how to inch forward smiling

Last week something incredible happened to me. I was up late, writing a post, battling insomnia, and playing my favorite late night game- look at other people’s lives, compare, feel miserable.

I wrote a post that vented about how alone I felt. The next day, I felt better. The day after that, even better. How? I worked on actively changing my thinking, little activities that make me happy, and I did a little bit of venting. It is hard to make the blanket statement that with a will and some massive changes in thinking, most anyone can be happy, but there is a growing part of me that thinks this is largely true. You can struggle with terrible demons, fall into less than desirable circumstances, but there are ways to make things better. Ok, ok I’ll stop making these wild and sweeping proclamations.  It is true for me. In the midst of mental health disorders, physical health battles, financial issues, and what are less than desirable circumstances to me, I am learning to be happy. I might have forgotten that for a bit, but last week certainly reminded me of it in the best way. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a ranting sobbing mess so many days, but even my outlook on those days has changed. So, I would like to discuss how to increase your own quality of life. From little coping skills to giant steps that a person can take. My goal is to be ridiculously happy and content and learning during the times I am not. I hope that you all will join in. This weeks topic, comparisons…

Stop Comparing

I know there is a certain level of self-comparison that is positive and productive. What I aim to stop is that crippling cycle where I am convinced I will never be as happy/accomplished/talented/pretty and in turn shut down. That point where insecurity takes over. Here is how I am fighting it:

  • When I start to compare myself to someone else in a negative way, I immediately switch gears and do something productive and rewarding. I am doing a little Pavlov’s dog experiment on myself. Every time I start feeling insecure because I am playing the comparison game, I acknowledge my feelings. Then I follow through on something that makes me happy. Feeling resentful after looking at someone five years younger living your dream? Finish that DIY you keep putting off. Go get some exercise. Cook a gorgeous meal. I’m telling you, it feels good and it feels right.
  • At 2 am, when I start spiraling down a Facebook rabbit hole, I am trying to remind myself of a few key points. Know that you are looking at is a selective presentation of a person’s life. It is a highlight reel, a best of. Not in the sense that you are being misled- don’t get me wrong. But unless you are my sister, I don’t think you are using multiple online social forums to update the world on the good, the bad and the ugly 24/7. (ps- Katrina, keep on keeping it real! )
  • Be supportive and non-judgmental of that person. If it is a “real life” person you interact with, you might learn a thing or two if you open up your mind and stay positive. The worst that can happen if you won’t be able to beat yourself up for wasting your time being negative. If the person you are comparing yourself to is someone you don’t interact with, embrace them mentally. I like to think about how I would want to be thought about or treated. No, your thoughts or actions in this case might never effect that person. but you are going to feel better about yourself. Positive thoughts breed positive thoughts and most likely positive results.

I don’t know if all of this sounded like BS to you, but if you struggle with comparison and judgement, I dare you to try one of these tricks. If you have your own, please tell me!


  1. i wish when i felt bad i could cook a gorgeous meal and feel better. right now, my ‘feeling better’ steps look more like watching that video of the chihuahua salsa dancing instead of sobbing at my hips in photoshop.

    i do agree about the venting. i have a couple of those posts saved up in me right now that i’m deciding how to get out. stay tuned.

    • haha. Maybe cooking is a lofty goal. But anything except for dwelling… I don’t know. I knew that not everyone would agree with me. I just know what I have gone through, and I know the changes I made and continue to make. There are really shitty days.. but there is hope. Which I didn’t always have.

  2. I do the Facebook thing too…and I compare like no one else. I’ve had to stop reading certain blogs because anytime I read a post, I’d feel like s**t after. But I’ve recently promised myself not to go looking for things to upset me (which I have been guilty of in the past). If I see something randomly, I can be a little miffed…but if I sought out all those nasty feelings, it’s my own dang fault. So far so good on that front…haven’t purposefully tried to make myself feel bad through images and status updates. For most of us, life is good…it’s just hard acknowledging that all the time.
    I liked this post. =) Good work.

  3. Agreed 100% WHat I do which is always helpful is remember that everyone has their struggles…cause we all do….even movie stars that seem to lead the perfect life as they are good looking, have perfect bodies, have so much money, and fame…and how miserable are so many of them? doing drugs, being violent, can’t keep one steady relationship….you just have to find happiness around you and be proud and happy of your world. Its hard to do, but like you say…practice makes perfect

  4. So happy to stumble across your blog! LOVE that quote by Roosevelt:)

  5. Love this! Especially the “highlight reel” . . . it’s ridiculous, especially when I remember that I never upload any pictures of myself! haha

  6. Betty

    I stumbled across your blog and this is something I am dealing with alot these days so it was inspirational to see this post. Thanks for the advice and tips!

  7. Gah, what is it about this week? Even though work kicked my ass and I was running around like crazy, I’ve just felt so fucking GOOD–happy, calm, focused. Maybe it’s in the water, or maybe we’re all just learning how to keep growing happiness inside ourselves, instead of struggling to find it somewhere else.


  8. This is such a great post. I agree with Albertina – everyone has their struggles. I grew up never feeling like I needed to compare myself to anyone (I have no idea how I did it, looking back, it had a lot to do with my parents). My parents always taught me to learn from others but ultimately carve my own path and be happy. I think what people don’t realize is that comparing yourself with others doesn’t just affect you, it affects others as well (especially if the target is someone you know). Often times people deal with comparisons negatively, which just makes you feel worse. It’s so much better to just think & say – I admire you or what you’ve done, and would love to learn from you or learn what it takes to get where you are. And remember, someone out there is looking up to you as well, so might as well set a great example and stay positive! xx

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