Love who you are: avoid the comparison trap

Comparing yourself with friends and strangers becoming a near-constant habit? Well you’re not alone – with Facebook and Instagram providing us with ample opportunities to contrast our lives with others it’s no wonder we constantly feel that just being ‘me’ isn’t enough. The habit may even be hardwired in our brain if the social comparison theory has it right. But while making comparisons may feed us a temporary ego boost, more often than not we’ll end up feeling worse about ourselves and resenting others.
The ‘ugly’ truth is, it’s extremely hard to ‘win’ when we play the comparison game: thanks to mass media and the internet, once we’re on the lookout for people who’re prettier or more successful or more popular, we’re bound to find scores of them (thanks to photoshop, good lighting, smart posing… you know the score)… But we’re not doing any justice to our unique gifts and contributions by stacking them up against what we believe others to have.
But what are we to do if looking at other people’s glamorous holiday photos or hearing about yet another friend receiving a promotion makes us feel like our successes and achievements pale in comparison with those of our peers?
Kick the comparison habit and start appreciating your own value more by making the following five adjustments…

1. Realise that comparisons are fundamentally unfair
The problem with the comparisons we make between ourselves and other people is that most of the time we’re comparing what can’t truly be compared. We’re all unique: no one has the exact same combination background, life experiences, challenges we’ve faced, influences and so on… How could we expect everyone to ‘progress’ at the same pace or ‘accomplish’ the same life goals at the same time, when everyone is walking a one-of-a-kind path?
Many times, we also end up overestimating other people’s strengths and underestimating our own: we may see idealised versions of other people and make unconscious assumptions about them, forgetting that everyone has their share of flaws and difficulties. True, the ‘highlight reels’ we see on social media often make people’s lives look amazing, but while most of us wouldn’t share struggles and difficulties publicly on social media, it sadly doesn’t mean they’re not there…
2. Transform comparison into inspiration
See someone living the life you want? Instead of taking it as evidence that you’re ‘behind’ in life and using their accomplishments as a stick to beat yourself with, look at their achievements as signposts: find inspiration from these people and learn everything you can about how they got there. You’re looking at a living proof that what you want is indeed possible, achievable and potentially within your reach.
3. Examine your motivations
If you haven’t ticked a particular box in ‘life’s to-do list’ while everyone else has, could it be that you’re actually not that passionate about it? Sometimes when we examine closely all those life goals we’ve always thought we wanted to achieve, we realise that some of them reflect somebody else’s wishes or society’s expectations more than our own desires.
Perhaps your true calling is to step away from the well-trodden path. Perhaps that long detour you took didn’t slow you down and take you further away from your goals, but instead allowed you to discover new goals that are more in alignment with who you are?
4. Compare if you must… against your past
If you find it difficult to quell the urge to compare, use it to your advantage and evaluate your achievements the fair way: against your past self. Not only does seeing how far we’ve come allow us to feel good about ourselves, but we don’t need to think less of anyone else to get the boost.
So celebrate each time you overcome a challenge or meet a personal goal – regardless of how your achievements stack up against those of others. Keep the focus on doing the best with what you’ve got, and set goals that align with who you want to be. Then [Read more…]

Clear negative energies from your home

Our home is a place where we expect to feel safe and nurtured, a sanctuary where we can retreat to when the world outside overwhelms us. But sometimes even our home environment can begin to feel ‘off’… Read on for some of the reasons we may sense negative energies in our living space and steps we can take to restore harmony.

1. Break the emotional ties to your clutter

Are there corners, shelves or cupboards in your home that you tend to avoid? Clutter doesn’t just get in the way of keeping our place tidy and organised – unused and unloved ‘stuff’ can also feel like a massive drain on our energy. And while the solution seems simple enough – get rid of the items you don’t need ‍– it’s rarely that easy because of the emotional attachments that we have to our belongings. We may hold onto books and magazines that we think we ‘should’ read when deep down we know we never will. We may keep gifts that we can’t find a use for because we fear we’ll hurt the giver’s feelings. We may cling to old art supplies or instruments because they represent the dreams and aspirations of our past selves, even though our interests have changed and evolved. Or we may be reluctant to give away an item we’ve barely used because we spent a lot of money on it…
Identifying and acknowledging the real reason we hold on to an item can be an effective first step in breaking its hold on us. And once the clutter’s gone, we’ll likely notice a massive shift in how our home feels.

