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Comparing Self to Others

With all of the media around us such as reality shows, and glossy magazines depicting the seemingly enviable lives of the super-rich and the super glamorous, it can feel like you are being bombarded by images of people who have wealth and beauty, or accomplishments you could never measure up to.

It can feel like you are drowning in a culture that places emphasis on perfection and fails to acknowledge the great qualities of the common man or woman. I understand how you feel. The barrage of those images you are exposed to can negatively impact your self-esteem. It becomes more and more difficult for you to be able to appreciate your strengths and the resources that you have because they appear very insignificant when measured against “the beautiful people,” the super-rich, those with athletic player prowess, or those with a genius IQ. Is it possible that you may have become so absorbed in comparing yourself to others, that you have overlooked your own gifts and the ways in which you stand out from the crowd? You are a unique individual, with talents and abilities, with innate strengths. You are part of a unique tribe of ancestors from which you may have inherited many positive qualities.

Do you resonate with any of the statements below;

I am jealous of others because I feel doubt my abilities

I feel I cannot measure up to people I perceive to be more intelligent

I feel insecure about my physical appearance

You have identified some problems and are on your way to making improvements. Have you considered ways to reframe your thinking? How can you take a different perspective on these problems? Can you consider what is right about you as a wise person once said?

Which reframes help you?

I am good at many things and can also improve in areas I struggle in

I have the ability to focus on many aspects of my physical appearance that I like

By engaging in new and interesting experiences, I develop my mind

Have you considered that sometimes in order to climb out of the trap of comparing ourselves to others, it's best to take a break from being consumers of the kind of media that promotes celebrity figures? It’s best to look at our own strengths and to review the things in our lives that are going well as often as we can. It can also help to reduce and be aware of the absolutist thinking that drives the sense of comparing ourselves to others. One person may go to an athletic event and say to themselves, “I’ll never be as good of an athlete as that person.“ For another person, if something great happens in their lives, they might say to themselves, “I’m sure this upward moving cycle won’t last in my life.“ This kind of faulty thinking can lead us to feel miserable about ourselves. When we compare ourselves to others, our focus tends to go inward into a state of self-absorption. We seem to forget that we have the ability to enjoy our lives, and to relax, as well see things from a brighter perspective. It’s important and beneficial to bring to mind the times we have enjoyed the days in which we felt good about ourselves and others complimented us and pointed out what they appreciated about us. Someone very wise said that each person is like a snowflake unique in themselves. We come into the world with that uniqueness that includes gifts and abilities that help us to be truly ourselves in the world. Think of the futility of attempting to be someone else in this world. It becomes an exercise not only in futility but also in frustration.

The act of writing will help you to place their attention on writing about yourself rather than placing your attention on whatever is distressing you in the moment such as the distress of comparing yourself to others.

Consider three things that are going well in your life, and write three qualities that you have that others have complimented you on.

Reviewing your own strengths and abilities can help promote a sense of calm in you.

 It’s time to help you to become more comfortable and so you can begin to breathe and then lengthen the out-breath In order to activate the relaxation response. That’s it just let the anxieties of the day go. Allow yourself to enjoy a sense of deep relaxation 

With each inhale and exhale. Focus your attention and all the ways that you are uniquely you and all the ways that you express your uniqueness. Imagine yourself calmly and confidently being yourself and truly appreciating all the gifts and abilities that you possess.

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