THE BLOG

Stop Comparing and Start Living

01/06/2014 08:30 am ET | Updated Mar 08, 2014
  • Elizabeth McKenzie Elizabeth is a professional marketing coach for people who crave to be seen + heard.

2014-01-02-_DSC0111.jpg

We all compare ourselves to other people from time to time, but have you ever asked the question why? Why are you looking at your colleague's Facebook feed and feeling inferior? Why do you always stick to the back corner of the yoga studio? Why do you keep Insta-stalking that fitter/younger/thinner friend with the impossibly long legs and shiny hair?

If you look deeply and honestly at this incessant comparing, you'll arrive at this truth: the reason you are comparing yourself to others is because you are searching for external things that will help you be better at being you. Because being you as you are now is not enough. Because you're not enough.

This is a debilitating way of thinking, and it's not serving you. In fact, it's actively holding you back from pursuing your goals, taking healthy risks and living your best life. We need to nix this constant comparison and fix the way we view ourselves if we want to start living life to the fullest.

Comparison is caused by external factors impinging on your truth. It happens when the way you're living isn't lining up with who you are at your core. It's a disconnect between where you're at right now and where your highest self yearns to be.

Now, it's all well and good to have a role model who inspires you to become a best-selling author or to complete your first triathlon. That's constructive and healthy. But when your aspirations involve looking at someone else's life and feeling that all-too-familiar twinge of envy/frustration/not-good-enough-ness, then it's a sign that there is inner work to be done.

Constant comparison is underscored by the belief that we're not good enough and that we have to be more like other people in order to be worthy. The solution? Flip it around. Look deep inside, get to know your true self and rediscover your own voice. These are the keys to killing comparisonitis for good: instead of focusing outwards, we must dive deep within.

Here are my top five ways to connect with your center and stop comparing.

1. Tune out. Become aware of the messages that are bombarding you every day. Whether it's the media, advertising, our friends, colleagues or family members, we are subjected to a barrage of different voices telling us how we should be living and what we should be aspiring to. Instead of unconsciously soaking up all of these external influences, consciously choose to let them float right past you.

2. Tune in. We get so sucked in to the persuasive voices all around us that we get completely detached from our own. It's our divine right to reconnect with our truth, our inner voice, but it requires us to actively listen in. Ask yourself some tough questions, and then sit quietly while your thoughts brew. What do you really want? What do you really think? How do you really want to be? Try jotting down your responses in a journal. The answers might surprise you!

3. Switch off. In the initial stages of tuning out the unimportant stuff and tuning in to the real stuff, it's helpful to limit the extraneous background noise that is the constant soundtrack to modern life. Try going an entire weekend without Facebook. Choose to only check your emails during work hours. And disable the automatic social media alerts on your smart phone.

4. Get Zen. The best way to connect with your center is through some intentional quiet time. This can be meditation, yoga or something as simple as sitting quietly in nature. Any activity that encourages you to focus on your breath will help you to connect to the innate wisdom within.

5. Accept and allow. You've tuned out other people's messages and tuned in to your own. Now the key is to accept everything you find there. You are a human with innumerable excellent qualities as well as a few quirks and shortcomings. The final step to killing comparison is to accept all of you -- the good and the bad -- without judgment or condemnation. Allow the existence of good and bad in other people too: even the most shiny-haired among us have annoying habits, while your most annoying colleague is also in possession of many beautiful strengths. We are all just human-shaped creatures trying to make our way in the world, and we're all doing the best we can.

By following these five simple steps to nix comparison and reconnect with your inner self, you can pave the way for a much easier and more graceful existence. And the good news is, it's actually not that hard: once you connect to your center, there is literally no room for comparison. It doesn't exist. All there is is you and your truth. In fact, you are your truth. And that's a pretty amazing way to live.