Why We Compare Ourselves & How To Escape the Comparison Trap

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Comparison is truly the thief of joy. Coming off of Cancer season, many of us in the Almost 30 community have been feeling comparison more than ever. Krista dives into what comparison is, why it happens, and how she deals with comparison in our new episode: Comparison: Why We Do It + How to Deal. Listen now!

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • How comparison can be toxic
  • Why comparison happens to some more than others
  • Potential benefits of comparison
  • The IG highlight reel trap
  • How Krista deals with comparison

Krista here. I’ve noticed recently that comparison has been such a big part of my life experience. I think that more time online, the whole wedding process (which is a huge comparison portal), and overall social media life has made it hard for me to see the beauty in me versus how often I see the beauty in others’ lives and experiences.

When we are in a space of comparison, to the point where it is robbing us of joy and presence, we need to check in on it. 


The truth behind comparison

I was talking to my therapist and I said, “When I’m comparing myself to people I know and respect, it means that it’s time for us to hang out or connect so I can see the truth.” Because we all live in the IG-friendly world, it can really help to reach out to people to know the truth of it all. 

I know I don’t share everything on my social media and there’s so much going on behind the scenes that those who follow me don’t know. The important thing is to remind yourself of this and feel free to reach out to your close friends you are feeling envious of and check in on them — off the highlight reel. 

One thing that can help us cope with comparison is diving into this habit on a scientific level. I found so much research on the science of comparison, who it impacts most, and why we do it. 

Scientific research on comparison

A study in the journal NeuroReport says: 

“One of the reasons that could explain the ubiquity of social comparisons is that they provide efficient strategies to make judgments and decisions. By focusing on a subset of information rather than engaging in an exhaustive search of one’s knowledge base, social comparisons enable humans to save scarce cognitive resources. This cognitive benefit also shows at the brain level: during a judgment task, comparative information processing was associated with smaller changes in alpha-band activity, suggesting reduced mental effort.”

It makes sense, right?

The data does show though that women and highly sensitive, codependent, emphatic people are more likely to compare than their male peers. Which seems so DUH!

When you think about being someone who deeply cares or empathizes with others, you can see how it would make sense energetically to compare. 

I think a lot of the work that we do together in the membership and on the podcast is to get us to a place where we are the feelers that we are meant to be, but also able to be in our own experiences without negative spirals of comparison.

This is the study that I referenced quite a bit here, which is fascinating. It provides a lot of insight that I filtered through and made tangible in the episode.

How I stay mindful of comparison:

  • Give myself compassion for feeling the way I do and not attacking myself for comparison that comes naturally. 
  • Identify the inner critic. I ask myself: What about this situation would I like to have for myself? 
  • Ask my inner spirit to remind me when I’m comparing myself to others. It’s so shocking to see how often we compare. 
  • Be mindful of screen time and comparison traps on my phone; instead, I try to take a walk, call a friend, paint, etc. when I’m tempted to scroll.
  • Improve my self-talk through mantras, compliments, and reassuring words. I try to catch myself in negative self-talk and rebuild my attitude. I always have to remember to use my own voice when practicing positive self-talk or it won’t feel authentic. 
  • Remind myself that the success of others is none of my business. 

I also serve as my own hype woman. I choose to keep a folder with positive things that make me feel happy, confident, and loved. This folder is filled with:

  • A list of achievements from work + life in general 
  • Nice things my friends, family, and community have said to me 
  • Photos of happy memories with friends and family

This folder helps me to remind myself just how much I love my own life and do not need to be comparing it with anyone else’s.

For me, I trust God more than anything. I try to remind myself that whatever is meant for me will come to me. This is so comforting to me, but easy to lose sight of when I’m caught in a comparison spiral. 

Comparison is something so natural, especially for women and empaths. We must breaks own comparison to its separate parts and analyze our behavior if we are to move past it.

For more tips on how to rid yourself of negative comparison, listen to my full episode on the podcast now! 

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We're Krista + Lindsey. Co-hosts of the Almost 30 Podcast, entrepreneurs, creatives, community leaders, best friends, wellness-obsessed spiritual seekers, alien lovers...and always ch-ch-ch-changing. We're excited to have you here. If you're enjoying these posts, check out our podcast, our story, and find more education in our shop!

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