On Feeling Inferior and the Comparison Trap
Mara Glatzel is a self-love coach and author of the body image + authentic living blog, Medicinal Marzipan. If you enjoyed this post, catch up with her (almost) daily body-loving antics and general rabble-rousing on facebook, twitter, or shoot her an email.
There are always moments, no matter where we are on the self-love continuum when we relapse a little, falling back into old habits like comparing ourselves to others in the room or in our field. It can be easy in those vulnerable moments to believe that we might not come out favorably in comparison with some of our heroes, and to use this as evidence to undermine our self-worth.
I always tell my clients that no matter how much progress they have made, when they are in moments of stress and doubt – they will retreat back to those well worn neurological pathways – the messages that they used to tell themselves on loop.
The messages that used to write their self-worth story.
For me, these well worn tracks include deep pathways of look what she’s doing and I’m never going to be as smart/pretty/successful/_____ as her – thought processes deeply imbued in comparison and self-doubt.
Thought processes where it is easy to come out feeling badly about myself.
You can be very accomplished at avoiding these reels of negative self-talk in your regular life, and it can be surprising when they resurface in moments of overwhelming stress. It can be easy in these moments to use the mere recurrence of this type of thinking as evidence of your lack of self-worth. As in, ugh, and I really thought that I was better than this – maybe I was kidding myself all along with this self-love stuff, maybe I really am [insert mean thought here].
Though it can be difficult to maintain a sense of equilibrium with all of these negative thoughts swirling around, here is a virtual ladder to pull you out of the well of self-doubt:
- Take a deep breath. Everything truly is going to be OK.
- Examine the evidence. Are you really [mean thought]? Are there times when you haven’t been [mean thought]? What evidence do you have to the contrary?
- Allow yourself a relapse into self-doubt and comparison. No one is perfect all the time. You are only human.
- When in doubt, remember that most people in the world are also totally wrapped up their own head and experience of the world. Likely? They don’t even notice what you’re doing.
- Print this out, put it in near reach, keep it with you during stressful moments: You are the only person like you in the world. You are the only one in the world who can write your blog, run your business, wear that dress, or ________ like you do. You are unique. Own it.