Thursday, June 21, 2012

Comparison vs Compassion

When is the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back? More than likely you have engaged in comparing yourself to others or to a standard of how you "should be", highlighting your weaknesses. However you most likely have not taken a moment to highlight your strengths. Why not turn over a new leaf and start treating yourself with a little compassion?

The habit of comparison is very common and most of us do it on a regular basis. Some comparison is natural; the problem comes in when we compare ourselves in a negative way. Because someone is better at communicating they must be more intelligent than us. Because someone has a better job than us, they must be more successful than us. Because someone has smarter children than ours, they must be more worthy of respect than us. Because someone has a large family, they must be more worthy of love than us. This way of thinking continually drains our confidence and leaves us feeling inadequate and unworthy.

Quit the comparison game and replace it with compassion. Compassion is a way of relating to yourself with kindness and support. Think of how you treat a close friend or a child that is struggling. Too often we speak to ourselves in a harsh tone - Why did I say that? I'm an idiot! Don't be so hard on yourself and ask yourself, would I speak to my best friend that way?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to start replacing comparison with compassion:
  • Am I comparing just one quality of me and ignoring the rest?
  • Am I discounting my strengths and the areas where I excel?
  • Am I only focused on the best and most impressive parts of this other person?
Whenever you notice that you are comparing yourself to others, gently remind yourself that you do not want to fall into the comparison game and replace it with self-compassion.

How do you treat yourself with compassion?