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“Stay On Your Own Mat” –Transitioning Away From The Habit Of Social Comparison

Nancy Tepper April 2021

Transitions Kuel Category Expert: Nancy Tepper

Why do I compare myself to others?

As a newbie to the practice of yoga, I would always look around the room to compare myself to others. My eyes would dart left and right. My feelings of inadequacy and failure would resonate deeply in my soul. Questions of comparison roamed through my brain like a song I couldn’t stop playing but the narrative was far from melodious. In fact, the narrative in my brain was self-destructive and unkind. The narrative produced the exact opposite feeling that I was hoping to attain through my yoga practice.

“Staying On My Own Mat” Was Liberating:

“I needed to “stay on my own mat” and appreciate myself in a very individualistic way.”

Fortunately for me, I had an epiphany early on in my yoga journey. I realized that if I ever wanted to reap the benefits of self-improvement that I was hoping to get from my yoga practice I needed to “stay on my own mat” and appreciate myself in a very individualistic way. What this meant is that I had to focus my thoughts on self-love and gratitude for my own achievements. I had to stop comparing myself to others so that I could feel full, not depleted. Unfortunately, with most social comparisons, we tend to compare ourselves to people who we perceive as better off than us, not worse. This focus usually leads to a critical nature, overcompensating, and overall resentment.

How Do I Break The Habit Of Social Comparison?

“Staying on my own mat” has become a metaphor for how I want to live my life. I have succeeded in breaking the habit of social comparison through conscious awareness – to look out for thoughts that don’t serve or uplift me. I have also shifted to a mindset of gratitude and appreciation for what I am fortunate to have and not what is lacking. Change is a journey and I realize that I am a work in progress. I am no longer seeking to be like someone else. I realize that my imperfections are what makes me “me” and now I embrace that.

“Appreciating that what I have is enough has fortunately made me feel more fulfilled and content.”

What I Have Is Enough:

Social comparison can lead to an endless cycle of dissatisfaction and ultimately can lead to perpetual unhappiness. Supporting others in their successes and not being critical has made me a kinder, nicer person. It has actually allowed me to learn from others as I seek to self-improve. Appreciating that what I have is enough has fortunately made me feel more fulfilled and content. As my journey continues to rid myself of social comparisons, it is my hope that I become the person who needs nothing but has everything because I know that I have exactly what I need.

About the Author:

Nancy Tepper is a 54 year- old mother of three living in New York City and having fun in this next chapter. She loves tennis, yoga, and is an avid reader. Nancy loves spending time with family and friends and loves to help people. She is currently a member of the Board and Executive Director of Stand Up! Girls which is a non-profit offering stand-up comedy classes to under-served girls in the five boroughs of New York City. Nancy is also a co-founder of MT Nesters podcast which offers valuable advice and inspiration to women who are empty nested and trying to pivot. Lastly, Nancy is a certified Life Coach and works with people who want to transition, or individuals who want to make positive changes in their lives