In this episode of Fearless Rebelle Radio, it’s the fifth episode in the body image series and I’m talking about why we compare, why comparisons are one of the hardest things to overcome and 8 actions to take to help you stop comparing.
If you want to take things deeper, get the free worksheet – 6 Ways We’ve Been Conditioned to Compare.
In This Episode, I Chat About
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Episode #162: Body Image Series: Overcoming Comparisons
SUMMER: This episode of Fearless Rebelle Radio is brought to you by You on Fire. You on Fire is the amazing, 12-week online group coaching program that I run, where we build up your worth from the ground up, so that it’s no longer hinging on the way that you look. It’s got personalized coaching from me and incredible community support, plus life-time access. Get details on what’s included in this program, and sign up to be notified when doors open for the next cycle, by going to summerinnanen.com/youonfire. I would love to have you in that program and in that group.
INTRO: This is Fearless Rebelle Radio, a podcast about body positivity, self-worth, anti-dieting, and Feminism. I am your host, Summer Innanen, a professionally trained coach specialising in body image, self-worth, and confidence, and the best-selling author of Body Image Remix. If you’re ready to break free of societal standards and stop living behind the number on your scale, then you have come to the right place! Welcome to the show.
This is Episode 162 of Fearless Rebelle Radio, and it is episode #5 in the Body Image Series, and I’m talking about how to overcome comparisons, specifically I’m diving into why we compare, why comparisons are one of the hardest things to overcome, and eight actions you can take to help you stop comparing.
And if you want to take things deeper, I’ve created a free worksheet: “Six Ways We’ve Been Conditioned to Compare” and that is at summerinnanen.com/162, where you’ll find all the links and resources that are mentioned in this episode.
Before we begin, I want to give a shout-out to Netsees99 who left this awesome review: “Great series. Summer’s Body Image Series is just what I needed to tie my long work on Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating with the body I live in. She blends research, insight, and compassion and makes concepts relatable and easy to grasp.”
Thank you so much, I’m so glad that you are all enjoying this series so much. I’ve received a few, quite a few, pieces of feedback, just saying how much you’re enjoying it, and that’s really great. I’m so glad. I’ve enjoyed putting this together for you.
We’ve still got at least one more, if not two, TBD, episodes in this series, and then maybe I’ll do a part two in six months or a year or something. I don’t know, we’ll see!
If you haven’t already done so, please take a minute to leave a review. You can do that by heading to iTunes, search for Fearless Rebelle Radio, click “Ratings and Reviews,” and click to leave a review. You can give it a rating too, but if you leave a review, I will send you a free copy of my best-selling book Body Image Remix, and that will be in the audio version of the book.
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This week, we’re talking about comparisons and this is the fifth episode in the Body Image Series. And if you’re wondering what this Body Image Series is that I’m talking about, it has been the last few episodes, so Episode 161, 160, 159, and 158, where I’m talking about body image and self-worth, and unpacking various topics related to those things to help you feel better in your body and to believe that you are good enough.
And so today, we’re blowing up comparisons. And this is actually a reboot of an episode that I did several years ago. It was Episode 55. Please don’t go back and listen to it, because this one’s going to be way better. And it’s one of those ones that I go back and read and I’m like, “Errr…” I think I’ve just learned more since recording that one, and so this is going to be more valuable and more robust, and I wanted to reboot it and include it in this series, because this is one of the biggest concerns that people have.
Anytime I talk to clients or anytime I ask people about what they struggle with when it comes to their body image, it’s always comparing themselves to others. And so, I wanted to reboot that episode and revise it and add some more depth to it, to give you some tools and perspective on how to overcome it.
So let’s just talk about what it even means to compare. I think all of us do this. We’re scrolling through Instagram and we see a friend’s post, and maybe she looks amazing, which I like to say is really just checking all the boxes of society’s standards of beauty, when we say someone looks amazing.
And you feel that wave of shame, that kind of hot feeling of shame come over your body, and then the voice in your head comes in to remind you of all the ways that you are inadequate, and the rest of your day is spent feeling less than. It really can go like that. It can start to spiral, and then we just feel inadequate for the rest of the day, and we start picking ourselves apart, every aspect of ourselves.
Social media is one of the worst for that. And it just happens in real life all the time. Maybe you go to a party and you spend the entire time looking at everyone else, and pinpointing all the ways that you don’t measure up. You think to yourself, “Oh, she’s a better mom than me,” or “She’s doing so much better in her career or her relationship seems so much better than mine,” or “Everyone else was commenting on how much weight she’d lost, and I just felt like I wasn’t even being seen.”
