It’s an inevitable, confidence-crushing occurrence in our overhyped, social media posting world.
We compare, weigh and measure ourselves against every personal and professional win those around us have….every stinking day.
Michelle got a promotion!
Alisa got engaged!
Mary made the Top 30 under 30 before her twenty-fifth birthday!
And every single one of them has an Instagram-worthy montage showing how their perfect lives and their enviable successes seemingly happened effortlessly.
Immediately we are triggered to feel unworthy, inadequate and like a failure.
We can’t help it.
We are programmed, as human beings, to be tribal. We rely on our social connections and our position within these tribes for perceived safety and self-esteem. Millions of years of biological and societal programming rear their ugly lower-brain reactions faster than you can say “selfie-envy.”
We may not be able to erase thousands of years of imprint programming but we can step out of this negative comparison cycle by adopting the five behaviors below.
Spend time on your own goals. Are you actively working towards something for yourself? Do you have a goal that you are working on daily that you are making progress on? If not, it is time to get one or two. Insecurities are amplified when we do not feel good about progress in our own lives. If you have reached a stagnant stage where you don’t know what to do next, it’s time to do some assessment. What big dreams would be yours if you could wave a magic wand. Dreaming big is the first step. Acting on those dreams is the next.
Peel back the social-media layers. What we don’t see we can’t be. Ask questions of the people who have achieved an enviable goal as to how they did it. What seems like an effortless achievement likely had several years of hard work (and help) behind it. For example: I am launching my very first book on May 7th this year. I am posting promotions for the book in hopes that I can help get it into the hands of the women readers who would best benefit from the message and lessons shared. What you might see on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn looks like a glossy cover of a completed book that spontaneously was created overnight. What you don’t see, are the two years of daily writing, editing and enlisting of experts that it took to bring it to fruition. And messy, messy copy that took three re-writes to get it into shape.
Look for the inspiration, not the comparison. Stop comparing your beginning or middle with someone else who is farther along the journey than you. Do you wish your could be where they are at? Then let them be the inspiration that gets you moving towards the goal. If you know them, pick their brain about how they got to where they are. Most likely they were inspired by someone else too. Do not have a preconceived notion as to when you are “supposed to be” where they are at. Some journeys are shorter lived than others and there will certainly be a time when you leap ahead where others take longer.
Catalog your wins. When was the last time you took stock of what you have accomplished in the last quarter, six months or year? All too often we leap ahead to the next big goal without pausing to celebrate our wins and appreciate how far we have come. Journaling monthly wins is a great place to start. Not only will you build your confidence by re-reading your journey, you will train your brain to start looking for the positive successes you have had instead of measuring your perceived gaps.
Worry about yourself. Get off the social media and get on with your own life. Seriously. If reviewing other peoples’ successes make you feel bad or inadequate instead of inspired and excited for them, just…don’t….do…it. Life is not a competition with others and we only get one shot. Spend more time living it and chasing your own happy rather than brooding about someone else’s perceived Easy Button. Your turn will come if you stay focused on your own goals and worry about yourself. The comparisons that matter most are the ones in which we reflect on our past, present and future selves.
So, stop comparing yourself to others and take time to celebrate your own success. Recognize that feeling jealous or insecure about someone else’s success will not serve you in succeeding in your own right. Step away from the glossy Insta-stories and focus on living an actual, true existence.
Your future you will thank you for it.
Angela Hosking is a Leader, Speaker, Author and Coach that specializes in women’s empowerment and leadership development. Her first book “Woman on Top: Lead Like a Lady Boss” will be available on May 7th,2019 on Amazon. Angela certifies that behind every one of her glossy Instagram posts and filtered empowering photographs she is sitting in sweatpants and a messy bun working on her goals.