The Comparison Trap and How to Avoid It

mental health mindfulness personal development professional development Nov 28, 2022

We’ve all been there. We’re mindlessly scrolling through our favorite social media app and we see someone’s incredible post of how amazing everything is going for them. We feel the pit in our stomach, the guilt starting to take over - and just like that your brain goes into immediate comparison mode, comparing our current situation to this person’s best moment highlight. 

Comparing ourselves to others is normal - everyone does it. Sometimes looking to other people can inspire and motivate us to work on ourselves and continue the big projects we’re working on. The problem is that comparing ourselves to others all the time isn’t healthy. It can sometimes send us into a dark spiral of gloom that we aren’t living up to others’ accomplishments and success.

So how can we avoid that pit in our stomachs when we start to compare ourselves to others? 

Limit your time on social media.

Especially early on in your work to avoid the comparison trap, you may want to cut down your time on social media. This is where we compare ourselves to others the most often and it can be so easy to stumble into it unintentionally. Set time limits on your phone, sign out of your accounts to make yourself go through an extra step to get on the platform, or delete the app altogether for a while (you can always download it again). 

Embrace and practice gratitude. 

If you find you are starting to compare yourself to others, start to think about what you are grateful for right now. It can be small things, like the cup of coffee you had this morning or big things, like time with a friend, the resources you have, etc. When you start to think about all the incredible things that you are grateful for, you start to realize that you have a lot of amazing things going on in your life too. 

Remember that people share their highlight reels, not their internal thoughts. 

Many times what you see on someone’s social profiles are their best moments, their highlight reels. They have bad days too, they struggle and they’ve felt like they weren’t doing enough. So when you start to get frustrated that you aren’t where someone else is, try to think about celebrating that person’s highlight instead and recognizing that they probably worked really hard and fought through a lot to get there. Instead of being resentful, try to learn from them and take lessons that can help you grow. 

Compare yourself only to your past self. 

Yes, you heard that right! Go to your old social media posts and compare yourself to that person. How much have you grown? What have you learned? What have you navigated through? Celebrate the wins you’ve made - you’ll be surprised to see how far you’ve come since you started out. The only person you are truly comparable to is the you of yesterday. If you can make positive change and growth from that person, you are on a great path to success. 


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