Melissa Ambrosini on how to push past comparisonitis


We explore the dangers of comparison and how it can negatively impact our mental health.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

It suggests that ideas of superiority and inferiority are formed by the way we see other people and the way we see ourselves – and that this comes from the inside, not exterior forces.

It then places the power in our hands. He have the ability to choose whether or not we feel inferior in the face of comparison.

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That holds true to this day, and is something that directly relates to best-selling author, podcaster and TEDx speaker Melissa Ambrosini’s new book Comparisonitis: How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others And Be Genuinely Happy.

Speaking to Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, Ambrosini explains what she means by the term ‘comparisonitis’.

“Comparisonitis is basically when we compare ourselves to someone else in an unhealthy, toxic way and we make it mean something negative about ourselves, like we’re not good enough or we’re not smart enough or we’re not a good parent or a good boss,” she tells host Felicity Harley on the Healthy-ish episode

“Usually it can lead to some very unhealthy mental health issues from anxiety, depression, panic attacks. And, you know, even to the extreme degree, suicidal thoughts.”

She says this is something that we need to discern within ourselves every day.

The good news is that comparison doesn’t have to be negative. In fact, healthy comparison can propel us forward and makes us strive for the things we want in life.

“We see someone writing New York Times bestselling books, and we use that as inspiration and motivation to fuel us toward our dreams and our goals,” Ambrosini explains as an example.

Seeing other people succeed gives us the fuel and belief in ourselves to strive towards something big. Where it gets toxic is the way we then respond to that comparison.

“With social media and everything, more often than not these days, we are comparing in an unhealthy way,” she says.

“We are looking left and right and seeing what everyone else is doing and we are making it mean that we are not good enough. We’re allowing ourselves to spiral into a very unhealthy and toxic hole, so to speak.”

Ambrosini explains that there are four main categories where people often experience comparisonitis.

These are:

  • Relationships
  • Career and money
  • Body image
  • Parenting

This is a personal topic for Ambrosini.

“I used to be a professional dancer, so I constantly compared myself to other dancers. I constantly compared my body. And, you know, we were openly compared by casting agencies and directors and dance teachers and things like that. So it was very much part of my life,” she says.

She also experienced this feeling with relationships as many of her friends were getting married early and she wasn’t. And then again when she was struggling to get pregnant for 18 months (she gave birth to her first child Bambi just a few months ago now).

“I was comparing myself to all of my friends that were getting pregnant first time around, and I wasn’t. And it was really unhealthy. And it was I was in a very dark place and, you know, dealing with depression and it’s just not a good place to be in,” she explains.

“So I definitely have struggled with comparison, but we don’t have to. We don’t have to fall into that trap and we need to heal it within ourselves so that we can help our children because, they’re growing up with mobile phones in their hand, so we need to help them.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

If you think you might be falling victim to comparisonitis – you can follow her 4-step technique to get through it here.

Find out more about Melissa’s book, Comparisonitis: How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others And Be Genuinely Happy (Harper Collins, $29,95), here. Or see her on Instagram, @melissaambrosini, or via her website, here.

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