Beauty, Christianity, Family, Friendship, Love, Practical Living

Death by Comparison

photo cred: tonhyakaeblog.com
photo cred: tonhyakaeblog.com

This Pintrest quote is definitely one of my favorites. Some Pintrest quotes are really cheesy, “Hallmark-y” and feel good, but this one is true.

My whole life I have played the game of comparison. It plagues most women. My friend Paige told me once that whenever a beautiful woman walks into a room, everyone notices. A man notices and is forced with the choice of whether or not to check her out, and a woman notices and is presented with the choice of whether or not she will endlessly compare herself to that woman. It was so true, and I’ve never forgotten it.

Many women think: Why can’t I have hair like her? How did she get her stomach so flat? I want abs like that. I wish I were taller like she is..(insert anything here).

But it’s not just looks, I am tempted to compare EVERYTHING.
Why can’t I make cookies like that she can? If only we could afford a slightly bigger house like those people? Why can’t I get pregnant as fast as she can? Why does she seem to make friends easily when I am so awkward? Why does their family get along better than mine? Why am I not as encouraging as she is? Why is she a better teacher than I am? Why is she a more gracious mother?

That type of life is a prison! It’s death by comparison.

I’m unable to live my life freely and be content because I am always measuring myself up to everyone. If I think I’m better at something, I get prideful. If I measure myself against someone else and I have less of something than another person does, then I am prone to despair.

What many people say then, is “stop comparing yourself to others because you are great the way you are!” “You are unique and amazing.” I believe that God created each of us, and that gives us incredible value. We have worth because we are made in his image, but I think this type of advice stops short. It misses the mark in a big way.

Comparison is not just the thief of joy because it keeps me from being content or it makes me jealous. Hyper comparison is the ultimate narcissism.

Think about it: if you compare everyone to yourself, you are the measuring stick. You are the center. In short—you see everyone in relation to you. It’s all about you. You can’t possibly appreciate someone else’s talents and gifts because you are too busy worrying about whether or not you measure up to them.

Constantly placing myself at the center of my world is my thief of joy. It isn’t about me. God is the center. He is what gives life true purpose. He is the one that created me uniquely and you uniquely, but he didn’t make us to live life comparing ourselves to others. He created diverse people so that we could be thankful for the different ways we are made.

I’ve been a narcissistic chronic comparer for too long (26 years) to fix this problem overnight. I need grace, and I screw up. In fact, if I know you, I’m sure I’ve compared myself to you at one point. In that moment, I forfeited the opportunity to admire and enjoy your strengths and talents. I forfeited the opportunity to see how you uniquely display aspects of Christ. Instead of being thankful for who you are, I was too consumed in my comparison game.

So, when I’m tempted to compare myself to others or find myself feeling insecure, I’ve started praying that God would help me to be thankful for the strengths of that individual. I’m glad that I have crazy beautiful friends. Their beauty points to the most beautiful one Christ. I’m thankful I have friends who take lovely photos, paint great paintings, tend bountiful gardens, sew wonderful things, write wonderful things, play beautiful songs because creating honors God. I’m glad that others are more able mothers than I am. They are more patient, and in that patience they point to Jesus. It is a challenge to me in the best way. I’m glad others are better cooks that I am, I get to eat their food and enjoy their hospitality. I wouldn’t be able to really appreciate any of these things if I was comparing myself to them incessantly.

Even in the few short months of this process more joy has come from admiring others than the hyper comparision. I’ve been pointed to Christ and encouraged by the way he has created each person uniquely. I’m not perfect. I still am prone to making myself the measuring stick, but I’m praying that God changes my heart and opens my eyes to the beauty and strengths of others.

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6 thoughts on “Death by Comparison”

  1. Such a brave and honest post. Comparison is a trap we so easily fall into, it means we fail to recognise our own qualities and therefore we become ineffective and it means we tend to isolate ourselves from others rather than teaming up and working together – embracing our different skill sets and using them for the greater good.

  2. This is so true. The selfishness of constantly comparing oneself is a conversation me and my husband frequently have. Thank you for writing what it is exactly with such clarity.

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