As a little girl, I remember sitting in music class, looking at my thighs, and realizing they took up most of the chair I was sitting in. I then immediately looked around and noticed that this was not the case for most of the other girls in class, and without really knowing why, I felt ashamed and awful. No one had made fun of my chubby little thighs, or kicked me out of their friendship circle for not having a thigh gap at age 7. I was the sole party responsible for my misery.
Comparison at times can motivate and even be the catalyst for change in our life, but more often than not, we use at as a tool to make us feel less than awesome. Here are a few ways to shift the focus back to you in a positive way.
Feed Your Soul
You are what you eat, is not just about food. Many of us are mentally or energetically starving, or we’ve been on a steady binge of negativity.
Get on your yoga mat, meditate, hike, journal, draw, or dance. Find a regular practice in life that quiets the chatter within, and allows you to connect with Self. The more at peace we are within, the easier it becomes to maintain that peace when common triggers show up in our life.
Focus on the Present
Comparison is not just between self and others, but often times between self and other versions of self. I read a meme a few weeks ago that said, “I wish I were as fat as I was the first time I thought I was fat,” and immediately shame laughed. Shame laugh, you ask? This is the moment, mid giggle, when you realize you’re laughing because it’s true, and that that truth, is a little bit sad.
As Jessica Weiner so brilliantly put it, “Life Doesn’t Begin 5 Pounds From Now.” It also doesn’t start when you get that new job, or a new car, or any number of external, impermanent things. We spend so much time dwelling on the past, or holding off for the future, that we miss all the rad stuff that’s happening right now.
Take a few moments each day to identify and celebrate all the awesome you are bringing to the table in this moment!
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn-it, people like me.”
Affirmations! I know, I know, it sounds like new age nonsense, and most of us feel super silly sitting in a mirror lavishing ourselves with compliments, but there can be great value in changing the negative channel in your mind to a more positive one. Whether true or false, the things we tell ourselves in time will become our truth, so speak to self with love and kindness.
If you’re not ready to go full on Stuart Smalley mirror chats, maybe leave a post it note somewhere you will regularly see it with a positive phrase, or compliment about self. Or practice pratipaksha bhavanam; when negative thoughts arise, think opposite positive ones instead. Or, there’s my all time favorite, pick a badass theme song. It can be empowering, heartwarming, or even a little silly; just a little something that you can sing or play that pulls you out of your funk.
Training the mind is just like training our muscles to hold us in handstand. It takes consistent practice, and we may occasionally fall, but if we keep working at it, in time, it may actually start to feel effortless.
Make the Shift from Selfish to Selfless
Volunteer at a shelter or get involved with a cause that you’re passionate about. Sometimes the best way to stop comparing in a negative way is to compare in a helpful way. What I mean by this is we often compare to put ourselves, or others, down. It’s important to remind ourselves that no matter how rough we think we have it in life there is always someone, or some creature that has it worse.
This type of comparison allows us to find gratitude for all that we have, and can affect positive change not only for self, but also for others. If you don’t have the time to make volunteering a part of your regular schedule, put a quarter in a stranger’s parking meter, call a friend or family member and ask about their day, find moments/ways to send love, light, prayers, and/or good vibes to others.
Identify the Problem & Make A Change!
“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” ~Anonymous
I want to punch and hug this anonymous genius!
I want to punch him/her for pointing out what I realized at age 7 in that music room, no one has the power to make me feel bad, but me… sigh. It is heartbreaking when we realize it’s not everyone else’s fault that we are suffering. It’s our ignorance, ego, or fear that keeps us trapped.
I want to hug him/her for the exact same reason. Realizing that we are responsible for our suffering can actually be empowering. It also means that we have the ability to create our bliss. I may not be able to control everyone and everything I encounter in life, but I can control my response to the things that are put in my path.
Ultimately, the ability to stop comparing and shift focus back to self lies in the realization that everything we need in life already exists within. Patiently begin peeling back the layers to reveal your perfectly imperfect divine Self!