We all get caught in the comparison trap. It’s hard not to do. But, it is so important to just stop comparing yourself, your life and your journey to others. Especially if you are doing it in a negative way. Trust me, your self-confidence and mental and emotional health will thank you.

You see, all too often, comparing yourself to others means you hold yourself back. So, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else or you may have to work harder at it, but that doesn’t mean that everything is impossible for you. You’re not like them. You’re unique.

Everyone is on a different path and there are people who may appear better or worse off than you. Remember that’s just perception enhanced by social and mainstream media, the music industry and Hollywood to name a few. It’s no wonder we get caught up in the comparison game.  So, instead of comparing your path to those around you and what you see on television or your computer screen, try focusing on what you can do to turn your dreams into reality and into your best journey.

I know from personal experience how easy this sounds and how difficult it can be. Here are a few tips I use to keep me from sprinting out of the gate into the comparison game.

  1. Catch Yourself in the Act

This requires awareness and, in some situations, taking action. I’ll use social media as an example, because it’s a great one. If you find yourself feeling inferior every time you read posts from “that friend” (sometimes, it’s just really someone you connected with on FaceBook that you’ve never met) who is so perfect and has such a perfect life — all the time — then perhaps it’s time you unfollowed or unfriended him or her. If that person doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, it’s time to move on. I have unfollowed people who cause the negative emotions to rise up in me without looking back. Trust me, if you catch yourself in the act of comparing yourself to others and do something about it, you’ll be well on your way to being a stronger, more positive and more confident person.

  1. Put it in Perspective

I’m a strong believer in encouraging, inspiring, and motivating one another. And, I believe someone’s success story can totally inspire and motivate you. But, you have to remember that life is a journey, with good times and bad times. Your life journey is different from their life journey; and you’re also likely standing in a different place on that journey. So, comparing yourself to that person who is wildly successful in a business she started 8 or 10 years ago when you only started 2 years ago isn’t putting things in perspective. You don’t know what sacrifices she made, the hours she clocked or the failures she had. Let their work be a motivator to you, not competition. You can use it to identify goals you’d like to achieve. You can use their achievements as inspiration for your own life and goals. Your own journey.

  1. Be Grateful and Stay Positive

Negative thoughts go hand in hand with limiting beliefs. If you’re comparing yourself to someone else and you think you cannot do something that person is doing, then you most likely will not. In reality, it’s not because you can’t do it, it’s because you won’t even try because of the self-imposed limitations. Negative thoughts can lead to feeling like you have no options; that you’re stuck where you are. On the other hand, being grateful for who you are and the talent you have while staying positive can help you realize that you have the ability to put your unique talent to work in designing your life journey.

  1. Focus on You

Personal development, a commitment to lifelong learning and adopting new behaviors, habits and mindsets means you are constantly assessing and improving every area of your life. Working on creating the best version of yourself helps keep you out of the comparison game. You’re less likely to allow the opinions of others affect how you live or achieve your best life because you know you are already working to design and live that life. Focusing on yourself leaves less time to get preoccupied with what’s going on in the lives of others; less time for the comparison game. So, be sure to focus on you.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison isn’t only the thief of joy, it’s the thief of dreams.” Stay positive, believe in yourself and stay in your own lane! Be perfectly imperfect because no one is perfect and no one has a perfect life (regardless of what they say). Love the unique you and your unique journey.