The Dangers of ComparisonOct 25, 2021
Written by Julia Amato, Life + Leadership Coach
When I think back on who I was five years ago, I feel really good about who I’ve become. Comparing my former self to my current self allows me to see the growth I’ve made and the steps I’ve taken to live a more authentic, confident and joyful life.
Comparison in this case is a good thing. I know, I know. The title of this blog is called “The Dangers of Comparison,” but I want to start off by saying not all comparison is bad. Comparison in this case validates my own desires and serves as a good motivator to keep going, to keep growing.
But, just like everything in life, we need to approach comparison with balance.
It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, and comparison can actually serve as a motivator to step into the best version of ourselves. In my Core Values Academy, I actually encourage people to look to their heroes when we go through our values-finding exercise.
The danger in comparison, however, comes when we start to judge ourselves for not living how others live, for not looking how others look or for not finding joy in the things our friends enjoy.
For example, you’re scrolling through Instagram, and you see one of your friends just summitted a challenging mountain. You think to yourself, “Wow, I could never do that. She’s so much stronger than me.”
The dangers here are:
- You are comparing a high achievement of someone else to your average self.
- You are comparing something someone else enjoys to something you may not enjoy at all.
- You are defining your strength (or lack of it) by someone else’s achievement and not your own.
In this situation, here are five ways to reframe your thinking so comparison stays away from judgement and leans into exploration and motivation:
- When you see the photo of your friend, recognize it for what it is (HER accomplishment) and approach it with empathy (think of how she must feel in that moment).
- If you’re feeling bad about yourself for not summiting a mountain, ask yourself “why” five times. This will help you get to the root of your negative feelings. You’ll uncover if it is indeed a mountain you want to summit or simply another goal you want to accomplish.
- Ask yourself if you would even enjoy summiting a mountain or if you’re feeling you should enjoy that because that’s what she enjoys and what others around you enjoy.
- If you’re not sure if you’d enjoy summiting a mountain, start small by going for a hike on your own and seeing if it is indeed something you like to do.
- If you find it is something you enjoy, ask yourself what steps you’d need to take to accomplish the feat of summiting a mountain. It’s a major accomplishment that takes time and preparation.
When we move through life on autopilot, it’s easy to have an immediate reaction of negative comparison when we look through social media or talk with friends and family. That’s why it’s critical we operate more from our conscious minds, or intentionally engage in everything we do.
Engaging consciously allows for more critical thinking and processing our thoughts as they come. It leads to the healthier version of comparison instead of the detrimental version of comparison.
If you want guidance on how to live with more intention and self-awareness, check out my Core Values Academy course. It’s designed to help you uncover your true core values, put action behind them and live as your truest, most beautiful self.
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