The Dang Good Show

Breaking Free from Comparison: Finding Joy in Your Journey

February 16, 2024 Episode 16
The Dang Good Show
Breaking Free from Comparison: Finding Joy in Your Journey
The Dang Good Show
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Show Notes Transcript

Dive into an uplifting episode with C-DANG as she unravels the trap of comparison that plagues our mental well-being. Discover the transformative power of self-compassion, the celebration of personal milestones, and the art of savouring the present moment. This episode is an invitation to liberate yourself from the weight of societal expectations and bask in the light of your unique path, fostering a space of contentment and joy in your journey.


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Christine Dang (CD): Hey there, welcome back to The Dang Good Show! I’m CDANG, your host. Today, we’re tackling the topic  “Breaking Free from Comparison: Finding Joy in Our Journey.” It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing our lives with others, especially in our social media-driven world. But guess what? There’s a way out of this comparison trap, and it leads to a path of self-acceptance and joy. So, let’s chat about it, just like old friends over coffee. Ready to embark on this journey together? Let’s go!

[Segment 1: The Comparison Trap]

CD: First off, let’s understand what the comparison trap is. Psychologists tell us it’s when we measure our own worth based on how we stack up against others. But here’s the thing - it’s like running on a never-ending treadmill. A study by the University of Copenhagen found that many people experience envy, stress, and depression from following others’ lives on social media. 

Something we’ve all experienced – that post-scrolling feeling on social media. You know what I mean, right? Picture this: you’re scrolling through Instagram, and there it is, your friend’s post from an exotic vacation or maybe another friend just landed their dream job. I’ve been there, seeing those posts and feeling a bit down. It’s like this little twinge of jealousy creeps in, or you start questioning your own achievements. Ever felt that way? 

And it’s not just the one-off posts, is it? Sometimes, it feels like we’re constantly seeing people hitting these major life milestones. Like someone celebrating buying a new house or getting a big promotion and you can’t help but compare it to where you’re at. I could remember the last time something like that popped up on my feed, well more like I remember how it made me feel about your own journey at that moment.

It’s funny, in a way, how social media can turn into this endless highlight reel of others’ achievements, and here we are, left comparing our behind-the-scenes with their showreel. But let’s be real, we all have our paths, and those posts, they’re just snippets, not the whole story.

[Segment 2: The Effects of Comparison]

CD: Constantly comparing ourselves can really take a toll on our mental health. According to research from Stanford University, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and anxiety. And I couldn't agree more. 

Let’s take a moment to really think about how this whole comparison thing affects us in our everyday lives. Where you caught yourself comparing your life to someone else’s and then feeling, I don’t know, kind of not important? Like, there was this one-time many year ago,  I saw a friend’s post about their amazing new job, and I just started questioning my own career choices. It’s weird how we can let these comparisons make us feel like we’re not doing enough or that we’re not good enough, you know what I mean, jelly bean?

And it’s not just about feelings. Have you ever found yourself actually thinking about changing your plans or goals, just because they didn’t stack up to what others were doing? I did, a few times, I seriously considered changing my whole career path. Why? Just because it didn’t seem as glamorous or successful as what some of my friends were doing on social media. It’s like we’re constantly measuring our lives against someone else’s highlights and thinking we need to switch things up to keep up.

It’s crazy when you think about it – how much influence these comparisons have on our decisions, big and small. It’s all about stepping back and asking, ‘Am I doing this for me, or because I feel like I should keep up with everyone else?’

[Segment 3: Cultivating Self-Compassion]

CD: The antidote to comparison is self-compassion. It’s about treating ourselves with the same kindness and understanding that we would offer a good friend. Dr. Kristin Neff, a self-compassion researcher, highlights its importance for emotional well-being. 

Let’s dive into some real talk about self-compassion and how we can actually practice it in our lives. It's way easier said than done, but trust me, it's worth it.

Kicking off with the topic of self-compassion, let’s dive into the tough waters of being our own harshest critics. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That nagging voice inside tells us we should be doing more, achieving more, or simply being more than we currently are. Trust me, I’ve been down that road more times than I can count.

Take, for instance, the dreams that keep us up at night – dreams about what life could be if we weren’t shackled by our circumstances. Like myself grappling with the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident that left me with nerve damage. It’s moments like these, when we feel trapped by our limitations, that our quality of life seems to dim before our eyes. Whether it’s the physical hurdles that slow us down, or the mental barriers that keep us from reaching our full potential, these challenges can deeply impact our sense of well-being.

