When someone else achieves something, do you feel happy for them, or do you feel unhappy about yourself?
It’s all too common to feel disappointed when someone else achieves what we want. Envy is a universal human emotion, and we’ve all experienced the feeling — a combination of jealousy and appreciation for people who are successful in ways we wish we were.
Here’s a common scenario: You’re at work. You’ve been hustling, grinding, and trying everything in your power to get noticed, get credit, and move up in the world. But, somehow, this always seems to be in vain. Your colleague — the one with the nice car and beautiful shoes — lands the promotion you’d been working for. Your coworkers celebrate for her, while you look over with a little green monster stirring inside you with raging envy. And it doesn’t feel good.
We’ve all heard the quote from Teddy Roosevelt that “Comparison is the thief of joy,” but he was really onto something when he said it.
Social Comparison is a psychological theory that basically describes what Roosevelt said in the context of our everyday lives. By comparing themselves to others, people determine their self-worth relative to the success, happiness, wealth — you name it — of the people around them, rather than focusing on themselves and all the good in their lives. It can have extremely detrimental effects on mental health, feelings of self-worth, productivity, and more.
So how do you avoid falling prey to social comparison? It’s simple: To prevent yourself from getting knocked down by external forces around you, you need to build a strong enough internal foundation to withstand it.
It’s easier said than done, but you have to feel comfortable and secure in yourself because, at the end of the day, if you don’t feel comfortable and secure, you can’t possibly feel any sort of joy for other people and their successes.
So how do you build a solid foundation of self-confidence, self-love, and self-worth? You work on yourself.
We want to break the cycle of negative social comparison at DotConnect, and that starts by celebrating your team members. Comparison is an issue that affects everyone — regardless of gender identity — but it’s especially challenging for women.
For the longest time, women have had to hustle to get the same opportunities as their male counterparts, we want to help promote a work environment where women can celebrate each other’s successes and work together towards a more equitable work environment.
So, without further ado, let’s look at three simple but powerful daily practices you can implement to boost your self-confidence and halt social comparison.
#1. Cultivate Gratitude
The first exercise is designed to help you focus on all the wonderful things you DO have in life, rather than focusing on what you DON’T.
Taking stock of the things, tangible and intangible, that you have in your corner will help you begin to love what you have, instead of dwelling on what you lack. Though the grass may look greener on someone else’s lawn, this practice will help you start to tend your own.
Our founder, Dom Farnan, has a daily gratitude practice that centers her mind and her heart at the start of every day:
In the morning, take fifteen minutes or so to write down three things in your life that you’re grateful for. This could be anything at all, from people to places, to things, to ideas. You can give thanks for experiences that happened, words someone spoke to you, or changes that you noticed. There are no rules here! If it brings you joy, write it down.
Sometimes, it’s the simple joys of life that make our lists. These daily blessings make up the most of your life experience, so why wait for something huge like a promotion to be grateful? When you take stock of what you have, big and small, you come to realize how much you really have.
So what does a gratitude list look like? Here’s an example:
- I listened to Adele today and remembered how much I love singing.
- My best friend texted me today with an old photo of us. I’m grateful we’re friends!
- Went to the farmer’s market and there’s so much good produce now that it’s spring!
As you get into the gratitude habit, observe the patterns in your responses as you continue this practice day after day. Do you list more material goods, or do you list more people? Is there something that shows up over and over again? What about things in your life that don’t make the list?
Taking stock of what you’re grateful for, and recognizing the patterns of things that show up time and time again, will help you stay grounded and secure in all the good you currently have in your life.
And, by doing this, you’ll open yourself up to an abundance mindset while also freeing some space for you to feel joy when good things happen to others.
#2. Control the Content You Consume
Doom scrolling. We’ve all been there. You open Instagram to check a notification, and 40 minutes later, you’re still flipping through an endless stream of photos and content.
But have you given any thought to the type of content you’re consuming? Or, more importantly, how has that content impacted your mental health?
Social media is a wonderful place to connect with people, especially during times of disconnection or isolation. However, social media can have detrimental effects on your mental health and happiness and can easily make you fall into the trap of self-sabotage and comparison.
