clouds and sunlight

the comparison game

comparison game
there are winners and losers
juddgement can follow
the comparison game offers up its own bag of tricks. perhaps the comparison trap would be a better name for it.

comparisons, always lead to something or someone being better than someone else or something else. i like timmy better than gertrude or i like ice cream better than eggplant. these just seem like a simple expression of preference. for a second, put yourself in gertude’s shoes as she heard you say that. imagine for a second, if eggplant had feelings. i know that would be a stretch, but suddenly eggplant would feel less than ice cream.
an even more potentially damaging comparison happens when someone compares themselves with another person. no matter what, someone wins, being on the better end of the comparison, and someone loses, being on the worse end of the comparison. depressed people, at times, find it to easy to put ourselves on the worse end of the comparison. when that happens, it usually ends up with some chink in our self-worth. the, “suzy did better than me.”,  gets an amendment, “that makes me such a loser.”
even putting yourself at the better side of the comparison comes fraught with potential problems. what if  bertha heard you say, “i got more points that bertha. ”that’s just a way of saying, i’m better than bretha, potentially making gertrude feel less compared to you but also about herself.
even putting yourself on the worse end of the comparison can me messy. one that i currently struggle with, “my brother is getting better care than me from my family.” while true, in this case, the comparison adds excess baggage it creates additional negative feelings toward my brother.
the final comparison has its own set of traps; i’ll call it a timeline comparison. my friend reminded me recently of the dangers of this one. she had just finished up some ect treatments. i had found, though not completely better from her depressive struggles, some of her actions and behaviors indicated improvement. i made the statement, “in some areas, i see you doing much better than before,” and then enumerated them, including the ability to hold a conversation. harmless enough, right? she couldn’t or didn’t see the improvements that i saw, no matter how hard she tried. her thought’s wandered to, “what am i doing wrong? i don’t see the improvements. i must be broken in some way.”
so, comparisons always have a winner and a loser. while being a winner may feel wonderful, being a loser feels equally wonderful, except in the opposite direction.
leave comparisons!
get replaced with absolutes
judgement’s chance decrease
comparisons, and winner/loser scenario that inevitably follow, can still be beat. it only takes a change in mind set. instead of falling back on comparisons, use absolutes and make them “i” statements. “i really like timmy.” gerturude is less likely to feel the comparison and the judgement that goes with it. “i like ice cream.” now the purple headed vegetable might feel less self conscience. “i am happy with the number of points i got.” again, bertha is less likely to feel the comparison and the judgment that may follow. what about, “my family is really offering me sh*tty support”, why is this better? the resentment i might feel against my brother has been reduced or eliminated. and finally, “i really enjoyed the conversation i had with you.” gone is the comparison and the judgements that go with it , and in this case, replaced by something the other person may even give them happy feelings.
the comparison game and the traps that come with it, by its very nature, ends up with a winner and a loser. along with that comes a fair amount of judgement; while the winner can go away triumphant, the loser often goes away defeated. by taking away the comparison and replacing them with absolutes, the chance of judgements are minimized. and with a reduced chance of judgements, i believe, the world is a better, happier place. won’t you join be in this happier better place?

3 thoughts on “the comparison game

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