Comparison Trap: 3 Ways to Help Yourself Out of Emotional Quicksand

Liz Merritt
July 26, 2017
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There’s an innate behavior among us human types that, left unchecked, can unravel a perfectly good day. It can steal happiness, sap self-esteem and waste more energy than leaving the lights on in every city in the country for a week. It’s the comparison trap.

Comparing ourselves to others, their lives, their happiness, their families, their houses, cars, children, grandchildren. You get my drift. Every time we do it, we put focus on the wrong person. That’s because comparison puts our energy on other people’s lives, rather than our own. Heck, most of the time we do it without even realizing what’s going on.

Recognizing the Comparison Trap

comparison trap

Whenever you find yourself comparing your life to others, take a step back and express something you are grateful for out loud.

The first thing we need to do when that green tinge of envy tickles our senses is to stop ourselves. Easier said than done in some cases.

Whenever you catch yourself wishing the guy in the Ferrari who just whizzed by you would get a speeding ticket, stop. Shake your head “no” and speak out loud something you are grateful for that day.

It’s impossible to compare your economy car to his luxury car at the same time you are expressing thankfulness for the things you have in your life. Your car saves on gas! And you’re definitely better off than the next guy you pass who’s broken down on the side of the road.

It’s all relative, and when you reel your mind back into YOUR life and YOUR reality, you stop resenting what others have and get mighty grateful for your own stuff.

Make Your Own Happiness

Jack Canfield, best-selling author, personal development leader and founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul, once said, “I generally find that comparison is the fast track to unhappiness.” He’s 100% spot on. Every time we feel envious or jealous and start to compare our lives to others, we invite a cavalcade of negative emotions, stress and anxiety to flood our senses.

No matter who you are, every member of the human race shares three things: we are born, we age, and we die. There’s no stopping the Big 3, but taking control of our happiness and moments in between is completely within our control.

Take Back What is Yours

comparison trap

When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we take back our self-confidence and self respect.

When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we take back our self-confidence, self-respect and generally skip around life a helluva lot happier. The only person you should compare yourself to is you. It’s truly an empowering feeling.

Free yourself from your own shackles and remember that we all write our own stories. If you’re unfulfilled in your life today, what will you do to change that. Remember, if nothing changes, then you accept being stuck in the same place for God only knows how long.

See the World in a New Light

See the world in a new light. While meditating on gratitude, plot out the next scene in the movie of your life. Write it down in a journal, just like a script and be unafraid to dream. When we allow fear to guide our choices, we conjure up insecurity and uncertainty. Those feelings will never take you in the direction you want.

It’s OK to love yourself right where you are. And when someone crosses your path who seemingly has more than you, show grace and acceptance. As this will open the door for opportunities that you once thought impossible.

Don’t envy the guy in the Ferrari. Envision yourself behind the wheel instead and put a plan in action to get there.


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