Our tip for this, which may seem obvious on the surface, is often overlooked: If someone you follow is draining you, hit unfollow and don’t look back. If someone is putting out toxic content or messaging that’s making you feel even an ounce of self-doubt, cut them out. That’s the bottom line.
Keep your feed full of people who inspire you and motivate you to be a better person, and keep out anyone or anything that doesn’t. You don’t need that negativity in your life.
Similarly, if you keep getting triggered by social media friends because they seem to have an ideal life, you can unfollow them too. Just because you know that the way people present themselves online isn’t the full picture, their posts can still press your buttons.
By putting more intention into the content you consume, social media can start to become a much healthier place. You’ll avoid running into anything that triggers self-sabotage, and you’ll keep a clearer headspace overall. And, with a clearer headspace, you’ll be able to hold space for other people and their successes too.
At the end of the day, social media should add something positive to your life.
#3. Counter Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
Many of us run into the problem that we are so focused on everything wrong with us.
We dwell on mistakes we’ve made, personality traits we loathe, physical features we wish would disappear… you name it. These beliefs limit us, our growth, and our capacity for self-love and self-worth.
When was the last time you complimented yourself? Or spoke to yourself kindly?
Try this great exercise — another one of our founder’s favorites. It’ll help you mitigate self-sabotage by holding space for positive thoughts instead.
Identify Self-Limiting Beliefs
First, write down any self-limiting beliefs, fears, constraints or saboteurs that are on your mind. It can be anything that causes you any sort of hesitation, insecurity, or self-doubt.
Here are some common limiting beliefs:
- I’m not really qualified for this position.
- It’s too late to pursue my dreams.
- If I get what I want, I won’t be able to handle it.
- I’m not good enough for _____.
Past experiences can create limiting beliefs, which continue to fuel similar circumstances until we break free from that conditioning. We also pick them up from the people around us, such as teachers, parents, or our peers.
Flip Self-Limiting Beliefs
Once you’ve identified the beliefs, you need to become your own coach. How many negative things are on your list? For each one, go back and counteract it with something positive.
- I’m not really qualified for this position — I have unique talents and abilities. My employer chose to hire me for a reason. I have overcome challenges before, and I can do so again.
- It’s too late to pursue my dreams — Pursuing my dreams is always a worthy task. I now choose to prioritize my dreams. I am free from self-judgment and the judgment of others.
- If I get what I want, I won’t be able to handle it — I am growing and learning from past mistakes. I am free from my past and now embrace new opportunities. I can handle success.
- I’m not good enough for _____ — I am worthy and deserving, just as I am.
You can also work with limiting beliefs by having a list of all your positive traits and referring to it regularly. Put it on a special sheet of paper and keep it in your wallet or on your desk. Don’t forget to ask friends and family what they think your positive traits are. You may be surprised!
These exercises are designed to help you break through some of the barriers preventing you from staying positive, whether that be in your professional life or in your own relationship with yourself. This will also help you start to focus on all the things you do well rather than the things you don’t.
Of course, we don’t mean that you should forget entirely about improving yourself, but you should allow yourself to think about the things you do well ! It will help you build more self-confidence and be more sure of yourself in the long run. Keep your own strengths and positive traits at the front of your mind and to position yourself in such a way that you can appreciate all the good in your life. When you feel confident and content in yourself and what you have going for you, you’ll have enough space to feel content with what others have going for them, too. Yes, it really is that simple.
Start giving yourself a little love so you’ll be able to spread it to others!
We Can Help You Find Work That Supports Your Well Being
Before we head out, we want to remind you that celebrating others and yourself is entirely possible!
We know it’s not the norm (and we’d like to change that!), but you can cultivate emotional resilience to withstand challenging emotions and triggers, whether you’re in the workplace, at home, or with your friends.
At DotConnect, we want to bring both humanity and a lightness of being to the workplace. We know that a positive attitude, feelings of joy, and an appreciation for life don’t just make work more fun; they can actually make you more successful!
We’re committed to helping companies and their teams thrive by making the recruitment process enjoyable and exciting. Our clients come to us because they want something much more than a recruiter — they’re looking for Talent Advisors who take the time and leverage their skills to create legendary teams.
If you’re a business ready to take the next step in growing your team, someone looking for a talent advisory company dedicated to your well-being, or a recruiter interested in joining our team, reach out to us. We have the tools you need to build connections and help you grow!