As social beings we tend to compare ourselves to others. It’s a natural tendency. It enables us to see if we measure up or have a standard to which we progress. The comparison influences how we evaluate and value ourselves. Comparisons become unhealthy when we end up underestimating and undervaluing ourselves and our own progress due to this comparison. It can lead to frustration, avoidance, depression and lack of self-compassion. Comparing our pain is mostly unhealthy.
Everyone is different and thus the experience and level of influence a stressor on one’s life is also different. We have different resources, personality, resilience levels, life event, coping abilities and capacities. One may react as a result more intensely and negatively to the same stressor.
Thoughts such as ‘’I don’t have a right to be extremely sad because she has been through more hardship than me’’ minimize how you are feeling. You might think that it’s a manner of taking rational and a more positive perspective but in doing so you dismiss your right to feel that pain. Emotional pain is still pain. Everyone deserve to express their emotions and seek help.
In such cases, comparisons can lead to avoiding your problems rather than finding ways to address them. Even if you feel like your problems "aren't that bad," you still deserve support and help.
So, the next time you are catch yourself comparing your feelings to someone else's, pause. Define your emotion, its level of intensity, recognize what it does to you. Do not judge it. Tell yourself that its OK to feel. Remind yourself that its your right. Your emotions are natural part of human reactions and you emotions are valid. Seek support and share your pain. When talking to others be mindful that you do not minimize your struggles or compare your problems to theirs.