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Lola Thorne: Writing

  • Writer's pictureLola Thorne: Empowerment Architect & Boundaries Mentor

From Comparison to Confidence: Rebuilding Your Self Worth

Bodies, money, houses, cars, success - we are all living in a world where the perfect life is being constantly shared to us, either by our friends or by the algorithms that know what specifically your perfect life looks like and can repackage it back to you for sale so that you feel terrible about your life, regardless of where you are or what you are achieving.


It's exhausting. And more so, it's damaging.


Dark grey text on millennial green, square background. Text reads "How we lose ourselves in the comparison trap: 1, We resent people we want to feel happy for. 2, It replaces happiness with shame. 3, It fuels anxiety, stress and depression. 4, It lowers our self-worth. 5, We re-wire our brain. Website tag at bottom reads Lola Jane Thorne.com

So what happens?


1. We resent people we want to feel happy for

This is a double whammy - we feel really difficult, uncomfortable feeling - like bitterness, anger, disappointment and jealousy - and then we feel guilt and shame for feeling those things against people who we love and we genuinely want to feel happy for. This can then spiral us into burying those uncomfortable feelings, which usually leads to them festering and becoming more powerful.


2. It replaces happiness with shame

Have you ever felt proud of yourself for doing something, and then seen someone else do the same thing faster, or better, or do something that you felt was better? Very quickly that feeling of pride and happiness is replaced by embarrassment hitting the pit of your stomach. Or maybe you stay small, not celebrating your wins or even recognising them as wins because others do it better. For example - never posting run times despite running 5k because your friends run it faster, or run 10ks, or marathons. Being caught in the comparison trap will have you feeling you are never good enough. Even if you run a marathon, someone else will probably have done it faster. Imagine standing on the finishing line and not celebrating - that is what we all do when we are stuck in a comparison trap. We stand at the proverbial finish line and tell ourselves that we weren't good enough. So unsurprisingly...


3. It fuels anxiety, stress and depression

Research shows that people stuck in the comparison trap suffer from depression and low self-esteem. And this cycle just keeps recurring because...


4. It lowers our self worth

The worse you feel, the more you compare yourself against others, and the worse your self-esteem gets, the worse the perception of yourself gets and the better you see others. It is painful cycle that spirals out on every level, which is also made worse because...


5. We rewire our brain

The cycle happens more and more because the more you think about it, the more you rewire your brain to view things through this lens and the more your brain adapt to it. It becomes second nature. It feels impossible to stop, so how do you?



Dark grey text on very pale green square background with darker green swirly line that reads 1-5. Text reads "How to recover from the comparison trap: 1, Build up your self-esteem. 2, Develop a stronger sense of self. 3, Practice gratitude and savouring. 4, stay attuned to your truest beliefs. 5, Nourish relationships with people who believe in you. Website tag at bottom of picture reads Lola Jane Thorne.com

When you find yourself in a comparison trap, the proven way out of it is to cultivate and invest in your own identity.⁠ How can you do this?⁠ Follow these six steps:


1. Actively build up your self-esteem

Negative comparison cycles are intrinsically liked to low self esteem. Self esteem is a self-fulfilling prophecy so pause so you can take a moment to intentionally build yourself up through new practices. For example, using affirmations every day for 30 days has been proven to rewire your brain and shift your thinking.


2. Develop a stronger sense of self

A nasty by-product of the comparison trap is that as you focus on what others are doing, and build up a sense of a (probably incorrect) identity for others, you also lose a sense of identify for yourself. Break the cycle by investing time, energy and curiosity into your self again. What values are important to you? What brings you joy? What new things would you like to try? To get started with some prompts, download my free Quick Questions to Help Develop a Sense of Self here. They are great to journal with.


3. Practice gratitude and savouring

When you engage in gratitude and savouring practices, you become more attuned to the positive aspects of your life and the experiences that bring you joy. This increased self-awareness allows you to gain a deeper understanding of what truly matters to you, what brings you fulfilment, and what aligns with your values. It helps you identify the core aspects of your identity and the things that make you unique. It can also become repetitive, which can motivate you to start working towards bigger goals that inspire you and are closely aligned to what brings you joy and fulfilment.


4. Stay attuned with your truest beliefs

The VIA Institute do a great free quiz to help you understand your values and qualities, which can be a great resource to help you tap into or rediscover parts of yourself.


5. Nourish relationships with people who believe in you. ⁠

Be vulnerable and talk about how you are feeling with people who support you, even if they are the ones you feel in comparison with. If you feel uncomfortable talking about your feelings, remember to focus on "I" statements to express how you personally feel. For example, say, "I feel overwhelmed when..." or "I am happy because..." This approach avoids blaming or accusing others, fostering better communication and reducing defensiveness.

Also, it can be really helpful to shift your focus to making fun memories - maybe even with the people you feel in comparison with - do an activity together, play games, go outside - but also, if you need a break from them, then take it.


We all drop into comparison cycles sometimes, especially at our low points, but we can recover with these proven routes back out. ⁠So remember: Even flowers don't bloom all year round, so even if it has been your hibernation season these practices can refresh yourself so you can simply bloom again.


Millennial green square with a light pink, large petaled flower in the bottom left corner with leaves that arch upwards. In the top right corner there is some gold splatter. The dark grey text reads "A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms" Quote from Zen Shin. Instagram handle at the bottom reads @LolaJaneThorne

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