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How to Stop Comparing Yourself

I know when I start comparing myself it can be hard to stop. It snowballs, and turns into everything about me is horrible and I am a horrible person!


But I don't think it has to be that way, and I think there are things we can do to turn down the noise and get a little comfier in our own skin.


Get clear on what is meaningful for you


Don’t be afraid to be different and define what is meaningful for you. I used to think all I wanted from life was a stable job, to be married and have children. Only with reflection and growth, did I realise I wanted these things just because that’s what I’ve been told to want. For example, I actually don’t want children (that’s a story for another day), but by getting curious about HOW I actually want to live my life, getting clear on WHO I want to become, it helps me make choices that are aligned with this.


When you are clear on what is of value for you, it gives you permission to ignore what is not meaningful for you.


These are some examples on how I have defined what is meaningful to me in terms of my health and fitness in this season of my life (they will change!), and how that helps me get rid of unhelpful comparisons. By sharing these, it’s not with the idea that these will work for you, but rather that you can start to do the same for yourself…


Mindset:

I value growth: I want to learn and evolve as a person. I want to foster curiosity and kindness in this growth.


Growing means I invest time in learning: in podcasts, books and courses. But growth also means more than simply learning: growth gives me the opportunity to be imperfect. To be human.


One of my favourite phrases is ‘there’s no failure, only feedback’. It means asking questions, taking responsibility for myself and owning my mistakes. It means that I show up for myself, and keep the small promises I make to myself. It means practice and patience. I foster kind self-talk, and self-compassionate thoughts and behaviours because investing in myself gives me more time, energy and compassion for everything else.


Growth for me also means taking time out: to get quiet and be my own company. It means I value reading, meditating, breathing, sleep, crafting: and it’s therefore easier to say no to other things. Connecting to myself first gives me the space to connect with others. Growth means by giving to myself first, I can give more to others. Ultimately, my value of growth gives me permission to be myself: and I believe in doing this, it gives other people permission to do the same for themselves.


Movement:

I value being in a body that can move with ease: I workout to help me feel better in my everyday life, to support my mental health and to manage my stress.


Knowing this means I can ignore (for now) the high-intensity cross-fitter, the weight lifter chasing certain numbers on their lifts, the endurance athlete etc. I like a combo of weights, running and yoga to keep me strong, mobile, in connection with my body. This combo supports my goals of having enough energy and being able to tackle whatever life throws at me. I train to be a ninja at life!


Body Image:

I know I value being STRONG and connected to my body. I define being attractive as being grounded in confidence, at home in my body, and connected to myself. I define freedom and confidence as my body and food choices not taking up headspace. They just are.


I am always going to have narrow hips and massive shoulders, so if I listen to female ‘norms’ of attractiveness, I am never going to fit that. Knowing what is important to me means I unfollow anyone who has an overt focus on appearance, stylised photos and who doesn’t ‘keep it real’.


They do them.


But I don’t have to consume their content if it drains my energy or confidence. Therefore I can be more aware of other people’s judgments according to these norms: and I don’t have to value those opinions if they are not aligned with my definitions of love, acceptance and support for my body. I choose clothes I feel comfortable in.


Nutrition:

I value being strong and safe in my body, and I value having the energy to enjoy my days. I value enjoying food: physically and emotionally. I value listening to my body in what I choose to eat, and honouring what it needs.


This means I actively choose anti-diet and anti-restriction to nurture my relationship with food. It means I prioritize getting enough food to fuel my busy life, protein to support my strength, and lots of cake to support my enjoyment! I choose food that is satisfying, not just fuel, which means sometimes it's vegetables, and sometimes it’s ice cream.


I value long term health over short team goals or aesthetics: I eat with the view of enjoying my food, body and health long term.


Be aware of who you’re following on social media and why. Your online presence is your self-crafted city. Be very careful of who you let in. Are you really keeping following that person for ‘motivation’ or is it actually shame-provoking? Makes you feel like you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing something?


Eliminate.

Practice.


Remember, when reading the above, know that these are my values. Not yours: you do you. It doesn’t mean that they are better or more correct than anyone else’s values or behaviours. Some of the actions above will be unhelpful and impossible for some, and that’s ok. You can live out your values in small and meaningful ways. I’m also acutely aware that I don’t and won’t practice these values perfectly.


I can fall down the comparison hole: doom-scrolling, catastrophising, being hasty, oblivious, and stuck in shame.


I am not comparison-free.


But I know that with patience, and practice and a little thought, we can move more into ourselves and away from comparing ourselves with others. I hope you see the above as a framework to cultivate some awareness around your own values:


What’s important to you?


Use the answer to that question to turn down the volume of the noise around you.


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