Comparisons are Odious

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

A woman I know walks into any room, whether it is a restaurant, a business meeting, or a family reunion, and immediately compares her size, shape and estimated weight compared to all of the other women. Sadly what she too often discovers is that there are many women who are slimmer, shapelier and seemingly lighter than she. As a result she spends much of our conversations telling me how bad she feels about herself.

If you spend any time listening to the political news you will probably hear how the middle class is “not doing so well.” The top 1% of the wealthiest are becoming even wealthier and the middle is shrinking. If you spend too much time listening to these comparisons you may end up feeling poorer and more financially compromised at the end of the report than you did at the beginning. No money has vanished or appeared in your bank account. But you have been asked to compare your finances with another person’s finances.

Even those many people are aware that comparing who you are, what you do, or what you have to other people is odious. Some of these comparisons end with you being the winner. But eventually you will find someone who beats you taking over the winner spot and leaving you the loser.

If you want to engage in the comparison game, compare yourself with yourself at an earlier age, stage and time. You can also be more discriminating about what you compare with what.

For me, I would rather compare my health now compared to my health a year ago. I want to compare the level of generosity of spirit now compared to a month ago. How is my connection with the important people whom I love now compared to last week? These are the values that are important to me. Engaging in that kind of comparison enables me to change, grow and improve.

Do you spend your time comparing yourself to other people? Are you willing to change and compare yourself with yourself? Your Mental Health & Happiness will improve if you do.

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