May 3, 2016
Recently on two separate occasions someone said, "Comparison is the death of many things." Oh man, you know when you hear someone speak a truth that just lingers in the air and rings in your heart? These words have stuck with me over the past week as I have been reflecting on the truth that lies within them. Comparing IS the death of so many things... It can cause the death of marriages, friendships, being content, businesses, confidence... happiness. Comparisons can rob us of the joy that can be found in all that we are and all that we have. It can drain every drop of our own happiness as we look to who others are, what they have, their accomplishments, their lives.
You know why comparison can cause the death of all these things? It's simple. The outcome of comparison is one of two things. Comparing ourselves can give us bigger heads and replaces humility with being pompous and proud. We walk around like we are better then those around us. In the same token, ironically, comparisons almost certainly always make us feel less then. When we compare we are left feeling like we aren't enough... not smart enough, talented enough, rich enough, popular enough, seen and heard enough, loved enough, successful enough, appreciated enough, good enough, special enough. Comparing ourselves always leaves us feeling this way because as sure as the sun rises each day, there will ALWAYS be people we will perceive as more and better then ourselves. We will ALWAYS be able to find someone that we compare ourselves to and will feel less then. Maybe it's looking at another person's marriage or family, maybe it's someone's bigger newer house, maybe its their booming business. We look at what they have and in feeling less then or wanting what they have, we are robed of seeing and enjoying the blessings overflowing in our own lives. Of the things we DO have. Of the way God has shown His unfailing love to us over and over again. Of the things right in front of us that some people don't have and wish they did. We lose sight of our individuality and how special and extraordinary we are. We forget that we are one of a kind and always enough.
With social media having such a strong influence and presence in our culture and lives it makes falling into the trap of comparing that much easier. With a swipe of our finger we can compare the perfectly curated profiles on facebook to what we know are the realities of our own life and feel empty, resentful, alone, less then, unordinary and ungrateful. Our happiness and contentment is replaced with the jealousy, bitterness and insecurity left in comparison's wake. We can let these comparisons influence the way we treat, speak and think of others as well as ourselves and with that the death of so many things has already begun.
So what's the antidote to comparisons? Stop comparing? So much easier said then done, amiright? Just as one of the woman speaking suggested, I believe that the answer is found in gratefulness. It's changing your outlook from outward to inward with a grateful heart... looking at your own self, your own life, and seeing all that you do have and the beauty it's bursting with. It's seeing all the blessings that have been poured over your life, all the prayers that have been answered, all the things in your life that bring you happiness. Its focusing on the fact that you have a beautiful roof over your head, that you have money to buy food, that you have a job, that you have your health, that you have a clean and safe place to lay your head each night, that you have a spouse and family that loves you dearly and whatever else it may be.
So many people, including myself fall into the comparison trap because, lets face it, it is so easy to do again and again. And before we know it, it disintegrates the things that fill our hearts and give us life. I know that the comparison temptation will never go away, but I pray that God would give me daily a heart that is content and filled with gratefulness for His love and grace in my life. One that celebrates my individuality and cherishes my blessings and does the same celebrating and cherishing of others.