They say that comparison is the thief of joy, and whoever “they” are, I agree with them. If we are always measuring ourselves against our neighbors, who are broadcasting their latest and greatest on Instagram or Facebook, how are we to be content with our own lives?
Everyone struggles with comparison, but I believe that perhaps the struggle is compounded for women. As women, we tend to be more emotional by nature, and it’s easy to let comparisons—however minor they may be—turn into shame. And friends, if comparison is the thief of joy, shame is the prison that locks it away.
Comparison is an extremely destructive thing. It leads to self-depreciation, self-rejection and depression. When we believe the lies of comparison, that’s where shame steps in—the fear of being unworthy. Shame makes us feel small, unwanted and unloved. And together, comparison and shame will keep us from living the the abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live a life full of joy. A life free of comparison and shame. But in order to live that life, I have to consciously fight back against the comparison trap each and every day.
Here are some ways I’ve learned to fight back against comparison:
- Begin the day on a positive note. The way I begin my day typically sets the tone for how I operate the rest of the day. Am I frazzled and stressed? Or am I grounded and at peace? For me, starting my day reading the Bible—not work email or skimming social media—and in prayer prepares my mind and my heart to combat comparison.
- Value your uniqueness. The tendency that most of us face is to devalue our own uniqueness, and instead attempt to become a carbon copy of those we admire. Instead of thinking “I wish I was more ____ “ or “If only I could ____ “, remind yourself about what makes you, you. What makes you unique. There’s only one you on this planet, only one person who can do every single thing you do—and that’s the way it’s supposed to be! When you catch yourself in the comparison trap, remind yourself of your strengths, talents, gifts and abilities.
- Limit the time spent on social media. While social media certainly isn’t the cause of the comparison trap, it does seem to make us more susceptible to the trap! Social media is not real life, but rather a highlight reel that can make our minds run wild with comparisons. I suggest limiting the amount of time you spend online and instead filling your life with the good stuff—people and relationships.
The truth is, this is your one and only life and you should never squander it in the world of comparison. It is great to be stirred and inspired by one another, but not to compete and compare with each other. Let’s cheer each other on to live our best lives, valuing our uniqueness and differences.