This is an edited post originally written for CharlotteONE. You can read the original post here.
It’s another year, which means you are another year older and another lap in the race of life.
For some, that is an exciting statement. New jobs, adventures, relationships, and accomplishments await us in the next few months. We can’t wait to post our #goals to let our followers know where we’ve been and where we’re going.
But for the rest of us, that statement only brings one word to our minds: anxiety.
How can we possibly keep up with all the latest inspiring big goals our thumbs uncover as they scroll? We see five bedroom homes and luxury cars, first baby announcements, sparkling engagement rings and latest job promotions. In our minds, we get stuck worrying about our first condo, buying our own car insurance for the first time, or getting a third date... let alone having a first. We get sucked into a comparison game, and often it is a trap not easily freed from. Its as if we're runners on a track and can see all of our competitors going around the same loop. Are we behind by that much?
Our anxiety begins to take root, developing an unending waterfall of jealousy that lands in a pool of resentment.
And there we are. So not excited for another year of being left behind of everyone else. It’s painful. It’s frightening. And when pain and fear combine, usually anger and hate are the emotions we respond with. So how do we navigate this, and once we’ve realized we’re in the trap, how do we free ourselves from comparison?
1. Become aware of when you compare.
Admit to yourself when you compare and treat it like a bad habit you need to stop. Freeing yourself from comparison begins with realizing the harm that envy brings. Not only does it make us feel worse, but nothing good comes from it. It was once written, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” When you catch yourself becoming jealous as you scroll through your feed, that’s a good sign to put your phone down right in the moment. Pick up something more beneficial, like a book or new hobby.
2. Remember the memorable.
When we forget our past victories, it’s easy to lose hope for future ones. We can easily forget the unique perspectives we have that our journey has given us. Sure, we’ve made some mistakes, but we’ve also faced different battles than those around us which gives us an exclusive perspective. Use those exclusive perspectives as reminders that you’re on your own path.
3. Seek the unseen.
So many comparisons happen based off what is seen, yet the most valuable things in life are often unseen. Humility, patience, self-control, kindness, joy, faithfulness, and peace can often be left out of the spotlight but are the most beneficial in friendships and self image. Turn your focus away from society’s view of success and toward things the have proven to bring success.
4. Refresh with relationships.
In her book, Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown writes,
“Research shows that playing cards once a week or meeting friends every Wednesday night at Starbucks adds as many years to our lives as taking beta blockers or quitting a pack-a-day smoking habit.”
Friendships can make huge differences in your life, Surround yourself with people that truly care about you, not just your accomplishments. This might mean you need to find some new friendships in new places. So many of us are need of some refreshment in the relationship department. No, not the swipe right, swipe left kind, but the kind you call when you get some bad or good news. So how do we find those friendships?
One of the awesome things I get to spend time doing in my free time is serving as the co-chair of the board of a non-profit called CharlotteONE. The non-profit exists to help 20's & 30's get connected in their city. If you’re looking to find meaningful friendships in 2018 in Charlotte, here’s two ways to find new connections through CharlotteONE:
Check out our events page for our next gathering where you can get connected, make a difference, or find your purpose. We’re constantly providing new meet ups for you to make some new healthy connections and friendships. New to Charlotte? Check out “Hello-Charlotte” an event designed just for you to meet other people who recently moved to the Queen City.
Check out some of our church partners and give church a chance again. Charlotte is incredibly blessed with so many churches whose mission is to meet people right where they are and help them find real purpose in life. We’ve attended their services, met with their leaders and believe they are doing great things. Church is a great place to find meaningful community and remember we’re not alone.
While it may be another year, but you don't have to spend this year falling into the trap of comparison. Instead of looking around to see where the other runners are, focus on your race. Write these four steps down and put them somewhere you'll see often to remind yourself to be aware of when you compare. What's the easiest thing in your life to compare to others? Leave a comment below.