How often do you find yourself comparing your body to someone else’s? If you’re anything like most people, the answer is quite frequently. We’re all guilty of scrolling through social media and wishing our abs were as defined as the influencer’s. We’ve all been at the beach during summertime and felt self-conscious about showing cellulite and stretch marks that no one else seems to have. Comparison is human nature. It’s a natural instinct and it actually isn’t always harmful. However, when it begins to interfere with your own feelings of self worth, it is time to reevaluate the role body comparisons play in your life. The question becomes how to stop comparing your body to others. We hope this article can provide you with some actionable tips on how to stop making as many body comparisons.
Five tips on how to stop comparing your body to others:
1. Practice mindfulness
When you catch yourself comparing your body to others, take a moment to notice how you feel. Are these feelings positive or negative? Do you want to continue feeling this way or not? Likely these are negative feelings that you would not want to keep around. Instead of directing your attention to other people’s bodies, try being mindful about your surroundings. Ground yourself using all five senses to openly feel and experience the world around you. Attend to the sounds rumbling in your ears, the smells wafting up to your nose, and the feeling of the chair you are sitting in. Take in everything around you that is not related to bodies and appearances. Over time, practicing mindfulness will become more natural and will serve as a healthy replacement for body comparisons.
2. Detox your social media feeds
In today’s digital world, we have easy access to unlimited photos and videos of others. For many people, especially those from a younger generation, this has led to an increased tendency to engage in body comparisons. It is so tempting to look at influencers, celebrities, and even friends and perceive them as having the “perfect body” and the “perfect look.” Here is a reality check – social media is not real. Last year, researchers from the University of London found that 90% of their sample of women and nonbinary people edit or filter their pictures prior to posting them on social media. This included anything from evening out skin tones and textures, reshaping features, and slimming down their bodies.
With such a large percentage of what you see on social media being edited, it is crucial to filter out what is fake and only consume what is real. Unfollow any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, and only follow body positive accounts that uplift you. If posts of friends or family members are triggering for you, consider muting their account. You’ll still be following them but their posts and stories will not show up in your feed. Remember, you are in control of what content you consume.
3. Detach appearance and self worth
What your body looks like has absolutely nothing to do with your worth as a person. Think about the people in your life you are closest to. What do you love about them? Likely their kindness, care, humor, and humility, among other personality traits. Does their body or weight affect how you view them? The answer probably is that it does not. So why would your body matter in how others or you perceive yourself?
Society places a very large emphasis on outward appearances and body image not because it is right, but because it is profitable. They make you feel self-conscious about your bare skin in order to sell you makeup products to hide it. They make you hate your unique stretch marks so they can sell you creams that claim to eliminate them. They make you yearn to have the body of edited models so they can sell you fad weight loss products. Don’t let them. Your beauty, worth, and confidence come from within you and no amount of body comparisons can take that away from you.
4. Practice self-love daily
Comparing your body to others on a constant basis can lead to a decline in self-esteem and confidence levels. However, you can flip the script. Spend the time you would normally be engaging in body comparisons and instead practice self-love. To start, take out a sheet of paper and write down all the things you love about yourself that have nothing to do with your body. Perhaps you are a loyal friend, a good athlete, a committed employee, or a supportive sibling. Maybe you like that you are honest, funny, or intelligent.
Take a minute every morning or night to look in the mirror and repeat an affirmation from your list. Stand tall and proud while you say “I am a loyal friend” or “I am intelligent.” You can also include general affirmations such as “My appearance does not define me” or “I am enough just as I am.” Aim to make this a daily practice and replace the negativity from body comparisons with self-love affirmations.
5. Build a strong support system
When it comes to our body and our appearance, we are often our worst critics. Seeing yourself from an outside point of view may be beneficial in improving your own body-image. To do so, build an uplifting support system you can lean on in times where you feel yourself making excessive body comparisons. Perhaps you can rely on your parents or siblings to remind you of what a good person you are. Or, you can turn to your friends who always compliment you and make you feel better.
We realize that not everyone is in the position to have a robust system of support around them. Other ways to receive positive messages is through the social media content you consume and the books you read. A few books and workbooks include What to say when you talk to yourself by Shad Helmsetter, What’s right with me by Carlene DeRoo, The Self Compassion Workbook by Kristen Neff, and Befrending Your Body by Ann Saffi Biasetti
Therapy For Body Image
How to stop comparing your body to others is not easy, but we hope these five tips help you along the way. Our sixth tip is that if you are struggling with body image or body comparison therapy can be incredibly helpful. If you feel like you could benefit from one-on-one help regarding body image concerns, please reach out to one of the licensed psychologists at https://bestwithinyou.com/ to schedule a free consultation.
Thank you to Rumi Petrova for this article about how to stop comparing your body to others.