All too often we compare ourselves to our imagined destinations. Focusing on where we have not yet gone and the things we have not yet accomplished, we constantly tend to sell ourselves short. Not seeing and acknowledging the things we have done, instead we fall into a pit of self loathing and negative self talk. Adopting this perspective we never feel good enough, therefore we don’t allow ourselves to flourish in all of our true potential.
Crazier than this, while we may not appreciate the victories of our own accomplishments, we see and appreciate in others what they simultaneously try to emulate in us. In the instant that we are sulking over not going to grad school while celebrating our close friend for doing so, someone else is admiring us for finishing college. At the same time that we are moping about never going to college, someone else is congratulating us for starting our own business. Seeing life in this way is a reminder that reasons to celebrate exist all around us, we just have to be open to seeing and receiving them for ourselves.
Such openness comes with a slight change in perspective. Studies have shown that although positive thoughts and experiences happen more often than negative ones, our minds and emotions tend to hold the negative experiences to a higher standard. Such thoughts isolate our attention on what we lack, ultimately defeating our thinking and discrediting past accomplishments. Disheartening as this may be, we can change this! We can choose to give more power to the positive. Though still feeling a certain sense of lack we can also bring forth feelings of appreciation and gratitude for where we are and what we have achieved.
A first step to changing this mindset can start with something as simple as taking a few moments out of everyday to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. Connecting with the sensations of victory and success for ourselves, we can better connect with appreciating what we have instead of focusing on what we lack. Life will always present us with something bigger and better because our minds can see anything as better and therefore crave what we do not have. A nicer house, a better paying job, or even a friend with better behaved kids can all appeal to our desires if we focus on this negatively. However, rather than fixating on these things, if we instead turn our attention to being thankful for our lives and the way they have developed, we then open ourselves up to revolutionary changes. By appreciating what we have, we are essentially clearing our space of negativity and are therefore making room to receive what we want. As we nourish ourselves during times of defeat, we learn how to hold our heads up high during much deserved times of success.
“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.”-Iyanla Vanzant