Those things are so common and I wish I could tell you that that’s going to go away completely, but it is one of the hardest things to break, and I’m going to talk about why, in this episode.
But I find comparisons to be, as I said, one of the most common struggles that we have, and also one of the most difficult things to overcome. And so we’re going to specifically talk about why we compare, why it’s not your fault, so don’t beat yourself up for doing it, why comparisons are one of the hardest things to overcome, and eight actions to help you stop comparing yourself to others.
And as I mentioned, there is a free worksheet called “”Six Ways We’ve Been Conditioned to Compare” and this isn’t stuff that I’m mentioning in this episode, this is taking it deeper and it’s really looking at how we’ve been taught to value ourselves. Like, where we’ve been taught to look for our self-worth, and why those things really just contribute to this belief that we’re not good enough.
And sometimes, these things are kind of sneaky, and we’re not totally aware of them, and so that’s why I wanted to call them out, so that you can take a look at this and think to yourself, “Oh wow, I am thinking these things or doing these things, and that’s really contributing to me feeling less than.”
And so, it’s all about identifying these six expectations that we put on ourselves, and once you can identify them, then that’s when we have awareness, then we can learn to detach from them and realize how harmful that’s been to us and let them go.
So, you can get that at summerinnanen.com/162. And if you’re like “What is she talking about?” just download the thing, and it’ll make more sense.
I’m just teasing it, so I’m not giving you the details of what’s in it, but the context of what’s actually in it would make it make more sense. Anyways, I know that’s annoying. It’s like one of those Shark Tank previews that makes absolutely no sense, they’ve put all these clips together, and you’re like, “this is not how this show goes at all.” And that’s pretty much how I feel I just sold that to you. But I swear, it’ll make sense once you download it.
Okay, let’s talk about why we compare and why it’s not our fault. Comparisons happen to everyone. I don’t think there’s anyone that’s really immune to this, and I think that we all want to be immune to it, we all want to stop comparisons completely, but we all compare at some point in time.
And maybe it’s when we’re on social media, maybe it’s when we are out in public at the grocery store, or at the gym, or at our child’s school, or out with friends. Or even just in our imagination. Or we’re comparing ourselves to our old selves, like, we’re thinking to ourselves, “Gosh, I really wish I looked like I did ten years ago, or twenty years ago.”
And it’s happening all the time, I think. Some of us were just doing it all day long, or we check our phone first thing in the morning, and then we go down into this spiral of comparisons and the world we live in can be a self-image beat-down, because of all of these images and messages that we’re receiving about who we should be.
And it’s not just our bodies, you know. I talked about this in one of the previous Body Image Series episodes. It’s everything. We have these expectations about how we should be as a parent, how we should be in terms of our career, where we should be at in terms of our relationship, what we’re eating, how we’re moving our bodies, how we decorate our houses. So we’re comparing ourselves in all these different areas of our lives.
One of the things that I notice in being a parent now, you start to compare where your child’s at, compared to another child in terms of their developmental milestones. And I’m like, what? No! That’s just the worst! That’s just a huge recipe for then teaching our children that they’re not good enough, or having our self-worth tied to our child’s development. And it’s like, ahh! But I think that’s super common too.
But anyways, all of this stems from the way that we’ve been conditioned to evaluate ourselves. We’ve been conditioned to go out into the world and look at everything and think, “How do I measure up?”
And the reason that is, comes from this larger cultural perspective, and the fact that we’ve been given this script on who the ideal woman is. And I mentioned this before, but it’s like, this notion of the perfect woman. And so, we’re going out there and we have this sort of script on who that perfect woman is, and we’re thinking, okay, we have to check off all these boxes. We have to fit into this box of who that is, in order to measure up. And so we’re constantly measuring ourselves up against that ideal of perfection.
And so it’s not a personal defect that you compare yourself to others. When I asked some of you on Instagram (well, I asked all of you on Instagram. You should all be following me on Instagram) but I asked my Instagram followers: what do you struggle with most, when it comes to comparisons?
And one of the themes that I picked up on was just beating yourselves up for why you do this, and just sort of feeling like, “why do I do this? I’m trying not to do this, and it’s so frustrating.”
