3:21PM Feb 15, 2019
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford
Welcome to the therapy for black girls podcast, a weekly conversation about mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves. I'm your host, Dr. Joy harden Bradford, a licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia.
To get more information, visit the website at therapyforblackgirls.com. And while I hope you love listening to and learning from the podcast, it is not meant to be a substitute for relationship with a licensed mental health professional.
Hey, y'all. Thanks so much for joining me for a session 94 of the therapy for black girls podcast. Today, I wanted to share my thoughts about something that seems to be coming up more and more in my conversations with many of you, and that's comparing yourself to others. When I was in elementary school, probably around third or fourth grade, I distinctly remember the teacher telling us to keep your eyes on your own paper before we started taking any tests. This of course, was a not so, subtle reminder not to borrow any of our neighbors answers. But I also think it's a great reminder for whatever stage of life we find ourselves in now. If you're honest with yourself, are there some ways you've been too busy looking on your neighbors paper that you didn't even realize that you already knew all of the answers to the questions?
You know what I mean? How many times have you changed your mind about how you were going to style your hair because so and so's hair looks super cute? Or how many times have you decided that the focus of your business would be one thing, but then that new thing that so and so is selling looks really good. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to be inspired by others. Inspiration is important and necessary in some cases, but don't call it inspiration if it's really you're trying to borrow your neighbors entire life. Here are a few reasons why this can be really dangerous for you. Number one,
if you spend too much time comparing and coveting what you see others enjoying, it becomes difficult for you to trust your own ideas and intuition because you're not really exercising these muscles. In order for you to really be in tune with your creativity, you have to spend time with it, you have to let it run wild and pay attention to where it leads you. And you can't do that if you have too much energy invested in what other people are doing. Number two, none of us ever really have access to anyone else's full story. So you see the highlights that someone shares on social media or you notice someone else who looks like they have it all together on campus or at work. But do you really know the whole story? More often than not, we're trying to piece together a story that is at best incomplete, and more than likely inaccurate. So when we make a judgment about ourselves based on inaccurate information about someone else, it's kind of like building your new house on quicksand, it's destined to be a disaster. Number three, you miss out on all the dopeness of celebrating the things in your own life. When we're too focused on what other people are doing, we lose sight of what incredible things we have to offer and can become less grateful for these things as well. And number four, it becomes difficult for you to really tap into the thing that only you can birth into this world. So I was listening to an episode The hidden brain podcast one day and they were interviewing a researcher who studies what happens to a local community when the local newspaper closes. And I thought to myself, "What an interesting thing to study. I wonder how he came up with that question". And then it dawned on me that of course, I wouldn't come up with a question like that, because that's not a part of the work that I was designed to do. It's his work. So the lesson to me there was to stay focused and in tune with the work I was designed to do, and the gifts that I was designed to share, because anything else is a distraction. And that's what I want to pass on to you. What thing is the world waiting on you to cultivate and share? What is the world missing out on because you've got your eyes on your neighbors paper?
So of course, I know that this isn't always an easy task, especially with the popularity of social media and the ease with which we have have access to so many different people's lives. So here are a few tips that might help you to get a little bit better with this if you're struggling with comparing yourself to others. Number. One, unfollow, unfriend our mute anyone who doesn't make you feel cute enough, loved enough, thin enough, fashionable enough, smart enough, whatever enough. Continuing to interact with people and accounts on social media that are always making you feel like you're behind is probably not motivating you and it's more than likely stunting your growth. So go ahead and get rid of these accounts and these people that you're following. Number two, do an honest assessment of the various areas of your life to see where there may need to be a little more attention. Sometimes when we find ourselves caught up in the comparison trap is because we're avoiding doing the necessary work in our own lives. Do you need to be spending more time to dig into your physical health? Is there something going on at work where you do need to be getting caught up to speed? Pay attention to what really comes up for you when you feel the need to compare and judge and then focus that energy on doing something that will actually improve yourself or your situation. Number three, keep a gratitude journal a daily or regular
account of the small and large things that you are grateful for in your own life can help you to stay focused on those things, and to welcome more of this into your life. Where we devote our energy is what we see appear. So focusing on things you're grateful for, shifts your focus more to abundance than lack. And finally, number four, focus on building authentic and genuine relationships with other people, not as a way to try to steal anybody's secret sauce, but to truly get to know them and their story. Once you actually get to know people, they are no longer random frames on a page or fictionalized stories.They become complex and layered and human just like you.
So tell me if comparing yourself to others is something you've struggled with in the past, or if you're currently struggling with and what kinds of things have you done to help you manage this, share your thoughts with me on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession. And definitely make sure you share this episode with at least three other people because this is something that I know many people struggle with. Before we wrap up. I also want to share a very special project I've been working on for y'all. In session 50 of the podcast, we talked about some of the difficulties that can come up when life doesn't look like what we thought it would look like. For whatever reason, this seems to be another common in issue that many people are struggling with. So I wanted to take that episode a step further and have created a short guided affirmation to help you think more about this and to help shift your thinking. It's called a loving reminder. And here's a sneak peek.
If your life doesn't look like what someone told you, it should look like right now. You might be doubting yourself you might be wondering where you went wrong. You might be saying "I've done all the right things and my life still doesn't look like that. Why not me"?
I'm so in love with it, y'all. And I think it's something that many of you will love too. You can grab your copy of it at therapyforblackgirls.com/lovingreminder and the link of course will also be included in the show notes for you to grab. Please check it out. Share it with your girls and let me know what you think.
Remember that if you're searching for a therapist in your area, check out our directory at therapyforblackgirls.com/directory. And if you want to continue this conversation with other sisters who listen to the podcast, join us in the thrive tribe at therapyforblackgirls.com/tribe. Make sure to answer the three questions that are asked to gain entry.
Thank y'all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take care.