We’ve all been there. We’re in a yoga class and the girl beside us is significantly more flexible than we are. We push ourselves deeper into the pose than we should, to prove to ourselves that we are just as good as she is. And when we can’t match her, we begin feeling inadequate, decide she’s a show-off and resolve to place our mats on the other side of the room next week. Or maybe we’re at a birthday party and we notice our friend’s amazing outfit, suddenly feel underdressed and decide not to stand next to her in any photos.
Whatever the situation, We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others and when we feel we don’t measure up, our self-esteem takes a hit. But what if we focused on how we feel, rather than what we look like?
If, in the yoga class, we instead closed our eyes and noticed how we felt in the pose, we’d feel our bodies working, opening, stretching and stabilizing. We’d realize that where we are in the pose is exactly where we should be and that how we look in the pose is actually irrelevant.
What if we applied this mentality to all areas of our lives? What if we stopped seeing others as our competition and instead chose to befriend them and learn from them? Can you imagine all the positive changes that would occur both in our own lives and in society as a whole?
A great way to get into this habit is meditation. If, like me, you struggle with mediation, try an active meditation: Next time you’re doing any sort of activity, whether it’s yoga, dancing in your underwear, walking to work or hitting it hard at the gym, close your eyes and see if you can experience all the sensations going on in your body. Notice how those sensations change as you go from stillness to movement. Notice the various changes as you slow down your breathing. Check in with your mental and emotional body too, and see where they are at today.
Take a few moments everyday to become intimately connected with yourself. Next time you notice yourself mentally competing with someone else, ask yourself: “But how do I feel?” The first step of appreciation is being aware. So take some time to get to know yourself, and I can guarantee you’ll feel better.