Day 1437: More comparisons

Earlier this year, two days before I tried out for the TV show The Voice, I wrote a post titled “Comparisons.” Because comparisons are a cognitive distortion that can lead to envy, dissatisfaction, low esteem, disappointment, and misery, I hesitate to compare today’s post with the one I wrote before.

Since I’ve been back at work after my two-month medical leave, several people I’ve seen in therapy  sessions have presented as unhappy due to comparisons with other people.  Indeed, yesterday I circled “comparisons” on the list of cognitive distortions displayed on the wall of my office, because that particular cognitive distortion seems incomparably toxic.

Here’s a definition of the cognitive distortion of comparisons:

Comparisons.
We compare ourselves to others, with ourselves coming out short. For example, “I’m not as smart (or good, competent, good-looking, lovable, etc.) as that other person.”   Or, we compare ourselves to how we think we should be, or how we’ve been before.  We might think that comparisons help motivate us, but they usually make us feel worse.

I don’t want to compare myself to other people, but I’m wondering whether others ever make the kinds of comparisons I’ve been making lately.  These comparisons have included:

  • comparisons to people who are healthier,
  • comparisons to other blogs with higher readership,
  • comparisons to when I was younger,
  • comparisons to when I was thinner,
  • comparisons to those who have more endurance,
  • comparisons to people who live in better climates,
  • comparisons to how I felt before I had my latest surgery,
  • comparisons to the time before the U.S. presidential election, and
  • comparisons to others who work in my field.

As always, I might think these comparisons help motivate me, but they usually make me feel worse.

To help  myself feel  comparatively better, I’m going to invite comparisons among the photos I took yesterday.

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Please leave  presents of comments here, below.

And feel free to make comparisons between  two  music videos (here and here on YouTube) inspired by “Dance Yourself Silly” above.

 

To all who helped me create today’s post about comparisons and — of course! — to my incomparable readers, I express comparable gratitude:

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Categories: personal growth, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 42 Comments

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42 thoughts on “Day 1437: More comparisons

  1. Oy, let them go and dance yourself silly 💛

  2. With age/experience/confidence, we acquire the kind of power that allows us to drop those comparisons…it makes life so much easier. Your posts are special, Ann, there are none to compare. 💘

  3. Well that was just a great post 🙂 Thank you.

  4. Also Ann, sometimes we compare ourselves to others and think we are better (also not a productive thing to do) ❤
    Diana xo

  5. I can’t compare your blog to anyone’s. You are so unique and special there’s no comparison!

  6. The best comparison observation I know is: ‘The older I get the better I was’ 🙂

  7. Several years ago I heard a talk by the poets Brenda Hillman and Robert Haas who are married. She compared her career to his–more than a hundred people would come to his readings while five would come to hers. He said he envied her poetry, in particular her gift for using metaphors for making the abstract concrete.
    It only now occurred to me that as poets they both work in metaphors, in comparisons, and they were comparing themselves to each other.
    I’m resisting the urge to compare this comment to my previous ones. Usually I reach some conclusion, but here I will simply let the story stand.

    • I am resisting the urge to compare this comment to your previous ones, Chris, but I KNOW they are all incomparably valuable to me.

  8. Food for thought. Thank you. But… I think that Comparing things can also be our best way of understanding them. It allows us to use mathematical tools, like ratios. However, It is no that useful to use our comparisons to beat ourselves up. Comparing may not be the fault, though; rather, it may be the way we judge the results. (Hence, one of the values of your blog)

    I hope you feel better than you did before your open heart surgery. But if you felt better before your pacemaker replacement than you do right now while you are waiting for it to dry out and be fine-tuned, your dismay at that would not be due to cognitive distortion. It would be completely warranted frustration and grief, in my unprofessional opinion.

    I wonder what pink llamas signify?

    • I don’t know what pink llamas signify, Maureen, but I do know that, as always, you show incomparable wisdom, insight, and empathy. ❤

  9. That was a great post! Trying out for The Voice, that’s big.

  10. Put presents ANYWHERE!

  11. You tried out for The Voice??? Wow. I love that show. I <3'd that song by the Porch Party Mamas – thanks for sharing.

    • Music by the Porch Party Mamas, a local Massachusetts group, was playing at my neighborhood Starbucks Tuesday night and my favorite barista there told me how incomparably wonderful they were. I said, “I’m going to put them in my blog tomorrow.” I’m so glad you loved that song!

  12. I have a pig with wings finger puppet. It has a magnet in its nose, so it remains largely stuck to the refrigerator, where it starts conversations…As for those Christmas street decorations…incomparable.

  13. More comparisons can be tastier

  14. smiling to your colorful
    liberation from the complexes
    of superiority, inferiority
    and equality, Ann 🙂

  15. I like to dance and often dance around the house when I am home alone which is the best time as I don’t dance well except in my dreams

  16. Sometimes comparisons can be helpful- but I never think it useful to compare oneself to another unless it is simply to acknowledge differences and embrace them. Just my 2 cents 😀 ❤ Hope you are doing well Ann!

  17. I can’t really think of a comparison for cripunchy moon cheese!

  18. Pingback: Day 1438: New traditions | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  19. Hopefully there was a Donald Trump doll as well. A kind of political Action Man, if you remember him.

    • I am incomparably late in responding to your comment. Because my memory is not what it used to be, I can’t remember if there was a Donald Trump doll there or not.

  20. Pingback: Day 1515: Jealousy | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  21. Pingback: Day 1591: Helpful | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  22. Pingback: Day 2028: Comparisons | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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