How I’m Learning To Stop Comparing Myself To Others
I used to be a comparison queen. Looking at anyone around me, I’d immediately berate myself because they could do something better than I could. It would be a lie if I told you I have completely stopped comparing myself to others. It’s much easier said than done.
However, I am gradually learning to stop comparing myself to others. Even if it means just doing a little thing every day. Here’s what’s worked for me so far:
Stop following people on social media who make you feel bad about yourself.
Once upon a time I followed EVERYONE I liked on my personal Instagram because, well, that’s what it was for. This list included everything from models, actors, writers, and companies I was interested in working for in the future.
Initially, I didn’t care, but over time, as I scrolled through my feed, I gradually realized I felt bad about myself every time I saw one of the models I was vaguely interested in just because I didn’t have their toned physiques. It didn’t matter that I knew those images were heavily manipulated via Photoshop. I still felt bad about myself.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Stop following people on social media who make you feel bad about yourself.” quote=”Stop following people on social media who make you feel bad about yourself.”]
Eventually, I made the conscious decision to be more deliberate about my social media use. I stopped following accounts that made me feel bad about myself in any way. This choice allows me to focus on myself. I’m learning how to appreciate what I have without the added fuel of comparison.
It may sound obvious, but I gradually came to terms with the realization that you can like something or someone without following them on their social media accounts. If the content they post isn’t interesting for you, don’t follow them.
Focus on engaging with content that makes you feel good about yourself. Learning to appreciate what you have goes a long way in helping to stop comparing yourself to others.
1. Focus on One Thing At a Time
One of the things I learned early in my short-lived figure skating career that I take with me into my everyday life is to focus on one thing at a time.
As one of the thousands of girls bitten by the figure skating bug following the 1998 Olympics, I spent a lot of time looking at what the older skaters were doing in the center of the rink. I should have spent that time focusing on what I was doing while learning the fundamentals. My coaches sat me down and explain that as glamorous as the jumps looked, I would never learn how to jump until I got the basics down.
Focusing on one thing at a time allowed me to build a solid foundation of skills, which in turn…no, just kidding. I did not go on to compete at the national level or the Olympics. However, the lessons I learned in figure skating have been resurfacing, even as an ESL teacher.
2. Multitasking can be problematic.
Focusing on one thing at a time — just as I did when I skated — allows me to prepare each respective lesson plan to the best of my ability. I often have so many activities and classes to prepare for that I’m tempted to try to do multiple things at once. However, I find the more I try to multitask, the more time I end up wasting, and I ultimately create more work for myself.
Focusing on one thing at a time gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing the best job that I can. In trying to complete every task set before me — whether that means learning backward crossovers on a sheet of frozen water or teaching kids that range in age from six to 18, I know I gave it my all.
Knowing I did my best allows me to celebrate my own little achievements without worrying about what others around me are thinking.
3. Be Proud of the Little Things You Do
In today’s day and age, we celebrate the big things: graduations, new jobs, new additions to your family, weddings. Amidst the big accomplishments, there are also little things that you can take just as much, if not more pride in. It doesn’t matter what they are. Regardless of whether or not society at large considers them big victories, the important thing is that you consider them big victories.
Among the big things I’ve accomplished thus far, my little (but personally big) victories include:
- getting my driver’s license (and taking steps to overcome a fear of driving)
- maintaining a vegetarian diet in a foreign country
- meditating every workday
- cutting off a toxic friendship
- walking to and from work in a foreign country every day.
Things like a 15-minute walk to work don’t sound like much, but to me, it was huge. It confirmed I can be independent in a foreign country, majorly boosting my confidence. Celebrating the little things that I do every day helps me build my confidence and focus on myself rather than others.
I may not have a modeling career or my desired physique (yet), but I’ve learned that comparing myself to others doesn’t help. Building my confidence in little ways, however, helps limit comparison.