And so I think it’s really important to acknowledge that it’s not your fault, it’s not a personal defect, that you compare. It’s really because we’ve been born into it. Everywhere we go, we’re told that we should be something else, that we need less wrinkles, smaller waist, fuller hair, stronger nails, cleaner houses, and it’s this constant barrage of: how do I measure up?
We’re always too much and we’re never enough. And we’re always told, “Here’s what you need to do to be better.” So it’s no wonder that our default way of thinking is to be constantly self-evaluating. And the only reason that we do that is becuse of these ideals, and these ideals exist, to just get a little Feminist here, becuase of the patriarchial and capitalist society that we live in that’s fatphobic and racist and ageist and everything else.
If you imagine this world where all bodies are respected, and all bodies are affirmed, as Be Nourished says, I love the way of framing it up like that. A world where you’re not told that your purpose is to be desirable, where your purpose is to just be who you are. These things wouldn’t exist. How do I measure up? would become irrelevant. And so it’s so important to acknowledge that it’s really driven by the culture that we live in, and that without these standards, we wouldn’t be thinking there was anything wrong with us.
And I always go back to this example, and this is the same example I used when I recorded this podcast, I don’t even know, maybe it was 2017 or 2016, I can’t remember, the first time. But I always go back to this example: I saw this TV ad for tooth-whitening strips, and this woman was saying that she was too embarrassed to be in a photo because of her teeth, and I just remember thinking… what? Now it’s our teeth? And I know that this has been a common thing for years now, but back then, when I first saw this, I was like, now it’s our teeth.. Now our teeth aren’t good enough.
Back in the day, teeth didn’t have to glow like a lunar eclipse. That was never a mainstream expectation or problem. It wasn’t until Proctor & Gamble made it a problem to sell us a solution, that we became self-conscious of how unbleached our teeth are.
And so, that just gives a little more perspective. None of this stuff existed way way way way back in the cave man days and everything else. This is all stuff that has come in to make us spend money, take our power away, take our time away, take our energy away, so that we’re constantly investing our resources into trying to measure up and trying to fit this ideal.
Okay, let’s talk about why comparisons are so difficult to overcome. I’ve already alluded to this, but the main reason is because it’s all rooted in this belief that we’re not good enough, and this need to belong. And let’s talk about this need to belong, because it’s really important to understand.
Our need to belong is rooted in our evolution. So being rejected from our social group would’ve meant losing our ability to survive, and this was especially true for women. Our survival was dependent on being desirable. And so, as a result, our brains have evolved to give us a hint when we’re at risk for being socially rejected, by making us experience pain. And that’s the same pain that you feel when you compare yourself to somebody else who checks off all the boxes of society’s standards and you feel you don’t measure up.
So we are biologically wired to want to fit in, and want to belong. And that makes sense. It’s safe, it’s protective. We’re wired to avoid the pain of rejection. So the obvious way that we try to avoid the pain of rejection, and try to fit in, is by trying to live up to these standards that have been placed on us.
And it is in our DNA to be that way. And so that’s why it’s so difficult to overcome, and it’s not something that you can just fix overnight. Because we’ve been taught that if we’re desirable, which means if we’re thinner, if we’re younger, if we’re smarter, all these other things, then we’ll fit in, we’ll be desirable, we’ll be protected, and honestly, the reality is that sometimes we are protected from stigma when we are these things. That is the reality.
But that doesn’t mean we need to participate in it. That doesn’t mean we need to buy into it. Because all that does is lead to a disconnect between who we really are, and who we think we should be. And it’s always going to leave us with that hole of never feeling good enough.
So even if we do get thinner, we get more compliments, maybe we do become “more desirable,” we’re still not going to feel good enough unless we get to the root of this, which is starting to change the beliefs we have about ourselves. Accepting ourselves unconditionally, no matter what size we are.
And so that’s the root of it, believing that we’re not good enough. If we believed that we were good enough, then we would see someone and not have that comparison, not have that emotional attachment to the comparison.
So for example, it’s a big difference between, I’m guessing, you seeing someone who parallel parks better than you. You probably don’t compare yourself to that person and think, “Oh, man, what’s wrong with me? I just can’t parallel park like them.” Versus when you see someone who’s thinner than you, and you think, “What’s wrong with me? I’m inadequate” and all these things.
