Handle the Comparison Trap With This One Question

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” This quote by Theodore Roosevelt is one of my go-to reminders because I, probably like many of you, fall victim to the comparison trap somewhat often.

Here’s my scenario from this morning: I was in a good mood, going about my routine, checking social media…when photos of a gorgeous fitness model popped up in my feed as I scrolled through. You know, pictures that make you want to throw on a large parka and hat, stay hidden in the shadows, and never post a picture of yourself again? Well maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you get my point.

So in a matter of minutes, I realized I had a choice to make. Referring back to one of my takeaways from Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop, I asked myself, “Am I willing?” Because if we are going to compare ourselves to someone else, we will either be sad about it or DO something about it. If we are not willing to do what it takes, then be ok with it and move on. Stop comparing and go back to the happy mood you were in before the comparison trap snagged you! (In my case, I decided that no, I am not willing to drastically cut my calories and workout like it’s my full-time job. And let’s face it, there’s also metabolism, heredity, and other characteristics I can’t control.)

So I am NOT willing to go all in and change my life as a result of a few sad moments of comparison. But what I AM willing to do is be honest that my workouts have been more “going through the motions” than really going for my goals. And I AM willing to cut out that late night snacking habit that crept back in with college football season…the habit that would otherwise continue all the way through March Madness.

To summarize, when you find yourself on the sad end of the comparison trap…because at some point we all do…ask yourself what, if anything, you are willing to do about it. Don’t let that trap hold you! Either decide, “nah, I’m good,” and go on with your happy self, or decide what actions you are really willing to take to achieve YOUR realistic version of what you’re comparing yourself to.

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Get Out of Your Own Way

I hesitate to post this book recommendation. Not because I’m unsure of its content and not because I didn’t like the direct writing style. It’s because my last post was about How to Be a Badass at Making Money and this next recommendation is for Unfu*k Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life by Gary John Bishop. I’m a mother for goodness sake! And I keep reading and writing about these books with profanity in the titles!

Seriously though, I am recommending this book. I like that it’s straightforward; it’s an easy read; and it’s content delivers one light bulb moment after another. Here are my four favorites…

  1. Chapter 2: “I am willing.” Be honest with yourself about what you’re willing/unwilling to do (instead of saying what you want/don’t want). Example: You say you want to buy a house, but you’re unwilling to sacrifice and save money. Be honest about what you are willing to do and adjust the view of your life from there. Stop feeling negatively about not having the house and start enjoying your apartment.
  2. Chapter 5: “I embrace the uncertainty.” Get out of your comfort zone. Life is supposed to be an adventure. Live life; don’t just survive it. “…what causes most of your worry is trying to predict the future and then refusing to accept things when they don’t or aren’t going to go your way” (p. 112).
  3. Chapter 7: “I am relentless.” Some people may tell you that your dream is silly or your goals can’t be attained. That’s only true if you believe them. You may fail and be discouraged, but the dream is only over if you quit. Keep moving forward, even if it’s “failing forward.” Keep your head down and work toward your goals and when you look up later, recognize your progress. “Even when you don’t see anything happening, it is. Even when you’re not quite hitting the mark, you’re making progress” (p. 158).
  4. Chapter 8: “I expect nothing and accept everything.” (This chapter contained the MOST light bulb moments for me!) Basically, we are unhappy when our expectations do not match our reality. Simple example: you had to work late and you expect to walk in the door to your children greeting you happily and your spouse having dinner ready for you. Instead, the family is annoyed that you are late and waiting for you to make dinner. Instead of being unhappy in that gap between what you expected and what was reality, just accept the situation. Don’t waste time on an expectation; take action to achieve your desired result. “Don’t expect victory or defeat. Plan for victory, learn from defeat…Free yourself from the burden and melodrama of expectation; let the chips fall where they may. Love the life you have, not the one you expected to have” p. 183.

So there you have it. Read Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop if you are ready to challenge some of your current thought patterns. What you discover might be the change that gets you out of your own way and clears the path to a happier life.

If you’ve read the book, please share your thoughts in the comments too!

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