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Along with our addictions and mental health issues, we often develop emotional patterns that contribute to our unwellness. One of the most destructive and debilitating of these emotional patterns is our tendency to compare ourselves to other people. We compete with other people and feel easily threatened by them. As addicts, we compare ourselves to sober people and feel inadequate and inferior. We compare our stories to other people’s and feel that we don’t measure up, that we’re not doing enough, that they are better than us. Comparing ourselves to other people keeps us locked in cycles of self-deprecation and self-rejection. It can exacerbate our addictions, because we use our drugs of choice to numb the pain of our self-hate. How can we stop comparing ourselves to other people?

When we compare ourselves to other people, we’re more focused on them than we are on ourselves. We have to learn to shift our focus back to ourselves. Whenever we’re tempted to look at other people, online, on social media, in our thoughts, let’s gently turn the focus inward. What are my goals? What are my interests and passions? What self-care practices can I make more time for? How can I be good to myself today? What can I add to my routine to make me feel good about myself?

Comparing ourselves to other people is a sign of low self-esteem. We want to build up our feelings of security, confidence and worthiness. We want to shed the instability and lack of groundedness and centeredness that are contributing to our insecurity. We can do this by focusing on our strengths, our gifts and talents, our life’s purpose. We can practice building ourselves up by repeating affirmations full of self-love and self-appreciation. “I love and appreciate myself. I am more than good enough. I am special, unique, incomparable and irreplaceable.” We want to remind ourselves that there is no one else exactly like us, and that we have unique gifts to share with the world that only we can.

Another way we can battle our tendency to compare ourselves to other people is to stop seeing life as a competition. We’re not actually in competition with other people. We’re not threatened by anyone. We can’t be replaced. We develop thought patterns that tell us we are competing with other people, but this is one of the many lies our wounded egos tell us. Seeing other people’s happiness, success or good fortune is actually a sign that those things are possible for us. If they are in our reality, that means we too can achieve them. We can choose to see other people’s blessings as evidence that they will show up in our lives as well. We can have faith in our ability to manifest happiness for ourselves. We can start practicing believing in ourselves and our futures more.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.