By Connie Garcia-Ball, MA, LPC
Theodore Roosevelt once stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Yes, we have the tendency to allow comparing ourselves to others through social media, workplaces, friendships, family, and the list goes longer than any of us expected.
For the most part, comparing our bodies, qualities, successes, and material items can lead to depriving ourselves from embracing our own uniqueness.
I have counseled several clients of all ages who continue to struggle with the reality of their uniqueness versus societal expectations. The struggle caused them to question their capabilities, lower their self-esteem levels, and live more for the approval of others. What else do we do but compare ourselves to others when we see selfies, accomplishments, and new purchases as we scroll through social media or talk to our loved ones about what is going on in their lives? It is a new trend that is difficult to resist or unlearn, at times. However, if we have the capability to learn something, we also have the capability to unlearn it.
How do we stop comparing when it is all around us? We can begin to stop comparing once we engage in our own creativity and use it as a tool instead.
Triggers — Identify what negatively stimulates us and ends up driving ourselves to react with comparison. Become self-aware of what provokes us to perceive ourselves in a negative way so that we can reduce the chances of our mental health negatively being affected.
Gratitude — Let us practice giving attention to the little things that brighten our day and write them down to look back to remind ourselves of the good when we are not feeling our best. This contributes to making the positive and productive things in our lives louder than the obstacles.
Encouragement — Let us support and encourage others who are stretching their comfort zone and embrace their decisions for as they are whether they directly affect us or not. This brings attention to welcoming uniqueness and acceptance that we are all okay to be different. If we were all robots, what fun would that be?
Although comparison can take away our ability to be present and in the moment with ourselves, it does not mean we must choose to look at it negatively. We can use comparison either as a temporary crutch or as a steering stone to grow as a healthy individual.
If we can be of assistance, feel free to contact Samaritan Counseling Center at 432-563-4144.