Sometimes I’m cruising around on Facebook or Instagram and think “Wow, everyone seems so frickin’ happy!
“Their life must be amazing! Why isn’t mine like that all the time?”
Well, I certainly experience this a lot. I see the happy, smiling faces and immediately assume that my friend’s life is better than mine. Or I see how many likes my friend’s article got and think how much more successful she must be. And when I’m feeling especially comparison-trigger-happy, I even start to doubt if the way I live my life is good enough.
The other day, a friend and I were chatting and she mentioned that she felt discouraged about her yoga practice because she had been comparing herself to how often I was going. I immediately started laughing when she said this because I had just that very morning felt discouraged when I couldn’t get myself out of bed thinking how she always gets up early and accomplishes so much in the morning!
It was so funny to me that both of us saw the other as being better or doing more. When in reality we both are being ourselves and living our lives in our own, unique way.
When we compare ourselves to others, we deny all the beautiful, authentic qualities we possess and restrain ourselves from loving the life we have.
So how do we move from comparison to self-acceptance?
The practice of mindfulness is all about celebrating and cultivating our authentic-self in each and every moment.
We do this by sitting back and observing all the various thoughts and feelings we can have at any given point in time. And instead of jumping on the bandwagon and getting taken for a miserable ride down comparison lane, we can simply let our thoughts and feelings go by—with no judgment or interference.
Sometimes I like to smile at them as I realize how hard those thoughts try to get me onboard.
The more I have gotten comfy with observing my thoughts and feelings and noticing when I’m not being present in this moment, the more often I am aware of when I start to go down that dark, ugly path of self-doubt and how to navigate back out of the weeds and into my beautiful, amazing, unique self.
When we get quiet and practice being mindful, we can create more space and opportunity to feel compassion, acceptance and love the person we are in this moment.
So the next time we are about to go there and compare ourselves with others, it is a great opportunity to check in and try a few simple things.
1. Invite the critic to the party.
She just keeps calling and calling, so, take a moment and listen to what she has to say. And observe what is going on inside. Is there a feeling or a thought? Is there a sinking feeling in the gut? Tightness in the chest? Just check in and listen with non-judgmental awareness and allow the feeling or thought to exist. Don’t try to stop it or change it.
2. Remember, everyone is doing it.
Gently remind yourself that every time we look at someone else, as being more or having more, someone is probably thinking the same thing about us. Now, just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean we need to, but it might help us experience more compassion for our self and for others.
3. Celebrate yourself!
Shift the thought from “what others have or do” to “what do I have and do?” Celebrate who you are even if in that particular moment there is doubt or anger or fear or frustration. Make a short list—on paper or mentally—about the things you do well. This added dose of self-love might be just what we need in those moments of self-doubt and discouragement to ground us in our own unique awesome-ness.
When we accept and celebrate who we are in each moment, we experience more peace and joy in our lives.
So the next time we are out trolling around on our favorite social media sites, let’s do our best to practice a little dose of mindfulness and choose self-love over self-pity or discouragement.
What are three wonderful, unique qualities you can celebrate today? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Amanda Johnson
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock