Do you struggle with comparison? Learning to value yourself and not give into the mental game of comparing yourself to others can be tricky. And that’s why we sat down with psychotherapist Julia Hogan to get some input on how you can overcome comparison when you live with vitiligo.
A licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Chicago, Julia counsels clients in areas such as depression, relationships, confidence and body image. She also writes for the women’s magazine Verily and hosts wellness workshops on topics like overcoming depression, setting boundaries and staying grounded. Needless to say, chatting about how to overcome comparison was just up her alley.
Let’s start by pointing out two things about comparison. First, comparison is natural. Everyone compares themselves to everyone else, even those without vitiligo. So comparison isn’t a problem because you have vitiligo, but it might be something that you struggle with more than the average person because of your vitiligo. In fact, it’s so natural that you might not even realize it slipping into your subconscious before you’re suddenly filled with feelings of self-doubt.
Second, comparison is a slippery slope because there will always be something that you can’t have. As Julia said, “You can be happy with what you have, but once you start comparing yourself to others, there will always be something you don’t have – no one has it all.”
So why is comparison so harmful? It’s because the logic behind comparison is flawed.
“Comparing yourself to others isn’t fair to yourself,” said Julia. “Your looks have nothing to do with other people. How someone else looks doesn’t detract from you – you’re still you.”
In other words, comparison isn’t a healthy way of approaching your own body because your body isn’t impacted by how others looks. It’s a logically flawed system. And yet emotionally, we continuously let it tear us apart anyway.
So how do you overcome comparison in your life? It’s something that takes time and practice, but here are a few tips to get you started on a better track:
Start building positivity within your own life.
Confidence is key to overcoming comparison. When you feel more confident, you are less likely to let comparison overtake your thoughts. So start by building positivity into your life in intentional ways. Follow body-positive influencers on social media. Start a positivity journal and write down three things you’re thankful for or happy about each day. Or start a scrapbook with pictures that you love of yourself. The important piece is that you start something that builds a habit of positive thinking in your life.
Limit the opportunity for comparison to creep in.
Another strategy is to limit the opportunity for comparison in the first place. This means being aware of the situations in which you are more likely to compare yourself to others and then taking steps to decrease those instances. For example, social media is a space where comparison can easily find its way in. Try putting intention into your social by only getting on your accounts for specific purposes or limiting the amount of time you spend mindlessly scrolling through content. You can also think about how you interact in social situations. For example, when you go out to eat, put your back towards the room so you can focus on the people you’re with and decrease your tendency to compare yourself to random strangers.
Switch out comparison for compliments.
And if comparison does start to creep in – stop it! Once you recognize that you are starting to compare, you have the option to switch gears to a more positive action. For example, when you see someone and start to feel bad about yourself, you can either verbally or mentally offer a compliment to that person. It takes the focus off of you and onto them in a way that makes you feel good. You can also try naming one thing you like about yourself to remind yourself that you are your own person.
“Choose to be positive towards others,” said Julia. “By offering others compliments, you’re lifting them up instead of perpetuating your own judgements.”
Are you going to try any of these? Tell us in the comments below.
Disclaimer: These tips are general advice only and are not meant to be taken as therapeutic advice. For more information, visit https://juliamariehogan.com/.
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.