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:
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,
Behind your view there are other views; to see them, you must first visit the view you see!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan
“I think we each come out of the womb with some unique way of looking at the world and if we don’t express it, we loose faith in ourselves.”
― Gloria Steinem, Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem
“View every obstacle as a learning post.”
― Azim Jamal & Brian Tracy
“The proper conceptual view is attained only through introspection.”
― Akshay Vijayan
“Stubborness and staunch, they are both same things
from different point of view”
― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
“The forest stretched on seemingly forever with the most monotonous predictability, each tree just like the next – trunk, branches, leaves; trunk, branches, leaves. Of course a tree would have taken a different view of the matter. We all tend to see the way others are alike and how we differ, and it’s probably just as well we do, since that prevents a great deal of confusion. But perhaps we should remind ourselves from time to time that ours is a very partial view, and that the world is full of a great deal more variety than we ever manage to take in.”
― Thomas M. Disch, The Brave Little Toaster
“My father says that there is only one perfect view — the view of the sky straight over our heads, and that all these views on earth are but bungled copies of it.”
― E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
Distance gives a clearer view. You can’t see the facade of a building while staying inside.”
― Michael Bassey Johnson, Master of Maxims
“Unfortunately in this world of ours, each person views things through a certain medium, which prevents his seeing them in the same light as others…”
― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
“We can view life as a meaningless journey ending in death or as an evolving spiral of life.”
― Joseph Rain
Yesterday, the choice was clear that I needed to take this picture:
It’s clear that nobody should choose to try to clear that barbed wire fence. Also, the choice is clear in the upcoming vote of the next U.S. president. But is the choice ALWAYS clear?
As I chose to write yesterday, when the choice is NOT clear, that can be painful. This morning, I choose to believe that unclear choices, over time, will become clear enough for me to choose well enough.
The choice is clear! I clearly need to trust my ability to choose, even if it takes me some time to clear my way to the better choice.
If I asked you to choose a favorite from the 30-something other photos I chose to take yesterday, would the choice be clear? And if the choice isn’t clear, what will you do?
Yesterday, the choice was clear for me to post that last photo on Facebook with this caption: “Scarred for life and happy about it.”
Because I’m going to see An American in Paris in a Boston theater tonight with my friend Barbara, my musical choice is clear today:
If you’ve chosen to read my blog before, it’s clear that I choose to end each post with thanks to all who help me create it and to you — of course! — for choosing to join me, here and now.