Disclaimer: While I wholeheartedly believe in the power of thought work and a self-care routine for mental health, these are not solutions for those suffering with suicidal tendencies. If you wish to end your life but are looking for answers before doing so, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (available 24/7) at 800-273-8255
It’s no secret that as women, we are always admiring other women and comparing ourselves to them. In many instances, this can lead to feeling insecure or inefficient.
So how can we break free of this obsessive habit and stop comparing ourselves so much? I think it’s natural to do this which is also why it may seem nearly impossible to break out of.
It also doesn’t help that there is a huge market around this. We’re constantly advertised to about the things we should “fix” in order to be considered beautiful or worthy of love.
If you’re tired of the comparison narrative going on in your head, I’m hopeful that this article might ease that a bit. In order to stop comparing yourself to others, I think it’s important to take a step back and look at it objectively.
Being open to an explanation about why you compare yourself to other women can take care of most of that problem!
For example, let’s say that it’s a bazillion years ago and we’re trying to satisfy our need to find a mate and create offspring. Of course, we’re going to look at other women and compare ourselves. We want to know what the competition is like, right!? Who attracts the strongest mate and how do they do it?
Fast forward to present day and this might be as simple as admiring another women’s outfit or it could be as extreme as never feeling like you’re “good enough”.
It could also seem like everyone else has some special quality that you missed out on receiving when it was your time to come into this world. Either of those sound familiar?
Let me back up by thanking the reader who suggested I write about this topic. I can 100% relate to this (as many of us can) and I had forgotten how much of a toll this used to take on my life.
At one point, it was all consuming for me. Comparing myself to other girls (I was 12 or 13 when I became aware of this) was on my mind every single day.
When I got to high school it only got worse. I remember hating my naturally curly hair. It was wild and frizzy, and it never seemed to do what everyone else’s hair did. All the girls that the guys seemed to like had gorgeous straight or just wavy hair. I hated my thin, twig-like thighs too. The obsession was so bad that I remember praying that God would somehow change my body so that I had thighs 5 times the size that they currently were… (I think this is hysterical to think about now as I’ve grown to love my body)
After high school, some of that faded away. As I began my journey through early adulthood, I started to become more comfortable with myself. I realized that beauty was usually relative depending on personal tastes and what is valuable to certain people. Also, I was getting tired of caring so much about what people thought.
This is what helped me to stop comparing myself or at least much less than I ever had before.
There is no “right” way to look and you can choose to be happy with how you look right now – just as you are.
Imagine you woke up one day and just decided to release all the chatter in your mind when you start to compare yourself to other women. You’ll most likely never stop noticing beautiful qualities in others (which is totally “normal”). But what if you noticed them from a place of admiration and love instead of comparison or jealousy?
We all have unique qualities that we can’t see ourselves. Also, the qualities or features that make you feel insecure, are never looked at the same way by other people. Don’t get me wrong, I know when someone is mind-numbingly attractive and you can’t help but notice them. However, comparing yourself to others doesn’t have to be as all-consuming as it seems.
HOW TO WORK TOWARD ELIMINATING THIS HABIT
In my experience with comparison (and being extremely self-conscious for quite some time), I learned that the negativity in my head was mine alone. No one else thought as poorly about the way that I looked as I did.
That’s important so let me say that again – you are the only one who thinks as poorly about yourself as you do! Isn’t that sad!? You’re loved and appreciated by others and yet we put ourselves down all the time for absolutely no reason.
You know how when you focus on something, suddenly it seems to be everywhere? For example, you buy a Toyota Camry and suddenly it seems like every other car you see is a Camry? It’s sort of the same thing.
The more you say things to yourself like “I wish I had her hair” or “I wish I could look like that in in that kind of dress”, the more your brain will try to come up with reasons or chatter about that.
This not only makes those negative thoughts seem like they’re facts, but it keeps you spinning in the cycle of trying to figure out this “huge problem” when there actually isn’t a problem at all.
You may have read that and thought “Okay, but I DO need to lose 20lbs.”. Or “I can’t just be happy with my body the way it is”. Or maybe even “I’m happy with my looks but I’m just not an outgoing person and I wish I were”.
Now that you’re thinking about the thoughts you have when comparing yourself to other women, I want to challenge you to try something. The next time you see a woman and are comparing yourself to her or a negative thought about yourself in this area pops in your head try this…
1 – Observe the thought and notice everything you’re thinking and feeling in that moment. If you can, write it down.
Practice observing yourself for a couple weeks. Get used to the feeling of observing without making the thoughts in your head mean anything valid to you. Try to enjoy the fact that you are not the negative thoughts in your head. And that you have the ability to simply observe these comparison tendencies without feeling obligated to think negatively about yourself as you have in the past. If you can get used to the idea that we get to chose which thoughts are true and useful to us and which ones are not, it will help your brain to start thinking more intentionally for your benefit!