There’s that emotional attachment to the stuff that we’ve been taught to value ourselves on. We haven’t been taught to value ourselves based on our ability to parallel park, and therefore, we can compare ourselves to somebody else, but there’s no emotional attachment to it. Versus the emotional attachment that we have to something that’s really how we’re valuing ourselves
So the root of this is believing that we’re good enough,and detaching our worth from any of these external things that we’ve been taught to value ourselves on. You may need to rewind that and listen to that three times.
So our society has taught us that almost everything is good or bad about us, so we look at these things, and we attach meaning to them and a belief about ourselves to it. So for example, if I’m not productive enough, then I’m not good enough. If I don’t meet these standards of what it means to be a mother, then I’m not good enough. Etc., etc.
So it’s really important to question these things: who is telling me that I should care about these things? Where did this message come from? Who says that I need to be this way in order to be a good enough parent, or in order to be a good enough human being? Where does that message come from, and can I then challenge these things, rebel against it, and make my own set of rules– not rules, but, just value who I already am, and the things that truly bring me a sense of fulfillment in my life.
So, all that being said, believing that we’re good enough takes time, and it’s not a linear process. I go through ups and downs all the time. Sometimes in a day, sometimes over longer spans of time. This is why it’s one of the hardest things to change, and the last thing to really go away, or start to reduce, when we’re doing this work. Because it is really rooted in that belief that we’re not good enough.
But once we can work on believing that we’re good enough, and detach our self-worth from externally driven things, and accept ourselves unconditionally, it becomes so much easier to let those comparisons go and work through them. I really rarely compare my body to somebody else’s anymore. That happens like the odd time, and usually it’s because I’m just feeling inadequate in another area of my life.
Where I experience this more now, I would say, is related to, sometimes, motherhood and sometimes my career. Those are the areas where I would say it shows up for me more often right now, but not with my body. And that’s because I’ve really worked on detaching my sense of self-worth from my body, and I’m continually working on detaching it from these other expectations that have been put on me.
So, when I asked you on Instagram some of the things that you struggle with, one of you said: “How do I find the willpower not compare?” And one of you said: “I hate that I’m doing this. How do I stop?”
And my response to those things is, you have to go easy on yourself and understand why you do this. So that’s why I want to share why we do this. I’m going to give you some tactics to work through them, but understanding why we do this is really important and understanding that it’s really rooted in this belief that we’re not good enough, it’s hard-coded in our DNA to really want to belong, to want to fit in, that it’s going to take some time.
So work on it, invest time or whatever you want to do into actually working on building up your self-worth outside of people’s opinions and the scale and your body size and all that stuff. And don’t beat yourself up for it. Don’t beat yourself up for beating yourself up. Just go easy on yourself, cut yourself some slack, it’s okay that you feel this way. All of us feel this way. All of us do this. We’ve been conditioned to do this.
Okay, let’s go over eight ways to work through comparisons. And before I get into any of these, because I didn’t actually include this as a specific one, it’s a little different, but: make sure that you’re not following people on social media that make you feel inadequate or bad about yourself.
That seems obvious, but don’t. Just unfollow. Even if they’re friends. You need a break from seeing their stuff, just hide them for a bit, and hang out with them in real life, or talk to them via messenger, so you’re not seeing their pictures. It’s okay to do that to protect your mental health. So make sure that, that’s a subset. That’s point number zero. And now I’m going to go into eight other ways.
So, number one is just having awareness and curiosity about the beliefs that we have that are causing us to compare. So as I said, our need to compare and self-evaluate is tied to different beliefs that we have about ourselves. And all that’s really rooted from this belief that we’re not good enough, but there’s all these different branches of that belief, and that belief that we’re not good enough, just to remind you, is really a result of internalized oppression and our upbringing, so it’s not your fault that you feel this way. But from that root, there’s all these branches.
So for example, maybe it’s, “I’m not desirable. I’m an inadequate mother. I’m not smart enough. I’ll always be a failure.” All these different narratives that we have. So instead of letting the emotional response from a comparison, so I talked about that hot wave of shame that comes over us when we’re comparing and feeling inadequate, take a deep breath and be curious about why you’re feeling that way.
So those moments are going to shed light on the limiting beliefs that you have about yourself, and then once we have that, we can work on changing it. So just slow down. Witness your thoughts. Be curious about what you’re believing about yourself in that moment, and then you can start to question those beliefs.
One of the questions I got from you was: “what do I do if others are being complimented and I’m not?” And the specific example was: “my friends get asked for their ID and I don’t.”
