learning not Perfection

Since there is no such thing as perfection (even nature is ever-evolving), don’t get caught into the Perfectionism Trap. The experience of failure and setbacks is just another way or course-correcting and recalibrating to build new skills. Falling short of your goals is not proof of incompetence, it’s a stepping stone to a necessary pivot. Anything worthwhile takes time to develop. Consistent practice (more than natural ability) is the key to mastering anything new.

  • Cultivate a growth mindset: aim for growth instead of perfection
  • Recognize that life is messy. That’s just part of it – we learn as we go.
  • Forgive yourself for not living up to some unrealistic aspiration; rookie mistake; now you know more.



  1.  Know and Celebrate Who You Are

Instead of comparing yourself to others, (and their highlight reel which is highly edited) become aware of who YOU are. What make you unique? You have your own strengths and gifts. Do you know what they are?

  • List 5 strengths and values.
  • Explore some ways to use them more in your life
  • Celebrate the progress you have made on your path, which really have nothing to do with other people’s achievements. You are you. Honor that.



  1.  Gratitude Wins

When you practice self-compassion (speaking to yourself as you would a good friend you value) and when you replace a comparison thought with a gratitude thought, you are literally changing the game. It’s pretty simple – be kind to yourself (be your own coach not your own critic), and remind yourself of all the good that is ALREADY in your life. If comparison is the thief of joy, then gratitude is the champion of joy. It reminds us that all we have is this moment – what can we focus on that is elevating?

  • Remember and be grateful for your own accomplishments, experiences and even the toughest ones that ended up moving you forward.
  • Make a point to be around people who you’re grateful to have in your life: those who share your interests (extra good fortune) and those who are simply good humans (most important!)
  • Align what your priorities are with what thoughts you intentionally amplify, and what actions you intentionally take. This is your life. You decide what to focus on, what influences you let in, and which ones (like comparison) that don’t work anymore. Savor the gratitude that fosters.



  1.  Reject Comparison, Cultivate Joy

Recognize that comparison is a by-product of identifying with society’s external markers of a life well lived. Joy on the other hand is when we navigate from a more internal place, when we tap into our internal and soul-driven directives, and use those as our north star. So here are a few questions to leave you with:

  • What brings you (not anyone else – you!) JOY? What make you feel most alive? What makes hours feel like minutes?
  • Do more of that :)
  • When you see thoughts of comparison sneaking in, know that you’re being snagged by the external conversation. Go back your internal priorities, and see the rest as the blah blah blah static that it really is.

Remember, you have the power and the awareness to move from comparison to joy. Practice this and you’ll notice life improving in surprising and delightful ways…


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