”Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Comparison. Sometimes it bolsters our ego, but more often than not it leaves us feeling deficient, disappointed, or discouraged. Feeling like we just don’t measure up. Especially in our Pinterest-worthy Social Media highlight-reel world.
We’ve all been there.
We see a friend’s trendy new home or remodel and think, wow their house looks straight out of a magazine! Then we look at our home and it suddenly feels cramped and outdated.
We run into someone we haven’t seen in a while, or we follow someone with a “new” body after they discovered a new diet or fitness routine. Instead of thinking good for them, we pick apart our own figure. We focus on our stubborn “problem areas” and we get discouraged. Somehow even with our best efforts, we are just maintaining instead of losing, or even more discouraging, gaining weight.
We look at someone else’s schedule and wonder how they do it all and do it all well. All the while feeling overwhelmed and overcommitted yet underperforming on all fronts.
We look at someone’s accomplishments professionally and we feel discouraged that we haven’t attained that level of success or impact.
We see photos of someone surrounded by friends embracing, laughing, and having an all-around good time and we wish we had friends like that. Or we used to have friends like that, but these days we just feel lonely.
We get the idea. We can all relate to the trap of comparison that lands us firmly in our own lacking.
The reality is there will always be someone doing more than us, looking better than us, with more than us, or with better relationships than us.
Conversely, there will always be someone doing less than us, looking worse than us, with less than us, or with worse relationships with us. But these things may not make the highlight reels we see. That’s life.
But what if we decide to flip the script on comparison? Viewing comparison as a prompt to praise those around us rather than berating ourselves. Putting into practice Proverbs 3:27 (ESV):
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.
What if we decide to embrace our power to do good?
- Say to that person – “you look great!”
- Congratulate that person on their new home.
- Complement their ability to make a space welcoming and magazine worthy.
- Tell that person how much we admire them and that they are killing it.
- Tell them we don’t know how they juggle everything without ever dropping a ball.
What if we start acknowledging and celebrating the successes of those around us instead of immediately comparing ourselves to them and feeling less than? Shifting our focus from discouragement to encouragement.
What could happen if we stop focusing on our own lacking and start cheering on those around us? Couldn’t we all use more encouragement in our lives? Then let’s be what we crave for those around us and be a life-giving source of goodness. Let’s reflect what we all need more of in the world – encouragement not discouragement. Living confidently and free from the trap of comparison.