Mind & Body

Genius 4-step technique to cure comparisonitis


In this edited extract from her new book, author and TEDx speaker Melissa Ambrosini reveals her experience and the technique she swears will cure you.

I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror, throat burning, shame and guilt mounting. Making myself throw up had become my little secret. Whenever I ate too much, ate junk food or lost out at an audition, my “comparisonitis” kicked into overdrive, and I became convinced that if only I was as skinny as the other girls, I would have landed the part. Cue a one-way ticket to Barfville that would leave me a sweaty, teary mess on the bathroom floor.

That night was different. Staring into the mirror, instead of feeling desperate or sad like I usually did after throwing up, I felt exhausted. Tired of my own BS, that is. It felt like everything in my life was spiralling out of control – my health, relationships, sense of self. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I didn’t know it in that moment, but a few years later I’d land myself in hospital with a full health breakdown.

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But that night, staring at my gaunt face, I didn’t know any of that. All I knew was that I was tired and that I’d had enough. I looked myself in the eye and said out loud in a weak voice, “You can’t keep doing this, Melissa.”

“This” meant comparing myself to others, beating myself up, self-sabotaging all the time, and holding myself to such a high standard that I was destined to disappoint myself from the get-go. I didn’t have the language or the awareness in that moment, but what I meant was that I was tired of the effects of comparisonitis.

Over the coming years, as I worked on awakening myself emotionally, physically and spiritually, I’d try many things to cure my comparisonitis. Some were crazy, some were effective but unsustainable. But finally, after plenty of trial and error, and much experimentation, I developed a four-step process that became my salvation. I call it the ACES technique.

This simple but genius four-step technique is the framework that underpins all the other tools and tactics you’ll find in this book. The four steps form an acronym, “ACES”, which makes it super easy to remember (because when you heal your comparisonitis, you’ll feel ace again).

Step 1: Awareness

The first step to free yourself from comparisonitis is awareness. You have to become aware of any areas where you’re comparing yourself. Sometimes this is obvious, but sometimes we engage in behaviours we don’t even realise are rooted in comparison, like:

  • beating yourself up
  • competing with others
  • ranking yourself against others
  • putting others down
  • acting with scorn and contempt toward others

Sometimes, your first inkling of awareness won’t arise because of your behaviour, but because of what you’re feeling. Become aware and name your feelings and the sensations. There’s no shame here – all feelings are worthy and completely OK.

Step 2: Choose a different path

After you’ve become aware that you’re engaging in comparison, the next step is to make a decision that suffering is not what you want for yourself. It’s time to choose a different path. There’s huge power in making a decision like this.

So let’s make a decision: what do you want to experience instead? What emotion or vibration would serve you better than the toxicity of comparison? What could you invite into this moment that might facilitate peace instead of suffering?

Literally say your new choice to yourself, either out loud or in your head. You may like to frame it as

“I choose X”. For example:

  • I choose love.
  • I choose peace.
  • I choose happiness.

If you’re feeling reeeeeeaaaally struck down by comparisonitis, choosing one of these high-vibing emotions might feel like it’s too far out of reach.

In that case, you can choose something that vibes closer to where you’re at emotionally but that will still relieve you of suffering and remove the negative emotional charge. For example:

  • I choose stillness.
  • I choose to surrender.
  • I choose to let go.

It can help to plan out your choice in advance, so you have a go-to affirmation ready and waiting in your head. My own go-to option is usually “I choose love”.

I’m quick to whip this affirmation out whenever I head toward the rabbit hole of suffering.

Step 3: Eliminate

If you can, eliminate the trigger that’s caused you to spiral into comparison. Did being on social media cause your spiral? Then get off your device. Or perhaps reading a magazine triggered your comparison? Then close your mag and put it out of sight. Or maybe you’re watching a TV show or movie. Turn it off. Do what you can to eliminate the trigger that’s sparked those toxic feelings.

Just a little FYI: this isn’t about suppressing your triggers – triggers are invitations for awakening – but in order to awaken, you need to remove the trigger first.

Step 4: Shift your state

Comparison is a heavy, low-vibrational energy. It can really weigh you down and leach your energy and time. So to close the loop and end the cycle, it’s important to shift your energetic state to a lighter, higher vibration. And the fastest way to do that? Movement, baby!

Moving your body is super effective when it comes to shifting energy around. I mean, really, just try to stay in a funk when you’re dancing around your lounge room or jumping up and down or walking in nature. Seriously, I dare you!

Here are some ways you can shift your state:

  • Crank up a Beyoncé song and dance it out in your kitchen
  • Walk
  • Run
  • Do star jumps
  • Dive in the ocean
  • Skip rope
  • Bang out a few yoga moves
  • Jump on a rebounder
  • Get sexy with your partner
  • Get sexy with yourself

So there you have the four steps of the ACES technique. The more you practice this technique, the better you’ll get at it and the quicker you’ll be able to vault yourself out of comparison and into a much better-feeling energy.

Comparisonitis by Melissa Ambrosini (HarperCollins, $29.99) is out Wednesday.