comparison Effect

Comparison – Do You Compare?

I often hear people say things like I don’t compare myself with others. Or they say, I never compared myself with anybody. Do you think that’s true at all? What about you? Do you make some social comparisons sometimes? Or you are a kind of, color-blind when it comes to making comparisons. Both by taste, color, and size you never compare apple with orange before?  I make comparisons with many things in different ways and for many reasons.  Healthy compassions are not bad, they are beneficial to our social wellbeing, physical, and economic wellbeing as well.

Comparison As A Measure Or Ranking

If truth be told, you will agree with me that it is hard to imagine how we can live our lives without making comparisons, because comparisons function as a reference point to many of our actions, motivations, and even our achievements. Take, for instance, the case of the economy, how do you know if the economy is doing better under President Trump if we don’t compare how the economy was during Obama’s administration? Again, how can we compare the weather this time this year if not with compassion with last year?

I don’t want to take you too far in this direction, but I believe that you’re getting the point I want to make here with a few examples. This is just to show that that comparison is part of our communication, motivation, and even our inspiration when done with the right approach and motive.  We compare products, services, schools, churches, political parties, shops, and their prices, we compare movies, music’s, and so forth. I believe you’re agreeing with me so far that we all make comparisons.

Do You Compare or Compliment?

Personally, I can look at the good behaviors of some women in a group, church, work, social group, and I will say to the person, you’re my inspiration, and when I mean it whenever I say that. I do tell my mentors, or anyone that his or her attitude inspires me for good, I will always express it to the person If I can. I make such statements generously depending on my observations of the person(s). I like to compliment people freely. We don’t live an abstract life. Making comparisons helps us to put things into context for the most path.

Making comparisons helps us to make choices, compare A with B, Yellow with Green, etc. You can remember how you landed your wife or husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend. I will bet it’s through the act of comparisons and process of elimination, is that not true? Of course, it was true in my marriage choice. There’s one proverb we use to add in our love letters those years, not the text message of today, back then it was in writing in a sheet of paper. Girls, usually say that “ there are many flowers in the garden, but one decides to pick the rose flower only”. That’s by comparison.

Having established that comparison is positively functional, let us, look at the effects, both positively and negatively

Negative Comparison

  • When we compare ourself to the Jones, to those who earn more than we do, those who live in a better house, ride a bigger car, than ours;  it could bring envy. But have you considered that even though you’re comparing up, that when you compare down, you will see people who have less far less than what you have, or where you are now in your life journey? This reminds me of a story of a man who was grumbling that he had no shoes until he met a fellow man without legs, and that made him change his attitude, and become grateful.
  • The problem with comparison, and that’s why some people see it negatively, is because when a person is consumed, by comparison, he or she takes for granted what the person already had, by thinking that he or she is missing or not measuring up with others.
  • It is not healthy in some cases to compare yourself to those with whom you are in competition. Speaking from personal experience, sometimes, the best we can owe our competitors is admiration, feeling motivated, and envious is not good for our emotional health and psychological wellbeing at all, it will sap up your joy and energy.
  • Comparing based on personal traits, many of us women, we have the tendency to compare ourselves with others in so many ways. For instance, you can say “I wish I’m as lightweight as Sarah, or as tall as Mary, or have her type and so forth. Some of us compare our families, our children, our husbands, boyfriends, and girlfriends with others. I have my daughter, whenever I want to mention any good trait I see in her friends, the next thing she will ask me is “mum I hope you’re not trying to compare me with Sharon?”  I discovered that she is so sensitive about outside people making a comparison of her, even though she does the same to others sometimes may be unconscious.
  • Comparisons as a form of criticisms, We mothers or parents, we have to be careful here too; Just like my daughter’s reaction, our children don’t like it when we compare them with their friends, or siblings. Mostly if the odd is against the person.  It hurts them. For instance, telling your child, look at so and so, he or she is your mate, he is more successful than you’re, he got his degree got a good job, and you’re still doing what? Such statements hurt some children if time is not taken, the child can internalize the hurt feelings. But let me take this discussion in a different way as to ease the tension that is already building up maybe.

comparison as energizer

  • We can use comparison to energize, inspire or motivate a person, or we use it to demotivate the person it all depends on the approach and motive.  For people to think that we are less or more than we are can serve a double edge sword. For instance, just like my initial example above, of a mother comparing her son for not achieving much like his mates. The son can do two things with the mother’s criticism of him, either to see the feeling of her mother as a disappointment to her expectation of him and use it to say to himself and his mother, I will have to improve my life, and start doing better, or he can see it that he is been diminished, that he cannot do anything else to please his mother. Either way, it’s possible, that’s why it is not what happens to a person that counts but one’s reaction to the event.
  • Another good example here is that many of the success stories we read about successful people, most of them, were fueled, propelled, motivated by what negative remark other people made to them when they were growing up, or when their life seemed as if they had no purpose. Some of them use it as a challenge to do something great with their lives to prove otherwise to people who had a lower expectation of the person at the time. The lesson here is that change is constant. No condition is permanent. We all need to be patient with ourselves, and with others. Guys, let me wrap it up here, but before I leave you, here are some important questions to consider.


