We’re getting ready to reenter the public as the pandemic winds down. One negative aspect of that is the urge to compare ourselves to others we haven’t seen in some time.
Even if you don’t think this is something you struggle with, you may be doing it subconsciously. On average, 12% of our thoughts are comparison-based – and it’s not something you ever grow out of. We’re going to explore this phenomenon and offer some tips to avoid it.
There’s something called The Social Comparison Theory which argues that individuals determine their own social and personal worth based on how they stack up against others.
This was developed in 1954 by psychologist Leon Festinger, so it clearly predates social media, but social media is compounding the issue. Pay careful attention to how you feel after you see certain posts on social media and don’t be afraid to unfollow or even just snooze some of your friends to keep them out of your feed for a while. It’s like comparison decluttering!
Our friendships, themselves, are also a major source of comparisons. Our friendships are meant to boost us up, but even though they usually do, there are still going to be those people who sneakily make you feel bad – whether intentional or not. One of the best ways to deal with this is to be direct: bring up your feelings and find out if you’re misinterpreting things or if they’re willing to change. Sometimes, airing things can make you feel better, alone.
Alternatively, you can cut off the point of comparison at the source – that’s you. Focus on gratitude. Regularly emphasizing what makes you thankful, can make you feel better about what you have and less concerned with others.
Exercise is another great tip because it can help get you out of your head by making you feel and focus on your body. The endorphins during exercise can help push you into gratitude more easily. It’s almost a biohack!
Even if you don’t think you’ll have any problems, keep these things in mind as we start reassuming our natural existence. Help cut down on the worries of comparison and you’re minimizing the risk of bringing negative thoughts into your life.
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