You do you, I’ll do me

by Khushboo on November 14, 2011

The Comparison Trap (n):  A vicious and unrealistic cycle in which we compare ourselves with others and let our self-esteem inflate or deflate according to the results of the comparison.

I think each one of us has fallen prey to this trap at least once in the past.   It’s a natural instinct which can arise in almost any area of life:

  • Physical appearance
  • Fitness levels
  • Bank balance
  • Clothes
  • Jobs
  • Marriages

…The potential comparisons are endless!  It can start of as a healthy admiration but quickly turns into something dangerous.  We view something someone else has or does as better and end up feeling insecure and disappointed with who we are.

I haven’t really talked it about much on my blog but for the longest time I fostered an unhealthy mindset with food and exercise: it was a constant goal to eat less and exercise more.  Although my scales & clothes told me I was losing weight, I never felt truly content with my size.  I’d see celebrities with rock hard abs, friends who effortlessly have bangin’ bodies and this would only fuel my dissatisfaction with the reflection I saw in the mirror.  Rather than be proud of how far I’ve come, I’d still feel inadequate with my efforts.  It was an ongoing and mentally-exhausting cycle.

Although I do occasionally feel the negative twinge, I tend to be much more positive in my outlook now.  It’s all too easy to forget that we each have our flaws: focusing on one trait, skill, or characteristic does not take a balanced view of the other person’s total “package” into account: Just because someone is a size 0, are they truly happy in other aspects in life?  For example, I see a few ladies at the gym whose figure I would kill to have.  Rather than let it get me down, I use it as motivation to work harder.  I’m in and out of the gym within an hour; for all I know she could be busting her ass there for hours on end. 

Also I think it’s important to accept that you cannot win: whether it’s a friend, family member, colleague, celebrity, or whoever: there will always be someone smaller than you…faster, financially better off, more popular, and more succesful than you.  Instead compare yourself to yourself: you are your own benchmark.  I might not ever look like Ms. Alba but I  look a hell of a lot better than 4 years ago.  Rather than use comparisons as a means to validate or tear yourself down, allow them to inspire and impress you.  At the end of the day, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

How do you avoid falling into the “comparison trap”?

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

kalyani November 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm

i am facing this exact problem now…that i am not good enough,not beautiful enough..its exhausting..reading this kind of made me think again…please continue this topic

P.S:i am new to this blog and i really loved it:)

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Thanks and I have no doubt that you are better and more beautiful than you give yourself credit for :) !

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Alexandra November 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Amazing post! I too get caught up in the comparisons game sometimes. But ya know, our own little unique qualities make us who we are and make us awesome :)
BTW, you look SO much more beautiful than Jessica Alba ;)

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Anddd you’ve just won the award for ‘comment of the year’ ;) !

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset November 15, 2011 at 12:01 am

Fabulous post… seriously! I compare all of the darn time… and its’ so so bad. I know not to do it, but I can’t help it! I know this is a reason for a lot of my eating issues too :( Thank you for making me think more about this!

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I think we’re all guilty about making comparisons but at least we are aware of it and can hence change our mindset :)

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balancingtherainbow November 15, 2011 at 12:12 am

Agreed!
Love yourself everyone! It is the first step in being able to really love and appreciate those around you. Everyone deserves to be loved, to be understood and accepted. :)

I enjoyed Oprah’s explanation recently. She described life as an endurance race, let’s say, a triathlon. How silly does it seem to be when you imagine during that run, exhausting energy on turning around to see where all of the competitors are in comparison to you? I found the image to be entertaining.

- C

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I love Oprah! Thanks for sharing that metaphor…it’s so true and really puts things into perspective!

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forgottenbeast November 15, 2011 at 1:06 am

Such a good topic to think about! It is so hard to judge yourself based on, well, yourself. I don’t think there’s an easy solution, but I think starting with recognizing that you are doing it is a good start.

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Agreed!

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Alexia @ NamasteYoga November 15, 2011 at 1:33 am

dont we constantly compare ourselves with others? the solution is to start loving yourself and thats a long and hard way to get to.. at least for me. great post!

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

“start loving yourself”–> amen!

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Tracy's Treats November 15, 2011 at 3:25 am

Amen sista! I used to struggle with this when I was younger, but I guess with time I’ve learned that there is really nothing productive about comparing yourself to others. It’s much better to let others inspire you and embrace what you’ve got!

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Shake whatcha mamma gave ya, right! :D

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Errign November 15, 2011 at 4:18 am

I think I do a pretty decent job not falling into the comparison trap, but it happens to the best of us at times.

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) November 15, 2011 at 4:35 am

You make a great point at the end, you really can’t win! Despite all I’ve been through, I still have moments where I criticize myself too, so it’s nice to be able to step back and gain some perspective.

Whenever I get down on myself I think about how far I’ve come from where I used to be and how much happier I am now.

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm

The past is always a great benchmark and reminder to ot let those thoughts invade you! True story!

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Tara November 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

I think it’s natural for humans to compare themselves, whether they see themselves as better or worse off than someone else. It’s so much better to just accept people and ourselves the way we are! Everyone has something great and unique about them, and everyone has flaws. It’s so easy to forget that and practically crush ourselves trying to achieve it all! I’ve fallen into the trap before but I find that the more comfortable I’ve gotten with who I am, my body, and my life in general, the less I compare!

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm

It’s so easy to pinpoint and criticise our flaws but it is these which make us unique and the person we are today!

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Shelly @ Cake is a Food Group November 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

Wonderful post! Something I really need to remember since I seem to always be falling into the comparison trap!

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Thank you :) !

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com November 15, 2011 at 11:08 am

Many live in their “fantasy” world – if that is the case, then they would often fall into “comparison trap”. In reality, there is no such trap. Only your beautiful self, with loads of confidence :)

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Agreed- we all live in a bubble to some extent..nothing a bit of self-lovin’ can’t fix!

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jojo November 15, 2011 at 11:39 am

Great post. It is too easy to catch yourself doing the comparison game!
But then you never know what the other person(that you are comparing yourself to) is going through either. I hear that beautiful women tend to be less secure. You are who you are, and you can better yourself without trying to be somebody else.

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm

“you never know what the other person(that you are comparing yourself to) is going through either”—> thanks for pointing that out; it’s all too easy to focus on just one asset!

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runningismagical November 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm

It’s a daily struggle for most women. That notion that we always want what we can’t have is always true on some level. I just try to remember that there is a high possibility that there is something that you have that they would kill for too!

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Grass is always greener on the other side!

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goodformegirl November 16, 2011 at 7:02 am

“accept that you cannot win”–so true!

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Khushboo Thadani November 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

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