Leading life coach and author of Finding a Future That Fits shows you how to live an authentic life and stay true to yourself.
Sometimes we get swept up in comparisons (aka compare and despair). We look in from the outside at other's lives and we think.... she's thinner than me, she has longer hair than me, she has more sex than me or she earns way more than me.
Ever found yourself doing this?
In the age of social media we have 24-7 access to everyone else's "highlight reel", we get to see our friends' latest holiday photos to sunny Barbados, we get to see their new uber-cool state-of-the-art kitchen, we get to see their latest designer shoes and we even get to see what they've had for their dinner!
It's so easy to compare ourselves and then feel bad and judge ourselves about where we are based on what we see others doing. It's exhausting, discouraging and more over, if we're not careful, it makes us feel totally inadequate. It's a losing game however you look at it.
As a business women and mum of two, I too find myself falling into the compare and despair trap. Yes, I am human! I often find myself eyeing up someone's shiny new car or comparing my work to my competitors. We all get caught up to a certain extent. But what I've come to notice is this. The more I compare myself to others, whether that is in business or in my personal life, the more I lose touch with my true authentic self. I find myself veering off course trying to be someone I'm not, or trying to attain something that I don't even want!
Crazy when you think about it.
But the truth is, I'm a pretty self-aware kind of gal. I know who I am and I know what I stand for, yet, I can still find myself caught up thinking the grass is greener on the other side.
The more we compare our lives to others, the more we lose touch with ourselves, our passions, our interests and ultimately, our mission in life.
And in all honesty, no one lives a truly perfect life. Is there such a thing? We all have our trials and tribulations and it's about making the most of what we have and enjoying our life to the fullest.
There will always be a gap and it will never define you. There will always be more to achieve and more to buy. Will we ever arrive at perfect peace, with everything just as we want, with every boxed ticked and every ambition or goal met? Probably not.
So, stop, take a second to let my words resonate with you.
Back up your thoughts to where you are right now in your life, right at this very moment.
And ask yourself: What do I need right now and how can I give it to myself?
Here are three strategies to combat falling into the trap of compare and despair.
Redirect your attention
Catch those negative thoughts as they pop into your head. Heighten your awareness. The secret to manifesting change is to become aware! Feed your mind with positive messages. Have a social media amnesty, take a break from those friends that pull you down and start focusing on your own life for a change. What do you want to achieve this year, what's your biggest ambition and what action do you need to take to start moving towards this?
Donate your time or money
There is nothing like a reality check than to remember those less fortunate. Isn't it interesting that we never compare ourselves to someone who has less? Sometimes we can become a little too insular and even self-obsessed. Donate to charity, even if it's a pound to someone who is collecting in the street. Consider volunteering a few hours of your time each month to your local homeless shelter or cat rescue centre. See how good you feel when you've turned your focus towards helping somebody else.
My favourite phrase is 'Attitude of gratitude'. Start adopting a healthy mindset, appreciating everything in your life from the pen in your hand to the chair you're sitting on. There's an endless amount of things in your life to be grateful and thankful for. Consider keeping a gratitude journal and make a list each day of all the things you're grateful for. Statistics show that those that keep a gratitude journal are actually 25% happier than those that don't. It's a powerful habit to adopt.
Stop and breathe.
When you start to feel low, anxious or fearful, just stop and breathe deeply. As simple as it sounds your breath connects you back to your body and gets you out of your woeful thinking and restores your right mind. Breathe in and out a few times until you feel peaceful again. Make this a daily practice and watch the miracles unfold! It's an amazing tool for life.
Louise Presley-Turner is one of the UK's leading lifestyle experts and author of Finding a Future That Fits (Hay House 2012) Get your Life Evaluator now at www.thegameoflife.co.uk