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The Good Side of Comparing Yourself to Others

By Chris Brown

Comparing yourself to others may seem like a negative psychological trap that leads to poor mental health. However, self-comparisons can also lead to success in your career and social life. It all lies in the eye of the comparer. Below are four ways how comparing yourself to others can be a positive act of self-improvement.

It Can Inspire You

Inspiration is often found in those who, in other circumstances, might be seen as competitors. Viewing others' successes as sources of inspiration will transform your entire comparison perspective. If you prevent yourself from going down the negative path of envy (which is a hopeless and self-defeating mentality), you can instead use their success as inspiration to motivate you towards your own personal goals. Plus, their likely potholed path to success can help guide you away from common mistakes as you strive for a similar end.

It Can Reveal Your Areas Requiring Improvement

The desire to compare oneself to others is, at its core, a desire for self-improvement. Rather than others' successes spotlighting a permanent deficiency in you, know that most everything in life can be trained and developed. States of being are, for the most part, not static. Recognizing the correctable areas where you currently fall short can guide the focus of your efforts for optimal self-improvement.

It Can Make You More Grateful

Comparisons can invoke gratefulness for your own life, especially when the person to whom you are comparing has an obvious misfortune. For example, comparing yourself to someone with a physical disability may make you grateful for abilities you normally take for granted. This can also work with comparisons of those you consider more fortunate. Oftentimes, close examination of someone's life will inevitably reveal flaws in your perceived crystalline filter of them. 

A celebrity's life, for instance, may seem desirable, but the realities of a life constantly being watched and judged can destroy someone's ability to have meaningful, self-reflective moments. Noticing that even the most glamorous lives are flawed can make you more grateful for the good things in your own life. And gratitude not only improves your mental state, it's known to invoke a number of health benefits including lowered blood pressure and reduced aches and pains.

It Can Provide a Benchmark of Progress

Oftentimes, our life paths move in slow increments, so that we may not see how much we are progressing. Comparing yourself to another, perhaps a person in a leadership role, can help you realize your strides when, for example, you become a peer of that individual instead of an up-and-comer.

Comparisons with others can be positive or negative, depending upon how you choose to understand the comparisons. They can be a source of inspiration and gratitude or a point of self-devaluation and negativity. Deciding how you want to face your own self-comparisons is the first step towards becoming an achieving, enviable person yourself.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tulsa, Okla.

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