I’ve compared myself to others since I was six years old.
I remember sitting at my desk in the first-grade classroom, eyeing the girl in her Brownie uniform and wishing I could be as cute as she was.
In high school and college, I compared myself to the other cheerleaders, the smartest girl in school, our class president.
With the advent of social media as a young mom, my comparison complex became worse than ever.
I felt I could never measure up to the other moms who had the perfectly behaved kids, the coordinated outfits, and the down-to-the-minute nap time and bedtime schedules.
I wasn’t only comparing myself to those in my direct social circle anymore, but moms all over the world that I saw online.
As Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
By the time I was 35, I was tired of robbing myself. It was time to STOP playing the comparison game.
One of the most important things I did to overcome my comparison complex was to start practicing gratitude.
Here’s how it worked:
First, I made a written list of all the things I had to be grateful for. When I started to feel like less, I’d pull out my list and read it over and over again.
Second, when I felt myself starting down the mental path of comparison, I make a mental gratitude list. Walking through the store, I’d recite at least ten things that I had to be thankful for.
Third, I started a daily gratitude practice. Every morning, I write down five things to be thankful for that happened the day before. Focusing daily on what I have (instead of on what I don’t have) primes my mind to find things to be grateful for instead of envious about.
Now, five years later, I’m so thankful for the freedom I have to live full-out, unafraid of failing at the comparison game. Thanks to gratitude, it’s not even a game I play.