  1. What’s your approach to comparisons?
  • Does comparison affect you negatively? Or does it motivate you to do better, dress better, work harder, behave better, improve better, or does it de-motivate you for any of these?
  • Does comparison beef up your self-confidence or diminish it? Depending on how you take it right?
  • What are the benefits and de-benefits of keeping up with the Joneses of today’s society?

I hope you find this an interesting read. As always, your comments, opinions, contributions to the topic is highly appreciated!

6 thoughts on “comparison Effect”

  1. Great read!  I am a firm believer that far too often compliments go unsaid and good deeds go unrecognized.  We are far too anxious to correct things when they are wrong, but comment too little on the things that are done correctly.  Taking just two minutes of your day to recognize a deed or task performed by “going out of ones way” can make a huge impression on overall work ethic and performance.  I believe this needs to be done more in the workplace above all!  I have heard multiple people getting “written up” and disciplined when things go sour, but never anything positive when an employee goes above and beyond.  One of my previous employers had something implemented called a REX – Recognition of Excellence in which you can nominate someone of your choosing who went above and beyond their normal job duties to ensure that staff get the acknowledgement they deserve for their hard work.  This is a great way to increase both production and team spirit.  Definitely a good read!.. Thank you!

    1. Hi Dave, Thanks so much for your great contribution to my post. Giving compliments is as natural as drinking water to some people, while to others, it is as hard as tooth extraction. Giving and receiving compliments is good behavior that should be practiced always. I know how hard it is to be in relationships without giving and receiving compliments as much as each partner would like to. Many don’t do it intentionally, just because they don’t know how useful it is, so they seem to careless. While some take it for granted thinking that their partner should just know that he or she is loved and that’s it. 

      Giving and receiving compliments wither at our jobs or homes is very motivating, and helps in many ways to stimulate morale, but unfortunately, many supervisors or managers, are just selfish and ignorant of the leadership skills required to make a difference. I totally agree with you, that the attitude of the management can motivate or demotivate the workers. It’s happening everywhere and every day, the lack of recognition, and appreciation that workers experience even after they have given their best efforts to the company.

      There are so many reasons for this kind of behavior, which time-space will not permit me to discuss here now. It is just a matter of being informed, knowledgeable, respectful, courteous, and loving, and caring. However, what I will recommend is that you should be the initiator, start by giving compliments to people more generously and see what return gestures you will receive from time to time.

      Good input and thanks for being part of the discussion. Please, if you find it a good read, help me share it with others.

      Until we see next time, remain blessed!


  2. Teboho Lekhanya

    Hi Favorme,

    Thanks for the very useful article! You have thrashed the subject in a good great detail, and possibly succeeded in changing the minds of many people.

    Comparison is normal, natural and necessary. What can and does make it a bad or deleterious thing is the approach or purpose of it. When approached in a positive way, with no intention to harm self* or others, it can be a great motivational force that can lead to incredible results. (* Yes indeed, there are people who approach a task with the mindset of, “if I fail it, I will hate myself for …” An example is a Politician approaching an election. How many times do we see them quit after losing, or disturbing the peace of a whole nation? And yet sometimes they could have performed better than their predecessor!)

    One of the most ridiculous things to do, is to compare yourself with someone who is clearly better than you in something e.g. always checking the grades of your varsity classmate, a person who was way ahead of you in school leaving exams! And believe me, I have seen someone completely destroy their life by such a futile exercise!!

    1. Hi Teboho, thank you so very much for your kind comment, and some excellent input you made to the post. I really appreciate it. I agree with you, that positive comparison can be a great motivation that can lead to incredible results. That’s absolutely correct, and many people can testify to that. But, where it gets bad and hurtful is one involving himself or herself with unhealthy competition or comparison. 

      Some people are just ignorant of their weaknesses and that makes it easy for them to dismiss or diminish others. Just like the example you gave, yes, unhealthy comparison and competition can destroy a person’s joy and reputation. But being inspired by the abilities of others, and complimenting and admiring them for their talents, skills, achievements is commendable because it frees our mind and enables us to challenge ourselves to do better.

      Excellent discussion. Thanks, and I hope you help me share this article if possible.

      Until next time, remain blessed!


  3. I will say that life would be a really bad word for anyone that Compares himself to others, if you really want to leave about others then comparison shouldn’t  be part of it… you should focus on achieving your lifetime goals rather than comparing yourself to people who must have achieved their goals before you…. comparison isn’t part of life try to get rid of it it only pulls you backward..

    thanks for the awesome review

    1. Hi Evans, thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it. Comparison has its advantages and disadvantages. It is very natural for humans to compare and contrast. I provided some examples of good comparisons. If we can allow ourselves to approach our comparison with a good motive, and appreciation, it won’t be bad at all. Unfortunately, many people don’t. But this is the essence of these posts, to encourage, motivate, and inspire us to take the right actions and to improve ourselves, remember change is inevitable, so there is hope that anyone can learn better and live better.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Until next time, remain blessed!


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