“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
This well-known quote from Theodore Roosevelt is true but challenging to remember. Over time, social comparison becomes an ingrained and seemingly natural behavior. Think about how often you compare yourself to others in a single day. From coworkers to family members to friends to people on social media to even people you pass by briefly in the grocery store, you probably measure yourself against others all day long.
Comparing yourself to others is something each of us have spent years perfecting. You likely compared yourself to your friends from a young age, whether it was their toys, clothes, home, or parents. Then as an adult, the comparisons shift to looks, career, income, vacations, marriage status, and children, just to name a few.
It makes sense that comparison is so difficult to dismantle; you’ve spent decades finely honing the practice. But comparing yourself to others is detrimental, especially when it comes to your mental health. If you struggle with mental illness, it’s hard not to look around you and compare yourself to others who are on a different path.
It’s important to stop constantly comparing yourself to others and although it takes practice and doesn’t happen overnight, it’s crucial to your mental well-being. How can you stop this comparison game and reach a place of peace with yourself and others?
Take A Break From Social Media
Social media is one of the biggest reinforcers of social comparison. It took a practice that occurred mostly locally and amplified it to a global scale. In only a few minutes you can expose yourself to thousands of people to measure yourself against without having to look at or consider the challenges they don’t share.
You’ve heard it before, but social media is merely a highlight reel. Even as people are more willing to share their difficulties, everyone still curates the version of themselves that they share with the world. Consider taking a break from social media if you’re struggling with comparing yourself to others’ mental health.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
It might seem like an oversimplification of a complicated problem, but gratitude journals are a powerful tool to deal with comparing yourself to others’ mental health. Gratitude isn’t just a free-spirited pseudoscience, either; extensive research by the Greater Good Science Center shows the immense benefits of learning to cultivate and practice gratitude.
When you’re tempted to start comparing yourself to others’ mental health, spend a few minutes writing about what you’re grateful for. It can be simple things like going on a walk on a sunny day or seeing your pet to more serious things like access to mental healthcare or waking up for another new day.
Talk Through Feelings of Inferiority or Superiority
Comparison doesn’t only happen in one direction; downward comparison is the counterpart to upward comparison. You likely have some people you feel worse than and some people you feel better than. Talking about these feelings is one of the best ways to work through the struggles of comparing yourself to others’ mental health.
If your comparison habits are serious enough, they can have some lasting effects on your mental health. Seeking mental health treatment may be one of the best ways to challenge your practice of comparison. Places like Clearview Treatment Programs provide a safe place for you to unpack the feelings that lead to comparison and unlearn the deep-seated, harmful practice.
If you want to find out more about the programs available at Clearview, call us today at (833) 749-0717 or fill out our contact form. You can speak with an admissions counselor who will answer your questions and help you find the program that best suits your needs!
Greater Good Science Center. (2018). The Science of Gratitude.