"Comparison Is the Thief of Joy" Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt is clearly on to something when he said Comparison Is the Thief of Joy. Comparing yourself, and your life, to others will only serve to make you unhappy. When you compare yourself to others, you know all the dirty details of your situation but only the seemingly positive surface information about the person you are comparing yourself to.
One of the fastest ways of discouraging yourself and become trapped in jealousy and envy is to compare yourself to others.
Whether you are comparing your weight, where you live, how you live, your relationships or even your faith walk, based on the actions of others, is a warning sign of insecurity and seeking validation from others instead of focusing and listening to what God wants for you. God has a specific plan for you, and you won’t accomplish that plan by looking at others. Comparing yourself to others is liken to a movie reel, you are comparing your behind the scenes reel to someone else’s highlighted reel and in doing this you set yourself up for disappointment.
The way most of us live our lives today, the potential of comparisons is everywhere. With Social Media, we compare ourselves to the entire world with fabricated images and fabricated lives. We choose the standard and the measurement from the world around us, but this is not wise.
They who measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12 Modern English Version.
When we view someone else as the standard, we are using a very short measuring stick. It’s not to say that what the other person is doing isn’t marvelous, it’s just not what you were called to do. When we keep our eyes on others, we maintain a horizontal focus when we are created for a vertical focus.
We can be so busy looking around at others, that we completely miss God’s direction for ourselves.
To compare is despair.” Isn’t that the truth? By occupying your mind with all the ways, you “aren’t,” you completely miss all the ways you are. Oddly, the same person you find comparing yourself to, is likely comparing themselves to someone else– and they’re not making the cut either. It’s a trap. A trap that keeps you from your incredible purpose.
God created you with a mind, a soul, and a spirit perfectly suited for that which you were called.
Your talents, likes, dislikes, and quirks are individually and beautifully you! They were woven together to form a fabric so intricately unique it cannot be compared with another.
Most people compare themselves to others but seldom ask “why am I comparing myself? What's driving me to do this, when it only brings negativity and sense of defeat? I believe that we compare ourselves because we determine our social and personal worth based on how we measure up to others. As a result, we constantly make evaluations across various aspects of our lives, attractiveness, success, intelligence and our faith walk. We hope to feel better about ourselves if we end up ahead, and this my friend is rooted in insecurity. We also compare because of our competitive perfectionist nature – we have the desire to be right, perfect, or just better than another.
Comparing yourself to others can have a negative affect on your mental health. If you find yourself frequently caught up in how you compare to others, consider this.
Comparison does not help you achieve success
Coveting or envying over another person’s success will do nothing to fuel your own success, it is only diverting your focus away from your own hopes and goals.
There is always more to the story
A person may seem to have a perfect life, but everyone has challenges. Instead of putting that person on a pedestal, take a step back and consider if you are really making an accurate comparison. Many people have a habit of comparing the worst parts of their lives to the best parts of other people’s lives.
Comparisons often create excessive negativity
Comparisons have a habit of not only making you feel bad about yourself, but also creates feelings of resentment toward people who you feel are more successful or doing what you believe you should be doing.
How do you break free from the comparison trap?
1. Choose your measuring stick.
If you take a moment and think about it, really think about it, measuring yourself by human’s standards is truly selling yourself short. We were not created to be carbon copies of a certain standard or of each other. We were all created with a unique personality, abilities, and gifts and unique circumstances. To deny that is to deny that God knew what He was doing when He made you, when He planned your life.
2. Do not evaluate yourself based on what others think.
People will evaluate themselves based on how others think they did, or how their performance compares to others. For example, you are watching the 100-meter dash in the Olympics. Many people may not pay attention to the clock, but instead to who finishes first and who finishes last. It may look like the person who finishes last is a slow runner because we are comparing them to the person who finished first. However, if the average person raced the Olympian who finished last, the Olympian would most likely be significantly faster. That person simply looks slow because they are being compared to an exceptionally fast person.
3. Practice Gratitude.
Gratitude can be a great solution to fighting social comparison. Instead of focusing your attention on things you wish you had, take some time to think about the things you are grateful for in your life. Keep a gratitude journal and list your own accomplishments, taking time to be thankful for the people in your life, and thinking about all of the things that make you happy. These small steps can help you refocus on yourself instead of others.
4. Turn Comparison into Inspiration.
Instead of getting stuck on the fact that you may not have, think of ways you can achieve those things yourself. Be inspired by the person you are comparing yourself to. If they are doing or have achieved the success you desire inquire on how they did it. What could you do to move into position to accomplish what you desire? When you see others, who have what you desire, think about how you can turn that desire into inspiration and improve your own life for the better.
5. Instead of Comparing Yourself to Others, Measure Your Own Progress.
While people often get caught up in how they measure up to others, the most beneficial comparison may just be focusing on your own growth as a person. An Olympian can easily win a race against a casual athlete. But is that Olympian improving or simply looking good compared to the other people around? Channeling your comparison to create small improvements for yourself can be a tangible way to grow as a person. Consider setting goals or benchmarks you would like to achieve in various aspects of your life. This can help you channel that competitive energy into productive personal growth instead of social comparison! Strive to be the best possible version of yourself, you have much to offer to others. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Commit to growing a little bit each day, and learn to celebrate the little advancements you are making without comparing to others.
6. Take A Break From Social Media.
When everyone is broadcasting their best selves to the world on social media, it can be difficult to stop comparing yourself to others. However, many people tend to create an unrealistic picture of their lives on social media, because they share things, they are proud of but choose not to post about negative aspects of their lives. Taking a social media detox may help you stop comparing your own life to the others around you and instead help you focus on the things you care about.
Our own insecurities often cause us to compare ourselves with others as we look for a way to feel superior. I challenge you to rely on God’s opinion of who you are, and the next time you are tempted to compare yourself, recognize that comparison keeps you stuck. Keep your focus horizontal, say goodbye to the thief of comparison and move on to greatness.
What have you learned from comparing yourself? We all have compared ourselves to someone at some time or the other. I would love to hear from you. Share your breakthrough moments on something you may have read. Let’s inspire each other. On this blog we love to inspire others while being inspired ourselves.