Skip to main content

"How to Avoid the Comparison Trap"

But soon after I began middle school, I dreamed of landing a spot at the glorified “cool kids table” during lunch. Here sat prepubescent, smooth-talking boys who were convinced that the only way into a girl’s heart was to annoy them to no end. These were the girls who wore the trendiest clothes and somehow found access to their mother’s makeup kit. All the boys crushed on them.

Comparison taught me that no matter what I did, I would never measure up. I could start wearing makeup and buy the same trendy clothes the other girls had, but it would never be enough to gain their approval. I fell captive to the destructive lie that I wasn’t beautiful.

Many of us have similar experiences. We’re taught to compare ourselves to others in all sorts of ways from the time we are young. And though we may learn to deal with it better as we get older, it can be easy to get sucked back in to feeling inadequate compared with those around you.

COMPARISON HAS BECOME SO COMMONPLACE THAT WE FORGET HOW DAMAGING IT ACTUALLY IS.

And comparison is not absent inside church walls. As Christians, the temptation to compare our relationships with God, ministry involvement and spiritual growth are ever-present. Comparison has become so commonplace that we forget how damaging it actually is. However, comparison can be damaging for several reasons:

1. Comparison Can Feed Pride.

Comparing ourselves to others can bring forth feelings of superiority that cause us to feel prideful. In comparing ourselves to others, we will most likely feel superior in some areas where others are weak. Proverbs 16:18 says that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” If left unaddressed, comparison can lead to an arrogant mindset that is very difficult to break free from.

2. Comparison Can Make Us Forget Our Identity.

Seeing ourselves as less than can lead to feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. The Bible states that we are God’s workmanship, and He has equipped us for every good work (Ephesians 2:10, 2 Timothy 3:17). We were not created to feel inferior, nor should we aim to cause others to feel inferior. We must continually dwell upon the truth that each human being has inherent value because they are made in the image of God.

3. Comparison Keeps Us From Fully Experiencing Joy.

It has often been said that comparison is the thief of joy. Continually comparing ourselves to those around us robs us from joy. We can’t enjoy a good book because we’re comparing our writing skills to those of the author. We can’t enjoy going for a run because we’re beating ourselves up for not being able to run as far or as fast as our more athletic friend. Comparison is exhausting and tedious, and it always leads to some form of dissatisfaction.

Alternatives to Comparison:

1. Celebrate the Diversity and Complexity of God’s Creation.

As humans, we are multi-faceted and multi-layered. There is beauty in knowing that there is not just one mold that everyone fits into. There is one Body, but many parts, and the Spirit administers different gifts within the Body. Instead of being envious over gifts or qualities that you do not possess, learn how to appreciate God’s creativity in how He chooses to bless and gift humanity. Besides, imagine how boring things would be if everyone were the same!

IF THERE IS A QUALITY ABOUT SOMEONE THAT YOU ADMIRE, TELL THEM. SPEAK WORDS THAT BREATHE LIFE.

2. Build Up Instead of Tearing Down.

We underestimate the power of our words. If there is a quality about someone that you admire, tell them. Speak words that breathe life. Plant seeds of encouragement in the lives of those around you. We’re called to love our neighbors, and coveting aspects of their lives or looking down on them is not loving.

3. Remember Who You Are.

Comparing yourself to others is a hard habit to break. You’ll probably often find yourself measuring yourself up to someone else before you even realize it, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. When you find yourself getting trapped again by comparison, remind yourself who you are in Christ—that you are loved unconditionally, that you are a sinner Christ came to save and has made new.

Making the conscious decision everyday not to compare myself has been well worth it. I am learning that there is only one Person that I should be comparing myself to, and that is Jesus Christ. He is the standard of godliness that we should strive for and ask God to help transform us into daily.


Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/how-avoid-comparison-trap#D91ukbV6RzxZiSh4.99

Comments

  1. Hi Emily,

    I came across this post by doing a Google search! I am so humbled that you were able to relate to my post, and I want to thank you for sharing it on your blog. Blessings to you, sister, as you continue fighting the good fight of faith. He has overcome!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Exciting news!!

It's been awhile since I've written a blog post. This semester has been busy--not only because of school stuff, but also because of exciting life things. About a month ago, the most amazing man got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! And of course, I said yes!

Honestly, there were times that I questioned if I would ever marry someone. Living with cystic fibrosis is hard. Choosing to be with someone with cystic fibrosis is almost crazy. Think about it; I am not a normal 23 year old. I have to plan and plan and plan to make sure I fit breathing treatments, exercise, and eating into my schedule. When I travel, I have to take a crazy amount of stuff with me--my Vest, nebulizers, compressor, pills, inhaled medication, puffers, and snacks. I have to make sure I sleep 8-9 hours a night because my body uses more energy than most, and I need sleep to fight infection. I have to have a course of IVs at least twice a year. It's hard to be spontaneous and adventurous because CF…

End of semester update

The past few weeks have been rough.

I got a cold about 3 weeks ago. No big deal, right? I hadn't gotten a cold in 10 months, which is basically a record for me. Surely my body could fight a cold off. Boy, was I wrong. After a week of fighting the cold, I started running a high fever and felt like a truck had run me over. I finally called the doctor for some reinforcements and started on an oral antibiotic and a course of steroids. Meanwhile, my school semester had just picked up, and I was down to the last 2 weeks of school. I had to finish a research paper, take 2 finals, write a final progress report for my practicum, and give really good, productive therapy. After 4 days on the antibiotic and steroids (Monday with one week of school left), I still was feeling crummy. I checked my oxygen and noticed that it was low--running at about 90-94%. I'm pretty positive the cold had turned into pneumonia. Even walking from my bedroom to my living room made me winded. It took me two-th…

A note to incoming college freshman

Recently, I was talking to a young woman who will be starting her freshman year of college in August. She didn't ask for my advice, but I gave it anyway. I tend to do that sometimes--blame my desire to help other people succeed as best as I can, I guess. Anyway, that got me thinking, what would I write if I were completely honest and vulnerable with incoming college freshman? What would I tell them that no one else seems to tell them? My freshman year was only 5 years ago, so my memories are still fresh. I came up with a list of things I found out to be true my freshman year. They may not all be true for you, but I hope and pray you gain some insight out of the lessons I learned.

1. Join a church and get plugged in to a small group. This should be your first order of business the minute you step on campus. Besides, you know, finding your dorm room and where all your classes are. Getting in a small group was literally the best thing I did freshman year. Not only did I start forming…