This year I am resolving to let go of the things that don’t benefit me, to make room for more God in my life. First stop, letting go of comparison.
- Estimate, measure or not the similarity or dissimilarity between.
- Point out the resemblances to; liken to.
Comparison. For women it can be such a dirty word, fraught with implications and insecurities. It’s insidious; easily slipping into so many areas of our lives. We compare possessions, houses, cars, clothes, body types, beauty, intelligence, education, parenting styles, careers, ministries, marriages, hobbies, talents, gifts – the list is endless.
In my own life, comparison took root at a very young age. I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t painfully aware of my own inadequacies in light of others. I was just trying to survive; I would compare myself to others to identify the potential targets for ridicule or rejection in my life.
I thought that I was improving myself, but I was actually tearing myself apart, bit by bit, comparison by comparison.
Comparison isn’t inherently evil. As an artist, I compare my work to that of others far better than me to learn how to better my skills. As a Christian, I compare myself to Jesus to see how closely I emulate Him in my heart. As a soon-to-be parent, I compare myself to parents I respect to see the things they do well and the techniques that would work well for our family.
Comparison, like so many other aspects of life, benefits or destroys us based on the inclination of our hearts. In all of the above instances my identity as an artist, as a Christian, or as a parent is secure—I can look for instances to improve and grow without calling my worth or value into question.
The challenge comes when our comparison is rooted in insecurity.
It is when I compare my vulnerable areas — the ones where I question my value, or feel exposed to ridicule and rejection — that I am torn down.
In this day and age, with the advent of social media and the accessibility of the internet in everyone’s pocket, it’s easy to compare ourselves to the rose-tinted images we see of our friends and acquaintances. But no image can capture the entirety of the human soul; everything we see online is a curated vision of someone’s life.
The quick fix would be to stop looking, to stop comparing to others and finding our own life wanting, but that is a temporary fix that doesn’t address the underlying issue. Like putting a band-aid on a deep gash, it may staunch the bleeding for a while, but it won’t promote healing.
If you want to stop comparing, first you must find the lie.
- Identify the areas of negative comparison in your life. What makes you insecure? What things do you envy in others?
I envy popularity. I have never been the person who has people flocking to be her friend, and I am friends with one of the most naturally popular people I know. It’s all too easy to compare myself to the number of invitations she receives or the number of people who want to hang out with her.
- Find the source. There’s always a reason behind an insecurity. No one just wakes up one day and decides to feel inferior about a certain area in their life. If you genuinely have no idea, ask the Holy Spirit to identify it for you—He’s really smart!
I envy popularity because I was rejected by my peers. As a child, on a subconscious level, I reasoned that they must have been rejecting me because there was something inherently wrong with me. Therefore the number of people who wanted and accepted me proved my value.
- Fight the lie with the truth. Every time you catch yourself in an act of negative comparison, counter it with the truth—even if it doesn’t feel true. Stand on the truth regardless of what your wounds or your feelings are telling you.
God has a lot to say on the subject of value and worth. A lot. I like to remind myself that I am never forsaken in Him; that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that He created me in His image and likeness.
- Stop speaking it out. Tell people you trust about the lie you are working to destroy. Ask them to remind you if and when you speak it out loud.
Early into our marriage, my husband pointed out to me that frequently I would ask some variation of the question “what’s wrong with me?”, so he banned it from our household, telling me, “There’s nothing wrong with you, so you need to stop asking that.” Once I stopped speaking that aloud, it was a lot easier to believe the truth.
You have value. Not because of what you do or don’t do, not because of who you know or how you act or who you are.
You have value because God, the only Perfect Being, was willing to come to earth and pay the price for you—not the person you want to be, the person you are—ugly parts and all. He paid the same price for every single person, whether they will accept Him or not, so He truly cherishes all of us the same—He has no favorite children.