But here’s the twist: even in the midst of these trials, there’s a silver lining. It’s about flipping the script on self-judgment and embracing where we are, with all its imperfections and limitations. Because when we start to weave self-compassion into the fabric of our daily lives, the narrative begins to change. We learn to see beyond the constraints, to the boundless possibilities that lie within our grasp.

Think about the last time you beat yourself up over a mistake or something you felt wasn’t good enough. I said it earlier, and I'll say it again now, we're our own toughest critics. But what if, in those moments, we tried a bit of self-kindness instead of self-criticism? Like, imagine if you talked to yourself the way you’d talk to a good friend. It could change the whole game, don't you think? It definitely has for me.

And then there's this important reminder – everyone, and I mean everyone, has their own struggles. It’s so easy to look at someone we admire and think they've got it all together, especially with how things look on social media. But the truth is, they’ve got their challenges too, just like us. It's all about remembering that what we see on the outside isn't the whole story.

With that said, celebrating our own achievements needs to be a thing. How often have you achieved something, but then shrugged it off because it didn't seem as big or as flashy as what someone else has done? We all do it, but here’s the thing – every achievement, big or small, is worth celebrating. It's about giving ourselves credit where it's due and recognizing our own progress, without always comparing it to others.

[Segment 4: Embracing Your Unique Journey]”:

CD: Something I believe in strongly – is the uniqueness of our individual paths. Every single one of us is on a journey that’s uniquely ours, complete with its own set of twists and turns, a path that’s exclusively ours, peppered with unique moments, meaningful relationships, and personal traits that truly define us. Have you ever paused and really thought about what makes your journey special? What are those things in your life that you’re truly grateful for? Think about the aspects of your life that fill you with gratitude and pride, shaping your narrative in a way that’s entirely your own.

And here’s something I often ponder: how can we focus more on our own path, instead of getting sidetracked by what others are doing or saying?  It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing our choices with those around us. But think about a time when you made a decision that felt right for you, even if it was totally different from what everyone else was doing. Maybe it was choosing a career path, pursuing a hobby, or even a lifestyle choice.

For me, this meant embarking on a journey of physical rediscovery post-accident. Yoga and workouts became not just exercises, but lessons in patience and self-compassion. I had to embrace my body’s new limitations, learn to move in ways that wouldn’t inflame my condition, and celebrate every small victory on the mat. It was about trusting my body’s pace and learning to see strength in vulnerability.

This journey is yours, and how you perceive the world is your choice. Each obstacle is a hidden opportunity for growth – it’s about finding the light even on the cloudiest days. The struggle is definitely real, but I refuse to let it overshadow the vibrancy of life.

It takes courage to follow your own path, especially when it veers off the beaten track.

It’s about seeing our differences, owning our individuality, and daring to follow a road less travelled. Whenever you find yourself influenced by others’ paths, remember the singular adventure you’re on. Each decision you make is a stitch in the tapestry of your extraordinary life.

[Segment 5: Finding Joy in the Present]

CD: Embracing the here and now is a key ingredient to finding joy in our journey. It’s about grounding ourselves in the present and cultivating a deep sense of gratitude for what we have at this very moment. 

Let’s start with a little reflection: Can you name three things that you’re truly grateful for today? It could be anything – the people you love, achievements you’re proud of, or even those simple everyday pleasures. For me, it’s the little things like enjoying my favorite coffee, having a good laugh with a friend, or just taking a peaceful walk. It’s amazing how such simple experiences can fill our lives with happiness.

Now, imagine making a daily ritual out of recognizing these joys. During an ordinary day, what are those moments that bring a smile to your face or feel at peace? Maybe it’s the gentle warmth of sunlight on your skin, a song that lifts your spirits, or a moment of solitude. When we start paying attention to these small joys, it’s like we’re tuning into the beauty of our everyday lives.

Research supports this practice too. Studies, like those highlighted in Robert Emmons’ work on gratitude, show that maintaining a gratitude journal, where we regularly record things we’re thankful for, can significantly enhance our overall well-being and happiness. This simple act of noting down our blessings can shift our focus from what’s missing to the abundance that surrounds us.

Embracing and cherishing these aspects can really change our outlook, don’t you think? It turns our journey into a celebration of the now, and that’s where true joy lies.


CD: Friends, breaking free from the comparison trap opens the door to a more joyful and fulfilling life. It’s about recognizing our worth, embracing our unique journey, and finding joy in the everyday. Thank you for joining me on this important conversation. Remember, your journey is beautiful, and it’s yours alone. Keep celebrating it! 

Until next time on The Dang Good Show, stay real, stay you. Much love, CDANG, signing off!