Interrupting Comparative Thoughts

By: Centerstone

Many of us have heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” but what does that mean? Is comparing ourselves to others that bad? While there can be some benefits to comparison, it does have the power to negatively impact our mental health: here’s what you should know.

Comparison is a biological, human habit. We make comparisons as a way to judge ourselves or to see how we measure up to others in certain areas. Some people may even feel pressure to be part of a collective group which can lead them to seek approval to feel accepted by the group. While some comparisons are normal, too much comparison can negatively affect our mental health if it results in poor self-esteem, depression, or anxiety. “Oftentimes when we compare ourselves to others, we are looking for things that we do not have, causing us to lower our value and worth,” says Katie Grace-Linnehan, Therapist at Centerstone. Comparison can be harmful to our sense of self if we are striving to be exactly like someone else if we see them as being an “ideal” person.

One major, and sometimes misunderstood, benefit to comparison is that it can serve as a motivator to work toward a certain goal. “Comparison can also be helpful if we are using it in a positive way to identify things that we want for ourselves,” adds Grace-Linnehan, “not because they have it, but because we genuinely want it for ourselves too.” For example, if you are working on remodeling your home, you may compare your vision to someone else’s home that has the same style that you hope to achieve.

However, if the comparison results in negative feelings about yourself, it can be helpful to identify any insecurities you have that may trigger comparison. Feelings of envy or jealousy may make you feel that you’re lacking something. When you can recognize areas in your life where you may want to improve or grow, you can start building your confidence and sense of self-worth.

It can be challenging to stop comparison entirely, but those thoughts can be interrupted. A helpful strategy Grace-Linnehan suggests is to “create a list of your strengths, or create daily positive affirmations to work on embracing your own identity so that you will start to see your differences as strengths instead of weaknesses.” Focus on your strengths and what makes you unique, and be proud of them!

Post comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


[contact-form 1 "Contact form 1"]

Random Testimonial

  • ~ J. Fedrick

    "I was impressed with your professionalism and sincere interest in helping my Grandson. You made him feel at ease from our first meeting and I am confident that his reading will improve from tutoring."

  • Read more testimonials »
  • No tweets available at the moment.

Powered by Twitter Tools