“I wish I was as smart as she is.”
“I wish I had her body!”
“If only I was as funny as her.”
Do any of these sound familiar to you? They’re that evil thing known as comparisons. All too often, I hear my clients saying things very similar to the aforementioned. Notice any theme amongst these comparisons? All of these are what’s called downward comparisons. Now what does that mean? Downward comparisons are when we compare ourselves unfavorably to others. Arguably, there may be a logical and helpful function for these types of comparisons, such as motivating you to better yourself in some way. However, usually these types of comparisons become self-defeating, lessen a person’s motivation and increase their self-hatred. Any helpful function that may come from it usually is countered by the damage it causes.
So, what’s the answer to this? It would be unreasonable to jump from comparing yourself so negatively to others to not comparing at all. What is reasonable, yet understandably still difficult, is if you’re going to compare, at least compare fairly. There will always be those that have more than you and there will always be those that have less than you. That is one thing that you can always be sure of. When you find yourself comparing yourself to those who you feel have more, are better, prettier, thinner, smarter or richer. Be fair to yourself and recognize that there are also those that have less, are not as pretty, not as smart or are poorer than you. Some people may feel very uncomfortable thinking like this and are resistent to thinking that, in some aspects, they are the ones who are better. There are over 7 billion people on this Earth, it is unreasonable and impossible for you to be the ugliest, fattest, dumbest and poorest person on the planet. That is what I ask you to recognize.
When we compare ourselves fairly, meaning that we don’t only compare ourselves negatively to others, but we also compare ourselves favorably, we are able to benefit. We can benefit from recognizing that we want to better ourselves and we can do that without breaking ourselves down. We can aspire for more and to be more like another person in some respects, but we also can recognize the features and characteristics that we have that others may also aspire to. This is not only being fair to yourself, but is also allowing the natural tendency we have to compare ourselves to be a functional tool for you.
I hope you found this post helpful! If you have any thoughts, please share them in the comments. If you have any questions, concerns or requests for future post, please put them in the comments or message me privately.
I wish you wellness on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
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Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder