Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

Compare and despair

I wanted to write this post about the unhelpful habit of “compare and despair”. We all do it and inevitably it leads to feelings of inadequacy or a feeling that you are missing out. You know yourself well, you are well aware of your weaknesses and less desirable traits. What we tend to do is look at our “behind the scenes footage” and compare it with other people’s ‘highlight reel’. This isn’t a fair or accurate comparison at all. We have limited information on other people and their lives and we make many assumptions when we ‘compare and despair’.

Social media has led to us comparing even more than we used to. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game when we look at Facebook or Instagram. These comparisons though are unhelpful and creat negativity in our lives.

What to do instead

Accept yourself

You were born a certain way and while it’s possible to improve yourself, it’s also important to accept and like yourself as you are. get happy in your own skin. Stand naked in front of the mirror and give yourself a non-judgmental viewing of wonderful you. You may not be perfect (no one is) but you can definitely learn to like what you have. The more you like yourself and come across as confident the more others will buy into that. Confidence is contagious.

Acknowledge differences in a non-judgmental way

Sure we are all different and there will always be someone better off and someone worse off. It’s just a part of life. You can acknowledge these differences without placing a value on the difference. Try not to see it as better or worse, just different.

It’s pointless not liking yourself.

Less self criticism

The opposite of self criticism is self compassion.

Many of us may not be aware that we are struggling, or aware of the unhelpful critical ways we may be treating ourselves. We can go through life on autopilot, doing what we have always done. We get tangled and stuck in our struggle, never pausing to consciously recognise we are struggling, and that maybe we could deal with this in the same way we might help others deal with something similar. It has just never even occurred to us that treating ourselves kindly is an option.

Talk to yourself as you would a good friend, have a positive relationship with yourself. Calm the inner bully.

Honour your own path

Remember that everyone’s life journey is different. Stay focused on tyour own path – where you are now and where you would like to do. Measure your progress by comparing where you were to where you are now. Give yourself credit for how far you have come and the adversity you have managed to overcome.

Give up comparing yourself to others. It isn’t helpful and leads to anxiety. Focus your energy on what is within your control. Focus on what you want from life and live in line with your values to optimise happiness.

Mandy X


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