I totally relate to that. I haven’t been asked for my ID in a long, long, long, long, over ten years time. And some of my friends still get ID’d. And so, I think it’s in that moment, again, what are you believing about yourself? What is it that you’ve been taught to believe about yourself that’s making you believe this about yourself?
So just be curious about that. And once you have that information, then you can work on changing it.
Number two is to identify the story. Identify your assumptions, the assumptions that you’re making and the story that you’re coming up with as it relates to the person that you’re comparing yourself to. So what I mean by that is, when we’re comparing, our brain is often filling in all these gaps and blanks about this other person, and creating this story about them that is driven by what we’ve been taught about social currency, and what it means to meet society’s standards. .
So let’s say that you see someone who checks off all the boxes of what it means to be desirable in our society, and you might think to yourself, “Their life is perfect. Everyone loves them. They’re successful. They’re admired. They must be having bowel movements of rainbows and roses, because there is clearly nothing shitty in their life.”
Our brain creates this elaborate story of perfection about them, because that’s what we’ve been told. That’s what we’ve been taught: if you have these things, then everything’s going to be so perfect. And this is especially hard in the age of social media, where we’re seeing a nanosecond of someone’s life, and our mind is filling in all of these blanks with this story of how amazing their life must be.
And so I think it’s really important to call bullshit on your assumptions, and just think to yourself, “What am I assuming right now about this other person? What am I assuming about their life?”
And remind yourself, or let me remind you, that no one has a perfect life. Everyone has suffering of some kind. Everyone has difficult emotions. We have no idea what’s going on inside their mind, inside their life. And so, be really really aware of the blanks that your brain is filling in, and don’t be afraid to call bullshit on them.
So a question that I got from you was: “How do I stop comparing myself to my old body? Before I had kids, when I was thinner.” And so, first of all, I would say, check out last week’s episode, Episode 161: Detaching from the Thin Ideal, because that goes into a bit of that as well. But also, use this tactic and use the tactic that I just mentioned before that, so, being curious about what you’re believing about yourself in that moment, and be curious with the story that you’re filling in around what you used to look like.
If I look at myself from 10 years ago, that’s the thinnest that I was ever in my life. And I can look at that body, and I don’t compare myself to it now because I’m so aware of what was going on in my life at that time. I was literally filling in a spreadsheet every day with the food that I was going to eat. And spending so much time fitting in workouts and talking about my body and my diet, and cutting out all these foods, and it was my life, and it was not a life. There was no real purpose or meaning to it. And so, yes, maybe I was thinner, although could never sustain it anyways. But that was not where I wanted to be, and my life is so much more fulfilling now. I feel so much better about myself.
And so, maybe your life was better when you were thinner. And that is something then, you’ve got to challenge the beliefs that you have about what it means to be in a smaller body. And that actually brings me to my next point, so that was an awesome segue.
But I think it’s really common to compare ourselves to our old bodies, and I think we’ve got to remind ourselves of the whole picture, and what we’re believing about ourselves, and then, number three, use that as an opportunity to then challenge how we’ve internalized fatphobia. So, what we’re believing about what it means to be in a larger body. So, anytime that we’re comparing, and especially when it’s related to bodies, we can use that as a chance to uncover fatphobic beliefs that we want to then challenge.
So for example, if we see someone who’s thin, and we assume, “Well, they must be healthier, or they must be fitter than me. Or they must have better relationships.” We can use that to then uncover the beliefs we have about what it means to be in a thin or larger body.
And that’s really useful information, because then we can start to change that narrative and challenge those beliefs. We’ve all internalized fatphobia in different ways, and it’s important to uncover how we’ve internalized it, in order to change that. So, are you assuming that they’re healthier? Okay, let’s challenge that belief. Are you assuming that they’re fitter? Let’s challenge what it means to be in a body and what it means to be fit. And there’s lots of different ways that we can do that. But we have to challenge the things that we’ve learned about what it means to be in a thin body, what it means to be in a larger body.
And so one of the questions from you was: “What about comparing myself to others who have successfully lost weight?” And I’m going to put “successfully” in quotation marks, because a lot of people lose weight ,everyone can lose weight in the short term, for the most part, except once your body’s completely beat down from dieting, but the vast majority are going to gain that weight back.
And I don’t say this to then put the other person down, but I think it’s important to remind yourself that if they did lose weight in the long term, they’re in a really small minority. Maybe they have to maintain disordered eating habits to do that. But in all likelihood, they’re maybe going to gain that weight back, and be in the same spot that they were before. So I think this is going to jump ahead to one of the other points, but I’m going to talk about the Amy Pohler quote: “Good for her, not for me.”
