I have heard it a million times: “comparison is thief of joy” and I believe it. I have said it to many of my clients: “focus on you” “ this is your journey”. But what does that all mean? When I would speak to my clients about comparison they would nod their heads in agreement and say that they never thought of it that way but in the next couple of sentences IN THE SAME CONVERSATION comparison would rear it ugly head. I looked at myself and I am as guilty of it as anyone. The hardest thing for me to do is to put the blinders on and my head down and just do my own thing. I think that the world is set up as a comparison trap. I mean the entire social media industry is built on watching the lives of others!!!
As humans we want to belong. We want to be like everyone else, part of the tribe. It is our nature. Comparison pushes us to be better, work harder. Comparison becomes more challenging for a couple of different reasons:
- When what we are comparing ourselves to is not real. As in the case of social media. People only post the best part of themselves, with filters and editing. It is so rare that you see someone showing their junk (literally, physically and emotionally) that our perception of reality become warped
- When our quest to “fit in” and be the same as everyone else becomes our identity. For some the need to be part of the tribe, ANY tribe is so strong that they will do whatever it takes to be a part of it. Get in debt, risk their health and forget their integrity.
So how can we overcome the negative aspects of comparison? This is something I struggle with still. For me the first step is to recognize my struggle. I know it is my tendency. Then I take the following steps:
- Take a break from social media: This is tough, so much of our world and businesses are wrapped up in Facebook and instagram. If you cant completely get off of it, I suggest breaks. Try only logging on once a day, taking a full week off. You will realize that its power is only in your engagement with it and once its not there you feel free from the constant struggle to “keep up”
- Realize that everyone has “stuff”: How many times do you see it on the news people who seemed like they had it all and were so “normal” turn out to be victims of abuse, an abuser themselves, in a mountain of debt and their marriage in pieces. What you see on the outside is NEVER the real story. Don’t be fooled by the picket fence and the nice car.
- Focus on making real connections with people: Get deeper than appearances. Look someone in the eye and ask them how they are REALLY doing and LISTEN to the answer. Real connection is so rare in this day and age that you will be surprised with the answer you get. Being and sharing vulnerability will show you that you are not the only hot mess in the room and that you are not in this thing called life alone. Everyone struggles. Only the strong and brave admit it.
- Have an attitude of gratitude: The next time you feel comparison coming on pause and try writing it down.
“I wish I had a (fill the blank) like her.” Then list 3 things you DO have and are grateful for. I can guarantee that the pang of comparison will pass. When you are thankful you want for nothing because you are reminded of all that you have
- Pray: Ask God about your desires to be like others. What are you lacking that
He can fill instead. What has helped me a lot in getting out of the trap of comparison is realizing who I am, a child of God loved and made for a specific purpose. Keeping that in mind it helps me be ok without the fancy car and new outfit. Finding your identity in Him and not in the stuff or being like everyone else is the biggest reward there is! I am set apart and different because I believe in Him. It is also liberating to know that God wants only devotion and not perfection.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave or forsake you”
I challenge you to try some of the tips above and please let me know how it goes. I would love to hear about your journey!!!