No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.Eleanor Roosevelt
Research shows that there are individual and unique ways to happiness. Specifically, depending on factors like personality, resources, interests, and lifestyle, there is an ideal activity that gets you the biggest bang for your buck: you get to happiness faster, and sustain it longer.
One of the twelve ways that has been researched, is avoiding social comparison/overthinking.
We’re all guilty of doing it; we compare ourselves to coworkers, friends from college, even our parents: am I making enough? do I dress as well as him? do I look as good as her?
Social media makes this a breeze. But consider, that despite knowing cognitively that what we see on our phones or screens are other people’s highlight reels, we still subconsciously believe that what we see is what we get (instead of: what we see is totally staged).
We know what social comparison looks like: idealizing others; grass looking greener on the other side; being perpetually stuck in wishfulness.
But it can also be sneaky: we become more impulsive; we look for easy solutions; we develop Shiny Object Syndrome. This all leads to unfinished business/projects, burnout, and disappointment.
If this sounds like you, there’s a simple solution to all of it. Here’s how to get more enthusiasm and content back in own life:
- Look for the process. It’s natural to forget that Gwenyth Paltrow is not perfect or Gary Vaynerchuk is not without faults. Instead of seeing their results, see their process – look for their struggle, see how they overcame obstacles on their journeys (you’ll find that there’s a lot more than you weren’t seeing). Action step: read someone’s (auto)biography.
- Create a movie reel. Imagine in your mind what your movie highlight reel would look like if you were to succeed in all the ways you’d like. Visualize your victory. Keep in mind, we rarely regret what we did, and mostly regret what we didn’t do. If you feel an exorbitant amount of fear, remember what’s on the other side (hint: bliss). Action step: identify where you’ve been slacking. Most likely, there’s a fear that has made a home there. Give your fear a name. Whenever you find that s/he comes out, talk to it like you would a child (I know this one sounds silly, but trust me, it works wonders).
- Stop needing others’ permissions. I’ve learned to develop a mantra: ask for forgiveness, not for permission. It used to be engrained in me that I needed to wait for an “adult’s” green light to do anything in life. It’s not that my mom wanted to raise a submissive or compliant human being – she just wanted a compliant little girl as I was quite a handful. So instead of doing things the way I wanted to, I eventually believed that I needed someone else’s approval or needed to fill someone else’s mold and expectations of who I was supposed to be. Luckily, my essence won. I couldn’t squeeze my light into a little box and I eventually found that over many years, practice truly does make perfect – I ask for forgiveness (if warranted), not for permission. Action step: do one thing out of the norm. Drive a different way to work today; eat something for lunch you normally wouldn’t; incorporate a word(s) in your language that you wouldn’t have dared to use yesterday.
Try one (or all three!) and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Lead with intention. Inspire with love.