3/15/16 – The Comparison Trap

Do you ever find that you’re walking through the day just find until you see someone or something and suddenly you feel less than? Not as good as? You start to compare yourself to whoever or whatever it is?  As a therapist I teach my clients about “The Comparison Trap” and other thinking mistakes every day.  A thinking mistake is a pattern of unhelpful, stuck or unrealistic thoughts that lead to uncomfortable or negative feelings and reactions.  “The Comparison Trap” is just one of many.  It’s when we start to compare ourselves, our lives, what we have etc. to others and end up feeling bad in the process.  Social media has amplified this problem exponentially.  One minute you’re feeling just fine about your bag mix salad and store bought chicken for dinner, the next minute you feel like a failure when you see your friend’s gourmet creation on Instagram.  One minute you think you look great, the next you feel terrible when you see your friend’s seflie.  One minute you’re super excited about your upcoming vacation to New Hampshire, the next you feeling jealous when you see your friend’s photo album of her trip to Iceland on Facebook.  It happened to me not too long ago at the gym.  I was in Barre class feeling like a prima ballerina and them i looked in the mirror and thought I looked more like and Oompa Loompa compared to my taller and more lithe neighbor.  It’s hard not to to let the comparison get you down.  Try to remember that we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  That we all project our best selves on the Internet…who posts pictures of their Pinterest fails after all?  If you struggle with comparisons try some mindfulness and gratitude instead.  Focus on the present.  Not the past, not the future, and not your neighbor at the gym.  Focus on your breath, your senses, and let your thoughts float away.  Think of what you’re grateful for…about you, about your partner, your kids, your life.  Write those things down.  Say them out loud.  Put them in a jar.  Focus on the positive.  Don’t feed the negative monster.  Be the best YOU you can be.  As Dr. Suess would say, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

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