I know, I know, you can't see the full picture. I've included it at the bottom, don't worry :)

Comparison

It is really hard to not do it, right?

Somehow we as human beings in our modern society seek to compare ourselves to one another and play a constant game of "am I ______er than him/her?"

Fill in the blank with any number of characteristics we believe to be appealing.

Thinner, prettier, more handsome, funnier, smarter....... and the list could go on and on.

Even if we are _______er than him or her, does it really matter? How come?

Constant comparison to an external standard always leaves us wanting, doesn't it? Because inevitably, we are not the thinnest, prettiest, funniest, or smartest. We will always find someone who is more ________ than us. 

And yet many companies are sly enough to hijack this achilles heel of humanity and use it for their own gain. 

     --- Magazines portray unrealistic physical and "beauty" expectations... (yes, noticed the air quotes)...

     --- TV advertisements promise that if you just buy _________ (insert name of their product product) then you will be happy, rich, and everyone will like you more...

     --- and who knows what will happen if you drive _____________ cars...

It simply isn't true, is it? And yet it seems to pull at us each and every time and we fall for it like the siren song.

We feel empty inside and so we turn to the quick fix that allows us to feel better for a moment... but we miss the amazing truth and peace that self-acceptance brings.

So, lets jump right in. 

3 tips to help you stop comparing yourself with others and start holding onto the truth that you have worth and value as the person you are right now.

1. PAY ATTENTION... OR, BETTER YET, DON'T.

An interesting study by Amy Brown and Helga Dittmar called Think Thin and Feel Bad discussed how our attention to various stimuli in our life may impact what we internalize. Their study involved having women view images of ultra-thin models for varying lengths of time and were asked to rate their attractiveness. The individuals who viewed the images for longer lengths of time were found to display greater levels of body-focused anxiety. The higher the levels of body-focused anxiety, the more likely the participants would "think 'thin' and feel bad." 

This raises the question, what do you spend your time viewing? In the study described above the two groups viewed ultra-thin models for either 150 milliseconds or 10 seconds... it wasn't like they were there for hours... 

What if you spent your time viewing things that were more life bringing and less damaging to your soul. It is amazing that science shows us that what we pay attention to has such a strong impact on us. 

2. WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

Interestingly enough, positive psychology has helped us recognize the power of gratitude. There have been several studies that have found that people who took the time to journal or write down three things they are grateful for each day were happier, had higher self-esteem, and were less likely to experience depression. 

Amazing! I think this goes back to point #1, what we make conscious choices to pay attention to or spend our time doing will either help or hurt us.

I recall my drivers ed teacher in 10th grade told us that if we had difficulty remaining in our lane, we should focus on keeping our right wheel near the white line (on the right side of the road). He said to never judge our position by looking at the double yellow line in the middle. "You will go toward what you look at, so it is better to go right than toward oncoming traffic."

That always stuck with me. So if you pay attention to the good things in your life and think about gratitude and thankfulness, comparison may lose it's foothold. 

3. YOUR FRIENDS

Similar to tip #2, which described expressing gratitude because you move toward what you express, tip #3 is to surround yourself with positive, caring people in your life. It is amazing how powerful having positive supports in your life can be for you. People you like who also like you.

Feeling part of a positive group of friends can help us feel more motivated, happier, and even feel a deeper sense of meaning. Self-esteem grows naturally when you have close friendships because you find that other people like you and share with you - and yes, that feels good, right?

I hope you were able to take something away from this. Oh yeah, I promised you a picture. I'll include that below!

Mike

The purpose of this blog entry is to share eating disorder recovery related ideas and does not represent professional medical of psychological advice from Mike Thomas or Recovery Spark. For professional advice, please connect with a qualified medical or mental health professional.

Photo courtesy of @thepacman82 on Instagram

Photo courtesy of @thepacman82 on Instagram

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