Why We Compare Ourselves to Other Expats and How to Stop
In a session with one of my clients recently, she brought up how bad it made her feel to scroll Instagram. She said she feels like other expats have these amazing lives abroad.
They seem to find time to work, travel, see exciting new places, and learn the language. They seem to have happier and more balanced lives, while she feels stressed out and like there is never enough time for everything she wants and needs to do.
We unpacked it a little more, and for our next session I came up with some things to talk about and strategies for her that you can also try if you realize you're comparing yourself to others.
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1. Remember the 50/50 rule
In life there is a contrast of good and bad. No matter where you live or what your job is or who you love or how much money you have, there will be things that are wonderful and there will be problems. Nobody is exempt from this.
When you look at someone's Instagram, you aren't seeing the fight she got into with her husband, the chronic fatigue she experiences, or the job that didn't work out. Just like everyone, she is experiencing negative emotions about half the time.
When you know this, you can see everyone - including yourself - just as human beings doing their best and making the most of their experience on Earth. You get to decide what you want your experience to be like, so you can choose to celebrate others then focus on the good in your life.
2. Understand why it happens
Your brain would much rather focus on how great someone else's life is. Your brain will offer you unhelpful thoughts like "you're not good enough" and "you'll never have your life together like she does" and "you can barely manage your job much less your Instagram feed."
These thoughts will keep you playing it small and safe, and will keep you stuck. Your brain prefers this because being bold and stepping out of your comfort zone is risky, and the more primitive part of your brain doesn't like risks.
So understand that this line of thought is normal. Your brain will provide you with unhelpful thoughts all the time, but so what? You can buy into these thoughts, or do the work to make your life amazing. Will you let your "toddler brain" run the show, or will you take charge?
3. Bring it back to you
What would you be doing if you weren't spending time comparing yourself to others? What would you be doing if you weren't stuck? What to do you really want to do with your one precious life on this planet? Take some time to journal about this, and be open to what comes up for you.
A lot of times our deepest desires for our lives are just below the surface, waiting to be discovered. We only need to figure out what is holding us back, and not let things like comparing ourselves to others stand in our way.
If what I am saying resonates with you, reach out to me and I can help. Book your free session with me here and we can figure out together what is holding you back and how you can move forward into the life of you dreams ♡
Hi, I'm Jen! I am a US expat and have lived abroad for six years, first in Shanghai and now in beautiful Thailand.
I always strive to learn, grow, and be the best version of myself, and I'm so grateful I get to spend my days working with amazing expat women like you:
Women who are smart and want to reach their goals, but need help overcoming stress, overwhelm, and other obstacles so they can create their best lives abroad.