How to stop comparing yourself to others, according to a life coach

In her new column, life coach Hattie MacAndrews shares her advice on the problems plaguing her clients.

Today she tackles toxic comparison culture and explains how we can stop comparing ourselves to others.

The issue: I can’t stop comparing myself to others

Hattie MacAndrews in a pink dress on a sofa
Hattie MacAndrews shares her advice for overcoming comparison culture

“I can’t stop comparing myself to my friends and it’s making me miserable. Day-to-day, I feel content but a quick glance at social media quickly makes me feel like I’m not achieving enough, that I don’t earn enough money, that I’m not eating the right way or exercising enough.

I can’t stop myself doom scrolling and getting stuck in that negative thought cycle, even though I know it makes me feel worse. How can I stop comparing myself to everyone around me?

The solution for overcoming comparison culture

If I had a penny for every woman I encouraged to stop comparing herself to others, I would be a very rich woman. We are living in a culture of comparison and it’s making people miserable by the masses.

Let me start by assuring you, that you are far from alone in your quest to stop thinking like this. As frustrating as it can be, you’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last – and I commend you for noticing the pattern and wanting to change.

 INSPIRATION FROM HATTIE: I ditched my phone for a whole week – here’s what I learned 

It’s interesting that you’ve been able to pinpoint exactly where this train of thought kicks off – and lo and behold, it’s at the root of gloom and doom for many – social media. From someone whose career is maintained via social media, I can assure you it doesn’t have to be this way.

I honestly believe social media platforms can still be fun, informative, educational, social – whatever you want them to be. It’s about how you use them, and what mindset you approach with.

young woman sitting on the sofa with a coffee
Hattie MacAndrews notes how to nix comparison culture

Don’t believe everything you see

I know this won’t be the first time you’ve heard this – but just a very gentle (yet firm) reminder, not to believe everything you see on social media.

It’s a tiny, tiny snapshot of a person’s reality. It’s so incredibly easy to portray a scene that’s far from the truth. The apps have made it so easy for us to do – a quick filter, a tweak on the image or choosing from a photo burst of 200 – is it any wonder we’re losing touch with reality? Do not let yourself spiral over a story you’ve created in your mind. In future, take photos, stories and highlights as being just that – a highlight reel.

Brunette woman smiling for the camera
Hattie MacAndrews recommends curating your social media feed

Curate your feed

Next up is my favourite and most fool-proof way to start combatting the comparison culture. Cull! Cull your followers and cull who you follow.

You are in control of what you consume online and if you’re following people who don’t make you feel good or spark joy in your day, remove them. It’s as simple as that.

 READ: I’m a confidence coach – these are the 3 rules I tell all my clients 

Curate an online environment that makes you feel good or you can learn something from. There are countless brilliant accounts to follow online, so focus on those and start to carve out a space that enables you to feel happy, excited or motivated. You always have the option to mute people if you need to remove them on the sly.

Raise your self-awareness

If you’re in the market to do some deeper inner work (highly recommended), you can use this as an opportunity to raise your self-awareness; start to pay attention to your thoughts, where they are stemming from, what they are telling you and how they make you feel.

When we feel jealous or insecure about something, those emotions are often shining a light on what it is we really want. Whether its finances, relationships, properties or a different perspective.

 READ: 7 non-negotiable confidence habits I wish I’d known when I was younger 

Try and dig deep to pinpoint what you think you feel you are lacking, and whether it’s something you truly want, or are able to change.

It’s very easy to get caught in the trap of wanting more. I’m sure you’re doing the very best you can. Try and shift your mindset to focus on what you have, rather than fixating on what you don’t. Practice positive affirmations, apply gratitude to your daily life. And as always, time to ramp up the self-love.

 Find out more about Hattie MacAndrews and visit HELLO!’s Happiness Hub for inspiration on living a more optimistic life.

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