A valuable distraction skill used in DBT is the acrostic ACCEPTS. It's the idea to use.... as ways to distract our minds from current emotional pain. The second C in ACCEPTS can be seemingly dangerous. Theodore Roosevelt said "comparison is the thief of joy." How can it be a valuable skill?
I struggle with bad comparison on a daily basis. "I'm not as skillful as that other therapist." "I'm not as good of a mom as that person whose kids can sit still for more than 5 seconds." "I don't have as much money as the person sitting next to me based on their material possessions." These thoughts lead to my distorted thoughts. They cause depression. They steal my joy.
Yet, if I were to use the "C" as it is designed, I can use it to help me overcome some depressive feelings...
"I am much further along in my career than I was just a year ago." "I have three healthy (mentally and physically) children, nothing due to my own parenting, and I need to praise God for this fact, because others, who are much better than I, are suffering." "I have a loving husband when I one point in my life I questioned if I would ever find someone to love me as much as he does."
Comparison in ACCEPTS when used correctly can help remind us of our accomplishments due to hard work or of mercy due to nothing of our own doing.
When I catch myself consumed with negative comparisons, I stop myself and think of what I try to teach my clients: ACCEPTS.
Matthew 5:45 NASB
“so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”