Last Updated on April 7, 2023 by Kayla
Last month, my husband Jeremy and I road-tripped for two weeks throughout the sunshine state. One day, in particular, we were hunting for shark’s teeth on the beach, and I stood in awe at the number of seashells sprawled about.
On hands and knees, I excavated shark’s teeth for hours. Although hard on the knees, it was equally therapeutic. The sheer volume and variation of seashells reminded me of the human body. So many shapes, sizes, colors, yet each and every one has its own unique beauty.
I admired the shells and never judged one shell against another. They were all beautiful in their own form. This made me wonder, why can’t we embrace our uniqueness rather than criticize and compare ourselves to others?
If we were a little more like seashells, touting our distinctive curves, colors, and character, life would be oh so much sweeter.
To begin, we can embrace the things that make us unique and stop comparing ourselves to someone else’s highlight reel.
4 Ways to Avoid Comparison
By definition, “comparison” is considering the similarities and differences between two things or people.
When we compare two items or people, we’re forced to choose one over the other. We favor one and oppose another. It’s ‘this’ or ‘that,’ ‘A’ or ‘B.’
Whether it’s hairstyles, paint colors, or ‘who wore it bests,’ we can appreciate each option for its unique properties, rather than feeling forced to choose a side.
Imagine looking at a photo appreciating the snapshot of joy or smiles of others rather than immediately pointing out your own insecurities. Instead of envying others or things we don’t have, how can we learn to embrace our uniqueness?
How do we overcome this reflex? What steps can we take to avoid comparing our chapter one to someone else’s chapter twenty?
Below are several strategies to help influence your perspective and appreciate yourself and your circumstances as is. Of course, it’s easier said than done; however, with time and practice, these principles can lighten the mental load and help prevent you from being your own worst enemy.
1. Embrace your unique strengths
When you’re feeling inadequate, do your best to identify 2-3 things you like about yourself. I know it’s tough when your mind is just not there but hear me out.
This can include physical or emotional attributes such as admiring your eyes, your ability to follow through, or intelligence. Maybe it’s how you wear a particular shade of lipstick or how your ta-tas look in your favorite bra.
Once you identify things you like about yourself, it helps affirm positive self-confidence and push past jealousy so that you can admire the qualities of others too. It’s not a contest.
You can look spectacular standing next to another bombshell of a woman. You are both beautiful and unique in your own special ways. Remember, there is no scoreboard tallying for or against you!
2. Practice gratitude
Embracing your uniqueness and appreciating things you already have helps cultivate an attitude of gratitude and takes the focus off comparing yourself to others. Some research shows that regular gratitude practice helps:
- Increase long-term happiness
- Improve decision making
- Reduce mental stress
- Improve relationships
- Increase social support
- Make people like you
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve sleep
- Reduce depressive symptoms
Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, name three things you’re grateful for or jot them down in a journal.
I like the 5-Minute Journal, which includes short daily prompts. It can be as simple as being thankful for your lungs which breathe, the cup of coffee you’re about to have, or a good night’s sleep. Don’t overcomplicate it.
3. Compliment others
Recognizing the qualities of others and genuinely appreciating them helps us connect with others rather than isolating ourselves to a one-person pity party.
Compliment at least one person every day and be sincere.
It feels good to compliment others, and I think you’ll be surprised by how many people you catch off guard with your kindness. Change the trajectory of another human’s day!
4. Consume positive messaging
Take a step back and observe the content you consume. Beyond food, the media and news you consume impacts your health too. For instance, how do your social media feeds make you feel? When you put your phone down, do you feel better or worse?
One activity I’ve encouraged my group coaching clients to do is a “social media detox.” This includes unfollowing accounts or taking a break from social platforms that leave you feeling like crap.
Feed your mind and body with food and content that leaves you feeling like a better version of yourself.
Words from the Wise
“Your story is unique and so so different. It is not worthy of comparison.”– Unknown
Reread this quote. Then read it again. The simplicity of this message speaks for itself. Embrace your uniqueness!
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