The act of comparison can build up your confidence or completely wreck your day/month/year. It took me a long time to discover I was using my comparison tools all wrong. I spent years comparing myself to others when really I should have kept my comparisons to myself.
I don’t mean you should silently make comparisons in your head. Rather it is healthier to focus on comparing your current self with your previous self. Ask yourself, “What have I learned? How have I improved? How far have I come?”
Weddings in my twenties were pure torture. Sure, I smiled and wished the happy couple well. I gave gifts happily and wrote cards of congratulations. But mostly I just felt sick inside. I mean, somewhere in there I was genuinely happy for them. It’s just that I had trouble feeling that joy through all the depression of skewed comparison and jealousy.
Mostly, this struggle came from the desire to change the things I had no control over (marriage, relationships). It finally dawned on me that what I could change was my perspective and how I thought about my situation. And as I examined my thinking on the happy couple dilemma I found my comparisons were based on false premises, limited data, and just plain selfishness (ouch!).
Don’t compare apples to toothbrushes.
When I start comparing myself to Oprah or Donald Trump or my younger and taller coworker that’s when the trouble starts. First, Oprah and The Don have 30+ years of entrepreneurial experience on me. Second, I will never be able to make myself younger or taller. These are things I cannot change. Wishing them to be so only causes unnecessary frustration and false feelings of inadequacy.
Do compare you to where you’ve been.
You are the only person to whom you can accurately compare yourself. You are the only person that knows what you have endured and how your journey has shaped you. Because each of us is 100% unique (first by DNA and then by experiences) comparison with anyone else is a practice in futility.
Celebrate each of your victories. They are important. No matter how small. And if you can’t find a victory, keep looking and thinking. I guarantee there is something you will find in each day. And the more you find them, the more you will notice them. The more you notice them, the more you’ll strive for bigger victories. Over time it becomes a snowball effect.
Don’t zero in on one piece of the picture.
It’s easy to compare your career with “THEIR” career because, hello, it’s a career! …or is it? Can you honestly say that any one part of your life exists in a bubble? (That was rhetorical. If you answered yes, then you’re just plain lying.) Your journey is a sum of all its parts.
For example, your career is directly affected by your confidence, which is directly affected by your childhood experiences and your family of origin. It is impossible to accurately compare one person’s career to another’s without taking the whole life and the whole journey into consideration.
Do try to see the bigger picture.
Career-wise your best friend may hold a higher rank and make more money than you. But consider the rest of your journey. Perhaps you chose to get married and have children, which made it harder for you to put in long hours at the office. Instead of a higher income, you have an enormous and priceless love for your family.
There is no way you can compare these two careers in a way that is fair. The sheer amount of variables – known and unknown – would render any comparison completely false.
Don’t think you know better than God.
So many times we see other’s lives going well and think, “Why don’t I have that, God? Why does he get everything he wants and I never get what I want? Why does that guy get to be happy and I get to be lonely?”
Many times we distort reality by believing that we deserve certain things. We demand that life should be “fair” and everyone should have the same opportunities so we can all be equally as happy as the next guy.
The problem is, we can only see a limited scope of our lives within the past and present. God sees our future and everything we will accomplish. He sees what we need to prepare us for our future fulfillment. Sometimes that means holding back on what we foolishly want today.
Do submit yourself to His will.
Unfortunately, life is anything but fair. (And that’s a whole other complex topic people have written books on. I don’t have space here to address it.) But God does offer us the same opportunities to be equally as happy as the next guy. He offers us a new day.
His mercies are new every morning.
We have a choice every new day to believe that His will for our lives is working to guide us so that we can live life to the fullest. We have a choice every new day to believe His timing is perfect. (Not sulk in our jealousy of another person’s victory.)
Trust that your joys will look unique because your journey is unique and your relationship with God is unique. To be given what someone else has already would be to cheapen the experience. Wouldn’t you rather have personalized interactions and gifts from your Heavenly Father than someone else’s leftovers?
Don’t believe your value rests in your results.
If you believe your worth rests in your actions or what you are able to create, you have got it all mixed up.
God does not need you to prove you are worthy of love and acceptance. If you sat right there in your chair for the rest of your life He would still love you just the same.
God does not need your help. He is the creator of the universe. I don’t know how to say this except, that’s kind of a big deal. That’s a lot of power. He’s bigger than your words. He’s bigger than your actions. He can make it all come together when you freeze up.
If you say the wrong thing in your next interview, God can still open the door to that opportunity. If you don’t evangelize to a friend, that doesn’t mean God won’t reveal Himself to that person.
Do accept that you are priceless.
Your true value lies in the eyes of God. He created you. He sees your heart. He sees your intentions. He sees your goodness. He sees your struggles…He still thinks you are priceless.
Luckily, you cannot do anything to make God love you more. You cannot do anything to make God love you less.
The judgments of men and women are flawed and fleeting. People are broken and covered by hurts of the past. Accepting their negative opinions without thought and counsel of the Holy Spirit will be extremely damaging.
God’s opinion is the only one worth anything. He will remain while the rest of the world and the people in it turn to dust.
|Ginny Priz is a Christian coach, writer and speaker. Ginny has overcome her own drama with a birth defect, alcohol, panic disorder, and codependency. She has a passion for guiding others toward the same peace and freedom she has come to experience. Ditching drama is possible for anyone “armed” with God and the Serenity Prayer! It’s never too late to start your own Serenity Journey.|