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How to stop comparing

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

by Kimberley Gevint LCSW-R

Why do we compare ourselves to others and how can we stop? Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy.” Does this statement ring true for you? When we compare ourselves to others, it tends to do more harm than good. When we see something on social media that we internalize as what we wish we had/experienced/created-- really, you name it-- a delicate and impressionable part of ourselves comes out. Our internal sense of security may revert to a time when it wasn’t as strongly developed. Perhaps we are experiencing IBD as a struggle and our social network is comprised of others who we don’t believe need to juggle a chronic condition the way we do. Once the comparison is made in our mind, it completely shifts how we view ourselves and those to whom we are comparing.

Consider these tips when you catch yourself actively comparing to others:

  • Think about what you are grateful for and ponder all that is going well for you. There is always at least 1 thing to be thankful for and if you have to get creative, go for it!

  • Be aware of your triggers. Avoid things that trigger a negative spiral of thoughts. If you do this actively, it can help improve your emotional wellbeing.

  • If you use social media, set boundaries and use it in moderation. Be mindful of your mood as you scroll. By doing this, you are actively paying attention to the effects it can have on your mental health. Remember that you are in control of this activity and you can “turn it off” at any point so consider making the “off” switch part of the practice.

  • Remember that people tend to paint a certain image of themselves, usually one that is desirable and ideal. Most people won’t post information that portrays them in a negative light. Don’t compare their external story to your internal one.

  • Remember that everyone has insecurities and moments (or periods of time) where they are in doubt of themselves! It is part of the human experience and social media tends to obfuscate this! Though each of us has a unique story, on a basic human level, much of our experience is the same!

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