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  • Writer's pictureWindy Rachal, LPC

How Comparison Eats Away at Our Peace

We all fall into this trap at times. Noticing our otherness: whether we are as pretty, rich, well traveled, fashionable, smart, etc, etc, as OTHERS. But if we allow comparison to fester, it will eat away at our peace little by little and leave misery in its wake. Excessive social comparison is a type of cognitive distortion or thinking error because it is both unhelpful and biased rather than accurate thinking.

It's a distortion because we are judging based on very limited information and faulty logic; for example, to be rich is to have it all, or to be beautiful is to be happy. In reality, people and life are way more complex than that. That family who's always traveling may have debt up to their eyeballs. That super fashionable person may be super insecure about themselves so they obsess over decoration. That really smart person may really lack common sense. My point is, everyone has weaknesses and struggles, even those who appear to be untouchable. It's a gross assumption that when some things are going well for them, everything is going well. Likewise, it's a gross assumption that some things aren't going well for you, nothing is.

A healthier replacement for those comparison thoughts is to practice being happy for others and leave yourself out of it. So when you see a friend looking good, just tell yourself, 'Sally is looking great today. Go Sally!' Or when you see pics of a family vacation, just tell yourself, 'I love seeing families spend time together. Great for them.' Practice it even when it's hard to believe, and you'll notice it becomes more genuine over time. Pair that with focusing on YOUR own strengths, and you'll really see some change.

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