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The dangers of comparison

Comparison to others can be harmful to our positive mental health


Written by Megan Stonecipher and posted in health


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We do it everyday, for some of us more so than others.  That’s right; the never ending comparison between you and what you see in the news, in magazines, on social media, in person, on the TV, and so on.  It’s the constant thoughts of “I wish I could look like her,” or “I wish I was as successful as him.”  All of these unfiltered comparisons lead to nothing but jealousy and you feeling worse about yourself.  Most comparisons are considered to be dangerous.  The only comparisons that are considered to be healthy are those that inspire you to make a change in your life for the better. Other than that most comparisons are damaging to our positive mental health.  

Comparing ourselves with others is something that our brain does naturally, which means it can be something that is rather tedious to overcome.  The simple solution to stop comparing yourself to others is to change the subject you are comparing yourself to.  Instead of comparing yourself to others, try and compare yourself to your past self.  This will not only help you to continue flourishing and growing, but it will also get rid of the unnecessary negativeness that comes with comparing yourself to others.

In addition to trying to compare yourself to your past self instead of others, here are a couple other tips of advice to help stop yourself from comparing yourself to others.

Ways to put an end to comparing yourself to others:

  • Become aware- the more aware you are of you comparing yourself to others, the more easier it will become to single out those comparisons and stop them.  
  • Take a look at everything you already have- focus on all of the good things you already have, instead of the things that you don’t have.  Think about how lucky you are to have those things and people in your life.
  • Choose to focus on your strengths- focus more on your strengths than worrying about your weaknesses.
  • Be accepting of your flaws- no one is perfect, everyone is unique in their own ways.  Your imperfections make up the special person that you are.
  • Treat others the way you would like to be treated- in other words don’t tear down or criticize people in order to make you feel better about yourself.  Going around and saying bad things about others is only going to hurt you in the long run, so try and be supportive of everyone’s success and accomplishments.
  • Life is a journey- life is not a race where you are competing with others to get to the finish line or to be the best, instead life is a long individualized journey.  Everyone is on a different journey, and your individual journey has nothing to do with others but instead has everything to do with you and what you want.
  • Enough is enough- learn that you don’t need what others have, and that what you have in life is enough.  If you have a home, supportive family and friends, food on the table, then you have enough.  You don’t need fancy cars or expensive clothing to have enough.

Overall remember that although comparing yourself to others can be beneficial if it is inspiring you to do something better with your life, the majority of the time it can be harmful to one’s positive mental health.  So next time you are on social media try and notice when you are comparing yourself to others and put a stop to it.  Remember that every single person is unique in their own way and that you as a person are more than enough.

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Published June 14th, 2017
Last updated June 21st, 2017
Tags mental health wellbeing body image
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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