Comparison - good or bad?

12 May 2020

Comparison is part of our daily lives. We use it all the time, to motivate us, to let us know where we sit among our peers, to make decisions about our lives. But can it harm us?

This week Bec and Tara take a look at comparison and how we use it and whether it's helpful, or unhelpful, or both!

Show Notes:

Psychologist Leon Festinger did some research into comparison and developed The Social Comparison Theory (see link below) in 1954. His theory suggest that people compare themselves to others for two reasons -
1: to reduce their uncertainty (check how we’re performing compared with others)
2: to assist in defining themselves (work out our identity by looking at how we fit in or stand out

Helpful when:
- You’re comparing yourself to a relevant source of comparison
- When you’re using comparison as a tool to detect areas for concern
- The comparison drives healthy levels of self improvement and development

Unhelpful when:
- You’re comparing yourself to an unrealistic ideal
- Comparing as a source as self-enhancement or to boost your self esteem
- You use the comparison to judge people based on limited information

What to remember about comparison:
- Notice when you’re comparing yourself to someone and ask if the comparison is helpful or unhelpful
- If it is negative work out ways you might avoid it
- Get to know more details about someone to appreciate they’re not perfect
- Stop putting yourself in places that trigger you
- Practice gratitude - count your blessings and what you already have
- Remember you can’t compare others ‘outsides’ to your ‘insides’
- Compare things that actually matter - kindness/ charity/ joy

Reference links