I think we can use that here, too. It’s like, “Okay, so they have. I know for me, I can’t do that. My body, this is where my body wants to be. This is where my body’s at. And there is no way I’m going back to counting cherry tomatoes. And even if I did, I’d gain that weight back, because I played that game for decades, and I could never win. And I know it doesn’t work.”
So, really invest some time in learning about the research about weight loss and all that stuff too, to solidify those beliefs in your mind. That’s my answer to that question. I don’t need to elaborate on it anymore.
Okay, next point, number four, is to avoid comparing down. And so, we’re talking about comparing ourselves and feeling bad about ourselves, but it can work the other way, too. I think we’re all guilty of comparing down, where we look at someone else and we feel a sense of superiority. So maybe we have a better relationship, or we’re more successful in our career. And it can play out in our mind like, “Well, at least I’m better than Karen.” Poor Karen! She gets such a beating.
In other words, we’re temporarily soothing our ego. Or, our ego is temporarily soothing itself. And so, in the freebie for this episode, I mention that having this expectation of wanting to be the best is really a sneaky way that that belief that we’re not good enough plays out and manifests. And so, we never want to try to be better than someone else. We just want to be the best version of ourselves.
And so, if you notice yourself comparing down, in the same way that you compare up, so to speak, be curious with what you’re believing about yourself, because that’s usually coming from that same place of inadequacy. It’s another manifestation of self-evaluations gone awry, and it can provide us with information on a limiting belief that we have, or where we’re seeking validation to feel a sense of worth.
Okay, number five is accepting that you’re average. And I know that sounds a little harsh, but what I mean by that is, a common theme that I’ve seen is this need to be exceptional, and that if we’re not exceptional, or we’re not the best, then we’re not good enough. We’re lousy, we’re pieces of shit, essentially. And it’s really important to know that you are not the best. No one is the best.
And I say that in jest, with the truth attached to it. But there’s always going to be someone more successful, fitter, more beautiful, younger, smarter than us. So learning to be cool with the fact that we’re not the best, that we’re just us, and we can be the best version of ourselves, is critical to really being comfortable with who we are.
And learning to be cool with the fact that we have parts of ourselves that are good, parts of ourselves that are not so great, and parts of ourselves that we’re kind of neutral about, and that’s what makes us a whole, amazing human being, is going to help you overcome that need to be the best or beat yourself up because you’re not the smartest, or the youngest, or the thinnest, or all these other things.
Otherwise, we get stuck in this pattern of “I’ll be happy when…” Like, “I’ll be happy when I’m thinner.” And if we reach that milestone, we’re still not going to feel good enough, if it’s coming from this place of wanting to be exceptional, so to speak.
And there’s nothing wrong with believing that you are exceptional, because I think that you can believe that you are exceptional if you accept that you’re made up of parts of yourself that are not so great, pretty good, and kind of neutral.
So, I hope that makes sense. But in other words, I kind of say it to be in a funny way, just like, we’re all just kind of average. We all really are. And we’re all amazing in our own way, and we’re all average, too. And so, if we can accept that, and let go of this need to constantly be trying to be better, that’s coming from a place of inadequacy, then it’s going to be a lot easier to not compare yourself to others. Like, to be able to see someone who’s thinner than you, and be like, “Yeah, that’s them. This is me. And I’m good.”
And that kind of leads to the next point, number six, which is: own your weird. Or as Amy Pohler says, “Good for her, not for me.” Make that your mantra. The more that we can celebrate our own individuality and other people’s individuality, the less that we’ll feel like we’re not measuring up.
So, every moment that we spend comparing ourselves to another person is a moment taken away from really focusing on living our lives. And again, this is not to beat you up for comparing yourselves to others, but it’s really a call for you to keep your eyes on your own self-improvement and find appreciation in what you have right now.
And so a question that I got was: “how do I focus on the activity that I’m doing when I keep looking at the other people around me, or comparing myself to the other people around me?” And I hear this all the time, especially from people who are going to a gym, where there’s mirrors or a spin class or something like that.
And so, keep your literal eyes on you too. And just think to yourself, “Good for them, not for me.” I know the Amy Pohler quote is “Good for her, not for me,” but let’s make it kind of gender-neutral. It’s “Good for them, not for me.”
