5 Ways to Overcome the Comparison Trap

I’m sure you’ve seen, heard, or read that you should, “stop comparing yourself to strangers on the Internet”. While we agree with this advice, we all struggle with comparison at one point or another. We compare our jobs, homes, clothes, relationships, aka our lives to those of friends, colleagues, and yes… strangers. We’ve put together a few tricks to help you break free of the comparison trap, or at the very least, loosen it’s grip on you.

comparison trap

1. Accept that you are comparing yourself.

Our brains are hardwired to compare, judge, and evaluate the things we see. While it may sound counterproductive, it’s important to acknowledge the negative. Emotions come in waves, and it’s more helpful to acknowledge and move beyond a thought, rather than beat yourself up for having it.

2. Generate Gratitude.

Did you know that keeping a gratitude journal has been scientifically proven to relieve stress and worry? Negativity can be easy to feed into, but instead, try to focus your attention on the positive things in your life — celebrate the greatness in others and yourself.

Pro Tip: Keep your journal within arms reach so you can look back on it when you are in need of a pick-me-up.

3. go for a walk.

Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s not effective. If you find yourself having a “moment,” get up. Move. Clear your head. Change your scenery. Sometimes a little fresh air is all you need to re-focus and come back to a more positive head space.

4. Keep everything in perspective.

Maybe you envy someone who lives in New York and works full-time as a model, but do you ever think about all the rejection they likely endure on a regular basis? Or maybe you envy someone who is running their own business and building an empire. Don’t forget about the lack of sleep or immense sacrifices they’ve likely had to make. The point is, what may seem shiny at first glance may not fit into your life and your boundaries. Focus on your desires and create your own path.

4. unplug.

Chances are your social media usage is what fuels your unhealthy comparison habits. If you just can’t bring yourself to say goodbye to some apps, maybe start limiting your screen time.

Pro Tip: If you feel your mood take a dip after looking at someone’s account, reflect and ask yourself why, and don’t forget you have the ability to hide or unfollow anyone that is causing you to have any negative feelings about yourself.

It’s important to note that comparison can actually be helpful — it’s all about perception. Instead of succumbing to envy, flip your mindset to one of admiration. We are all on our own journey and it’s time to accept and embrace that.

How do you avoid getting caught up in the comparison trap?

Words by Courtney Brown