2 – After a couple weeks of observation, look for a pattern.
Is there something in particular you’re comparing yourself to in other women? Their hair? Body type? Maybe you want a “better” butt in order to feel more confident in a swimsuit? Is it how comfortable they seem to be in their own bodies? It’s not always just physical features. Maybe the way they speak or how outgoing they are is something you wish you were more comfortable with.
Now that you’ve observed and are starting to notice what you tend to be drawn to, ask yourself why?
As I sort of touched on before, our brains want to find answers or solutions for whatever we ask them. Instead of thinking “I wish…” or “Why can’t I have/do/be…” try asking yourself “What is the reason that I’m always comparing myself to other women?”
If you have something more specific, use that. For example, “Why do I always compare my stomach and thighs to other women?” If this type of thought work is new to you, give yourself time to let it sink in.
Ask yourself your specific question multiple times a day if needed. Eventually, you’ll uncover the negative subconscious belief that is causing you to feel “stuck” in this situation.
I’ve learned that subconscious limiting beliefs are developed from a place of you protecting yourself.
For example, in order to feel comfortable around my peers in high school, I observed what people seemed to like and started to mimic that appearance. The goal was to blend in so I didn’t attract unwanted attention because I was so self-conscious at the time. As the years past, comparing myself and mimicking became habit due to positive results and the desire to create more of that feeling.
Eventually, I got into personal development and realized all of this which has helped me to stop comparing myself significantly more. I now love what makes me different! I also appreciate qualities in other women without feeling like I need to try to morph into that.
Most times, these patterns are recognized and become “hardwired” beliefs in our subconscious when we are kids and we operate based off them into adulthood.
Ask yourself why you feel inadequate, or why you feel the need to compare yourself to others. What are you protecting yourself from by wanting to compare yourself? Or why do you believe that you’re not perfect just the way you are? Do you value a certain quality that you think you lack?
Perhaps there was a lot of pressure put on you as a child to do well in school or sports? Maybe you wanted the approval of a parent and always felt invisible around them. Whatever the case may be, digging further into your subconscious will help you discover the underlying reason behind your habit of comparison.
Once you discover that reason or limiting belief you can work on debunking it.
Hey – real quick! Do you like free printables? Here are a couple related to this article’s topic that I think you might like! Click the images to check them out!
Self-care is not a luxury, it’s a responsibility to your own well-being! Start making your self-care a priority with these simple ideas today!
Take your mornings to the next level by trying this 14-day morning routine challenge. You’ll feel more productive and centered while keeping your mental health in check.
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Along with this work, try the use of affirmations. You deserve to feel happy, content and confident with yourself just the way you are so start tell yourself that.
Another thing you can do is to bring more love and awareness to yourself. Treat your body as if it were a loved one of yours. Feed it nourishing, healthy food. Drink plenty of water and exercise your body. It’s hard not to appreciate yourself when you know you are caring for it properly.
So, remember, try the observation exercise mentioned above and know that you’re worthy the way you are. Work on discovering what is blocking you from believing that and any limiting beliefs that you have established for yourself.
Once you realize that the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself in your mind are all relative, you can begin to develop believes and thoughts that you want to have about yourself.
Allowing yourself graciousness will help you on this thought work journey as well. I think it’s natural to notice other women, but it shouldn’t be so strong that it’s playing a huge role in your life. It’s okay if it seems all consuming, but work toward achieving a healthier state of mind.
Having done the thought work in this area, I’ve been able to take that habit of comparison and turn it into a habit of appreciation. When I notice someone with a special quality, it’s from a place of admiration and happiness. I love complimenting other women whenever I get the chance.
You should try this too! It will put you in a place of abundance and you’ll start to develop a positive narrative about yourself!
Work on getting to know yourself. Once you know your limiting beliefs and are working on them it will be easier for you to truly be happy with yourself. Tell yourself that it’s not healthy to longingly compare yourself to other from a place of lackfulness and jealousy and work on those areas that you want for yourself. This is where keeping your body healthy and active comes in. Focus on yourself (inside and out) and I bet you’ll start to feel a sense of respect for yourself that you might not have been able to feel in the past.
In my experience, establishing a self-care routine for mental health has helped me appreciate myself more. It also has helped me to become more aware of limiting beliefs in areas of my life that I’ve always felt stuck.
If self-care for mental health is something that interests you, check out the 3-Month Self-Care Challenge for Mental Health. In this course, I go over the methods and strategies that I’ve used to implement the mental health practices that I now call habits!
Click THIS LINK or the following image to read more about the course
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As always, feel free to comment below or send me a message with any feedback about this post! I’d love to hear if these ideas helped you or what has worked for you in the past!