Keep doing you and just really focus on what you can appreciate about what you’re doing right now. And I mean that both in your head, and literally with your eyes. Just divert your eyes back to you. And I think that once you do that, you can just own who you are and be who you are, and it makes it easier to stop looking at the other people and thinking, “Do I measure up?”
Okay, so number seven is: unfollow people in real life who make you feel inadequate. So, sometimes we’re socializing with other people who make us feel lousy, and who are always trying to one-up us and bring us down. And so, if your current social network includes people like this, you might want to spend less time with them.
And this, again, is especially true on social media. But spend time with people who love you unconditionally and are not on a quest to prove that they’re better than you or make you feel inadequate. The people who we associate with and hang around with can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves.
So a question I got from you was: “What if you always feel inadequate around a friend, even though they don’t intentionally make you feel this way?”
So that’s a really interesting predicament. and the person specifically asked, “Should I spend less time with them?” And I don’t think that’s the case. I think if they’re not making you feel that way, then you can leverage some of the other tools here, so just being curious with what you’re believing, and start to focus on what you offer to the friendship. What does your friend value in you? And acknowledge that in yourself. And maybe try to get out of your head when you’re with them, by really focusing on the present moment. So, really focus on actively listening to what they’re saying, and asking questions about their life, and things like that.
And that’s again one of the harder things to overcome. I totally relate to that. I used to really feel inadequate around some of my friends because they’re always just in much smaller bodies than me, and it was something that I took time for me to work through, and now I just don’t even think about it. I’m like, Good for them. That’s them, this is me. This is my body. I’m awesome in this body.
Okay, number eight: compassion. Treat yourself with kindness and respect. All of these things are useless if we’re not working on being more compassionate with ourselves. And that is honestly the most important thing you can do, probably in life. And there are so many different ways that I teach people how to do this, but what I want you to take away from this is that, that takes time and you have to be intentional with it. You have to work on that. You have to work on changing the way that you speak to yourself and treat yourself.
This stuff is not just going to change for you without you putting in the effort to change it. So be intentional. Make sure that you are really working on this stuff.
And if you need help with that, let me know, I’ve got some programs that can help you with that. You on Fire is going to be starting again in April, so look for details on that. You can find more details about that at summerinnanen.com/youonfire. That is my three-month group coaching program, where we are unpacking all of this.
It’s really just a course in helping you detach your worth from all of the external measures, help you feel more neutral in your body, help you feel more confident in who you are, help you overcome comparisons, and help you know and believe that you are good enough. So if you are listening to this, and are like, “I want that support!” then get on the wait-list, because details are going to be coming out about that soon.
Anyways, that wraps up the how-to’s, but the compassion piece is huge, so definitely work on that. And as I said earlier,no longer experiencing comparisons is often one of the last things to dissipate on this journey. So take your time with it, and it never goes away completely, because we are not robots. We are human beings. We’re always going to have some negative thoughts, and that’s okay. It’s about accepting those, learning how to work through them, and living your life despite them. And getting to a point where they don’t send you into that spiral that you can’t get out of.
Okay, don’t forget to grab your free worksheet: “Six Ways We’ve Been Conditioned to Compare” to take things deeper. You can get that at summerinnanen.com/162. And let us hope that next time, my sinus congestion is gone for good! How long has it been? Six weeks now? Yeah, good times!
Thank you so much for listening, and all the links I mentioned in this episode are going to be in the show notes at summerinnanen.com/162. You can find that by clicking the info for this episode on the device that you’re listening to, and the link will be there in the description for the episode.
Thank you again so much for listening. Ooh, and other news! I’m making transcripts for these episodes! So, for the Body Image Series, you’ll be able to go back and find the transcripts. They are being done in order, so Episode 158, How to Feel Better in Your Body, that should be available by the time that this goes live, and some of the other ones will be coming up shortly after that. And I’ll send details out about that in my weekly emails and on social media. But I really wanted to solidify this when it’s down, I can’t do this for every episode yet, but I wanted to do it for the Body Image Series. And I’ve also done it for the episode Why Diets Don’t Work, because that’s one of the most important episodes I’ve recorded, I think.
Okay, thank you so much for listening today! I’ll talk to you soon. Rock on.
OUTRO: I’m Summer Innanen and I want to thank you for listening today. You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, @SummerInnanen. If you haven’t yet, go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe, rate, and review this show. I would be so grateful. Until next time, rock on!
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