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Comparison effect

We love to compare. We compare countries, governments, states, cities, cultures, religions, companies, neighbors, families, parents, siblings, children, colleagues, and competitors, the list is endless. We drown ourselves in the ocean of comparison.

Why do human beings compare 

  • low self-esteem

  • Lack of knowledge

  • Ignorance

  • lack of ability 

  • too ambitious 

  • feel good factor

  • boost one’s ego 

  • let others down 

What happens when we compare — it gives rise to

  • jealousy

  • stress 

  • resentment

  • depression

  • tension

  • anxiety

  • loss of human touch

  • lack of community feeling

  • health issues

Some examples 

Parents compare their children with each other thus giving rise to sibling rivalry. Bosses compare colleagues which gives rise to unhealthy competition rather than inspiration. Companies devalue other companies by launching unhealthy advertisements — showing how their products are better than others. Sadly, academics push people to compare. No matter how much we claim we do not compare, at the core of our heart, we know we do compare. Of course, biases, and egos are at the forefront leads to comparison

Media pushes people to compare — the beauty standards set for example. Who decides who is beautiful? Cosmetic companies use these gimmicks to earn market share, and profits. Which people fall prey to. 

What will happen when we stop comparing 

  • Take 100% responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions 

  • There is no blame 

  • Live a happier life 

  • We get inspired 

  • Harmonious relationships are established 

  • Productivity and effectiveness are improved 

  • Learn to keep our ego in place 

  • Learn to be mindful

  • We learn to mind our own business 

  • Increased confidence and self-esteem

What can be done to not fall into the trap of ‘comparing’ 

  • Note- it is none of your business what people do in their life

  • Practice, practice and practice. Yes, not being able to compare requires self-awareness and practice

  • Focus on self-growth and development 

  • Learn a skill and practice 

  • Join like-minded groups that encourage and inspire 

  • Read/ watch inspiring stories 

  • Focus on your fitness, meditate 

  • Do not gossip, back-bite, or devalue

  • Stop criticizing and condemning 

So how we will know we are better than others? We do not need to compare with others to be better ourselves. We can set our standards and boundaries of excellence. 

With gratitude

Dr. Sonali Wagle


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