Ever heard of poker? I mean the female version of poker? Your friends and you are all around a table. One girl ‘throws down her cards’ saying she can’t believe she ate that huge candy bar today. The next girl ‘throws down her cards’ and says she can’t believe she ate a candy bar AND didn’t work out. The next girl proceeds to throw down her cards saying she ate a candy bar, didn’t workout AND fell flat first in front of her crush. You get this game? I think everyone knows they have been in this poker scenario where it is all about comparing yourself to the next while in the process tearing yourself down more. A terrible poker game if you ask me.
The comparison trap. It is there and thriving in most of us. Comparing for some can be physical, for others it can be achievement based, personality focused or socially relevant. No matter what – comparing finds a way to seep into our own actions, behaviors and thoughts. Comparisons tend to fly in when we are vulnerable, when we are in the middle of questioning our own actions or beliefs. That is why they can be so destructive. Comparisons know where to hit and seem to take over the stream of thought.
I wish I were immune to comparisons. I have always told myself this. Comparing yourself to others can be worked on but rarely disappear. When I read an article, a magazine or even a blog – these thoughts find my weak spots. X is doing this, X is doing that, X is eating this, X is on this diet, etc. For everyone, these triggers are different.
I remember when I introduced this new language, weaving the word ‘trigger’ to my family, they were confused. To me, this word was second nature. I knew moments or words that would set a negative thought or behavior off. In the realm of mental disorders, triggers can be a huge reason for relapse or moments of distress. They can be physical (swelling of a part of the body), by sight (seeing another ideal female body), by someone’s actions/behaviors (checking the calories on food) or words (you look healthy!). It is hard to know of every single trigger. We can usually identity groups of things but a lot of times triggers show up anywhere and can be very hard to identify and avoid in the given moment.
There is a difference though between having triggers and handling triggers. I used to have triggers all the time. My way to deal with it was to avoid them like the plague. For some time, this was helpful. There is a point that many people need to completely push these triggers out of their lives. But at a point, I realized in the process of avoiding them, I was cutting out some real fun moments of life. I had to be able to participate in life without fearing any trigger backlash. I did this and do this by creating simple mantras or phrases that take me out of that triggering moment, ground me and let me get on with life.
- You are only seeing a small sliver of their life. I know you all see those perfectly portioned meals, that message about that amount of exercise they did, their avoiding of that office cupcake. But that is one moment of their day. You don’t see the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of their day.
- Everybody works differently. We all grew up wanting to be different, stand out. So why as we get older do we want to be like everyone else? I know what works for my body does not work for others. Period. Our body has a beautiful ability to adapt to changes and what it needs. Everyone lives in their own ‘temple’ and that is something to not fight against. When we do, it ends up being a downward spiral that is far from working.
- This is not what I want out of life. I know it is difficult in the moment to always remember this but it is so true. I worked hard to nourish my body and mind, why would I want someone else’s unhealthy actions to influence what I have done so far? The poker game that females play with one another only drives each other into the ground. There is never a winner in that game, only a table full of depressed losers.
- What is important in the long run? Disorders and negative thoughts feed off of those short-term decisions. They live for that striking moment where all long-term goals go out the window. In the moment, I bring myself back to what I want in the long run –even if the long run is the next night or next day. Anything is better than obeying that split second unhealthy voice.
These are just some of mine- I often even use quotes to bring me back in the moment.
The holidays are coming so I know in a world of crazy cleanses, holiday countdowns and challenges – we all need this reminder. I hope you all empower yourself with your own mantras to further bring to light the negativity our culture tends to lean towards. Why change what isn’t broken, right?
Question: What is your mantra for comparisons?