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…
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!