Last month, my husband Jeremy and I road-tripped for two weeks throughout the sunshine state. One day, in particular, we were hunting for shark’s teeth on the beach, and I stood in awe at the number of seashells sprawled about.
On hands and knees, I excavated shark’s teeth for hours. Although hard on the knees, it was equally therapeutic. The sheer volume and variation of seashells reminded me of the human body. So many shapes, sizes, colors, yet each and every one has its own unique beauty.
I admired the shells and never judged one shell against another. They were all beautiful in their own form. This made me wonder, why can’t we embrace our uniqueness rather than criticize and compare ourselves to others?
If we were a little more like seashells, touting our distinctive curves, colors, and character, life would be oh so much sweeter. We can start by embracing the things that make us unique and stop comparing ourselves to someone else’s highlight reel.
4 Ways to Avoid Comparison
By definition, “comparison” is considering the similarities and differences between two things or people. When we compare two items or people, we’re forced to choose one over the other. We favor one and oppose another. It’s ‘this’ or ‘that,’ ‘A’ or ‘B.’ Whether it’s hairstyles, paint colors, food, or ‘who wore it bests.’ We can’t appreciate both for their unique properties, and instead, we’re forced to choose a side.
Imagine looking at a photo appreciating the snapshot of joy or smiles of others rather than immediately pointing out your own insecurities. Instead of envying others or things we don’t have, how can we learn to embrace our uniqueness no matter the scenario.
So how do we overcome this? What steps can we take to avoid comparing our chapter one to someone else’s chapter twenty? To begin, we can increase self-confidence with positive affirmations.
Below are some strategies to help influence your perspective and appreciate yourself and your situation as is. Of course, it’s easier said than done; however, with time and practice, these principles can lighten your mental load and help cut yourself a little slack!
1. Embrace your unique strengths
When you’re feeling inadequate, do your best to identify 2-3 things you like about yourself. I know it’s tough when your mind is just not there but hear me out. They can be physical or emotional attributes such as admiring your eyes, ability to follow through, or intelligence. Maybe it’s how you wear a particular shade of lipstick or how your ta-tas look in your favorite bra.
Once you can identify things you like about yourself, it helps affirm positive self-confidence and push past jealousy so that you can admire the qualities of others. It’s not a contest. You can look spectacular standing next to another bombshell of a woman. You are both beautiful and unique in your own special ways. Remember, there is no scoreboard tallying for or against you!
2. Practice gratitude
Embracing your uniqueness and appreciating things you already have helps cultivate a positive attitude and takes the focus off comparing yourself to others. Some research shows that regular gratitude practice helps:
- Increase long-term happiness
- Improve decision making
- Reduce mental stress
- Improve relationships
- Increase social support
- Make people like you
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve sleep
- Reduce depressive symptoms
Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, name three things you’re grateful for or jot them down in a journal. I like the 5-Minute Journal^, which includes short daily prompts. It can be as simple as being thankful for your lungs which breathe, the cup of coffee you’re about to have, or a good night’s sleep. Don’t overcomplicate it.
3. Compliment others
Recognizing the qualities of others and genuinely appreciating them helps us connect with others rather than isolating ourselves to a one-person pity party. Compliment at least one person every day and be sincere. It feels good to compliment others, and I think you’ll be surprised at how many people you catch off guard. You can change the trajectory of another human’s day!
4. Consume positive messaging
Take a step back and observe the content you consume. We consume media, news, and content that impacts our health beyond food. For instance, how do your social media feeds make you feel? When you put your phone down, do you feel better or worse?
One activity my clients do during the LIFe program is a “social media detox.” Think about taking a break from influential material that makes you feel like crap. I am not saying to be completely ignorant, especially in today’s world when things change at the drop of a hat, but be cautious and tread carefully.
Feed your mind and body with food and content that leaves you feeling like a better version of yourself. Just one or two affirmations for self-confidence per day can have a drastic impact on your outlook.
Words from the Wise
“Your story is unique and so so different. It is not worthy of comparison.”
Reread this quote. Then read it again. The simplicity of this message speaks for itself. Embrace your uniqueness!