2. Look after your relationships

Few things disrupt the harmony in our home as effectively as resentment between people who share a living space. We don’t always even notice the tension building until we suddenly snap at our significant other or the kids… If you’re feeling increasingly irritable, check in first with yourself. Being overworked and stressed out can make other people’s behaviour seem far more annoying than under normal conditions. If this is you, prioritise rest ASAP.

Sometimes there’s a genuine problem that needs addressing though in order to clear the negative energy. Nonviolent communication with its emphasis on communicating our needs without blame or criticism makes a great framework for working through conflicts. Starting a sentence “I’m feeling…” rather than “You always…” is far more likely to elicit a favourable response. Check out Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life to learn more.

Frequent hugs and “I love you’s” are also a great tool in keeping a home feeling loving and positive.

 

3. Indulge in a ritual to ‘reset’ your home energetically

Humans have used rituals to mark significant events since prehistoric times, and research has shown that performing a ritual – even a small and private one – can have very real and tangible effects on our wellbeing whether we’re dealing with loss, disappointment or a life change.

A ritual can help us shift the energy in our home too, be it after moving to a new house that doesn’t feel like ‘our space’ yet, or when we still feel stuck in the past after a significant change in our lives.

Make it fun or serious, elaborate or simple – what matters most is that your ritual feels meaningful to you. Be inspired by traditional energy cleansing methods such as sage smudging or singing bowls, incorporate crystals like clear quartz and black tourmaline, rearrange your furniture according the principles of Feng shui or simply light a candle in each room and meditate on your intentions, visualising your home filled with healthy, free-flowing energy.

Our favourite health-boosting teas

Want to de-stress? Energise? Sleep? With of the abundance of amazing teas available today, there’s always a brew that fits the bill, which is why we love a good cuppa any time of day. From green tea to herbal blends, different types of tea offer their own unique beauty and health-boosting benefits and can be enjoyed whatever the season: a steaming mug of tea is wonderfully warming in cold weather, while sipping on iced tea can give us a cooling hydration boost on a hot, sunny day. (Joe’s Tea Co. shows us how to chill tea for a refreshing thirst quencher as well as some lovely recipes here.)
And before you pop the kettle on remember…
Choosing organic teas grown without pesticides by companies that source their ingredients responsibly and look after their workers properly, ensures that we can enjoy tea that not only benefits ourselves but is great for the growers and the environment too.

1. Green tea
Green tea may be the most extensively studied and hyped cuppa on the block today, but for a good reason: regular consumption is said to protect us from various cancers, give our brains a boost, promote heart health and assist with weight loss. These and numerous other health benefits are linked to the high concentration of antioxidants, especially the ECGC, in green tea.
A great variety of green teas is available on the market, but matcha is thought to be of particularly high quality. Tip: using boiling water can release too many tannins and make your tea taste bitter, so let your water cool a bit before pouring.

2. Chamomile
Chamomile is a star ingredient in many herbal night-time blends thanks to its mildly sedative properties, but it’s also a great choice for those times when we need to soothe frayed nerves or relax after a particularly stressful day at work. Chamomile (German chamomile in particular) has been used for centuries to treat other ailments too from colds and upset stomachs to menstrual cramps, and research has supported many of these traditional uses. One study even suggested that regular chamomile tea consumption could help women live longer.

3. Peppermint
Are you about to succumb to the dreaded early afternoon energy slump? Quick, guzzle a mug of refreshing peppermint tea as a caffeine-free pick-me-up. Drinking peppermint tea can increase alertness and may even boost long-term memory. It’s also a top choice for bloating and nausea and can help us achieve a clearer complexion by slowing down oil production.

4. Rooibos
Originally an indigenous drink, rooibos is a caffeine-free, naturally sweet tasting tea brewed from the leaves of a South African plant. Also known as red bush tea, Rooibos has a high mineral and antioxidant content and is often consumed for healthy skin and hair as well as to boost the immune system and soothe the stomach.

5. Rosehip
Deliciously fruity, rosehip tea is probably best known as a great source of vitamin C, but it’s chock-full of other nutrients too. Made from the dried fruit of the rose plant, it’s believed to be especially beneficial and healing for skin, from soothing inflammation to slowing down aging.