Five Ways We Compare Ourselves To Others (And Why We Shouldn’t)

Have you ever compared yourself to another woman and felt that you came up short?

I guess most of us have at some time or another. Maybe more often than we would like to admit.

It’s so tempting to make comparisons in:

  1. Appearances
  2. Relationships/Parenting 
  3. Life Circumstances
  4. Personalities
  5. Finances

But the truth is, there is no future in comparing ourselves to others!

Psalm 139:14 tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, and Genesis 1:27 says  that we are created in God’s image.

If God had intended for us to all be alike, He would not have created such beautiful diversity.

We all look different and have different personalities.

We have different struggles in life that develop us in different ways.

We even have different sins that draw us in and sometimes work us over.

Even Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble. (2 Corinthians 12:6-8)

We don’t know what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, but we are usually all too aware of our own.

Our thorns may spring from comparing appearances, relationships, life circumstances, personalities, or finances, just to name a few.

No matter where our issues come from, there is little to be gained by comparing.

  • Comparing Appearances:

When will we realize that not only does true beauty come from within, but also that outward beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and faces?

Our God is so creative! Surely, it would have been easier to make us all alike. But instead, He let His imagination run wild and made a remarkable array of beauty.

A number on a scale does not define you. Neither does having a perfect smile or great cheekbones…or even a nicely shaped rear end! (LOL!)

You were created by a God who loves you, and who made you exactly the way you are for a reason. He thinks you are beautiful, so you can believe it too!

(God is also 100% crazy about you! Not so sure about that? Click here for more!)

As women, most of us like to feel pretty, and it is perfectly okay to take care of our appearances and to look the best we can.

Just don’t get so caught up in your appearance that it becomes more important that it should be!

  • Comparing Relationships & Parenting:  

Although we can compare any relationships, marriage and parenting are the two that come to mind.

In marriage,  there are no perfect wives and no perfect husbands. 

But two flawed and imperfect people can have a great relationship, when grace is extended on both sides.

Comparing your man to someone else’s is not productive, and may lead to resentment and other unhealthy emotions that can damage your relationship.

Remember that you don’t see all the challenges that other couples face.

Instead of comparing your marriage to your friend’s marriage, work on making your own the best it can be.

In parenting, we all have different styles and we all make mistakes.

Just because you don’t do things just like someone else, doesn’t mean that your way isn’t a good way.

Keep in mind that every child has a unique love language. Every child has different temperament and personality. Every child responds differently to discipline.

Parenting skills are shaped around these variables, so what works for your neighbor’s kids may not be the best thing for your own.

Do what’s right for you and your family and don’t worry about what others are doing.

In any relationship, there will be things that we could potentially improve. If you notice that something is lacking in you, fix it.

Maybe you need to be a better communicator. Or own it when you mess up.

Or just be more giving with your time and attention.

You can’t control the other people in your relationships, but by being the best wife, sister, mom, daughter, friend, co-worker, or whatever else you can be, you can have fulfilling relationships. The kind that you don’t need to compare.

  • Comparing Life Circumstances: 

Sometimes we tend to think that “everybody else” has got it made.

Everyone else has the best jobs, the coolest friends, the most awesome family, and they have never experienced any of the hard knocks that come into our own lives.

This is fantasy, my friend! You don’t necessarily know what another person is going through or has been through.

But we all go through things.

I love this quote from J.M. Barry: “Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

Big battles or little ones, we all have them.

Sometimes it takes the hard knocks of life to transform us into who God intended us to be.

We were all created for a purpose, and lots of times, we have to have our rough edges smoothed by hard things in life before we can fulfill that purpose. (More on finding your purpose in life here.)

And sometimes God withholds things from us for a time until we are ready to dedicate them back to Him, or trust Him with them.

Remember the story of Hannah and her desire for a child in 1 Samuel?  Once she vowed to dedicate her firstborn to the Lord, God not only gave her Samuel, but three more sons and two daughters!

Look to God to determine the desires of your heart, even before you ask Him to give you the desires of your heart.

When your desires are in line with His desires for your life, He can and will give you whatever you ask in His time.

And if there’s something that He denies you? It’s only because He has something better in mind!

Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

When we delight in Him first, the rest will fall into place!

  • Comparing Personalities:

How many times have I wished to be less socially awkward?

How many times have I looked at my friends and wished to be bold and outgoing like Mickie? Wise and tactful like Pam? Cool, calm and collected like Carol? Sweet and funny like Sam? Or stylish and sassy like Patsy?

(*Names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent. Ladies, hope you don’t mind!)

The good news is, the older I get, the more I am okay with me. Just the way I am.

I think it is highly likely that I will always be awkward. And I have decided that there are much worse things I could be!

Is there something about your personality that you compare with others? Don’t do it! Just be you!

Your personality factors into the role God has chosen you to play in life.

Some people will be drawn to you. Others won’t. But He has equipped you with everything you need to reach the people He has in mind.

If you admire someone and want to be more like them because you see Jesus in them, that’s great!

It’s only when you compare and wish to be someone different than who God created you to be that there’s a problem.

  • Comparing Finances:

Do you ever feel like everyone else has more money than you do?

How do they afford to dress that way?

How come they can take three vacations a year?

How did they manage to buy that kind of car?

We seldom know the financial struggles of those around us.

Nor do we know what kind of sacrifices they may have made in the past to get to their current standard of living.

Or whether they are up to their eyeballs in debt.

We don’t need to know. We also don’t need to compare.

1 Timothy 6:6 teaches that “godliness with contentment is great gain”.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t dream, and plan and set goals. But simply that we do need to be content with God’s provision, whatever our financial circumstances.

Sure, I would like to have more money. I mean, wouldn’t we all? But I am thankful that God has already blessed me with so much more than I deserve.

I know that money doesn’t buy happiness, and that He has taught me things through financially hard times in my past that I would never have learned otherwise.

Comparisons can hold us back by making us feel that we are not good enough.

Comparisons can also hold us back by making us feel that we are already doing better than the person we are comparing ourselves to, so that we don’t try to be better.

Either way, comparing is negative.

How you rate as compared to another person isn’t important. What’s really important is:

1. Loving God and growing in our relationship with Him.

2. Building up, supporting, encouraging and loving each other.

Mark 12:30-31 (NIV) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all  your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

If you recognize areas in your life that you honestly feel you need to improve, by all means, go for it!

But don’t get caught up in comparisons!

There will never be another you.

When God made you, He broke the mold. So live boldly for Him, reaching out to take hold of His best for your life. Be yourself, and never look back.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *