A Thief Named Comparison

If you have ever been to the gym or logged onto Facebook or scrolled through Pinterest or walked down the hall past that one person who seems to have been given every single human characteristic you wish you had, then you know the reality of comparison. Comparison can range from mild appreciation to raging jealousy, and it can push you to better yourself or it can completely derail your happiness. And although you may be very aware of the fact that you wish you could change your face, your body shape, your height, your public speaking skills, your social skills, and anything else you could think of, you may not be aware of what your constant self-derision is doing to you—and to others.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Although comparison can be healthy (seeing the progress of others and pushing yourself in a way you would otherwise not do,) it can also mean incessant dissatisfaction. Because the truth of it is this: everyone you have ever met and will ever meet will, without doubt, be better than you at something. Every day you are bombarded with other people who seem to be doing life so much better than you, but you have to remember that you too excel in certain areas—even areas in which you don’t appreciate excelling. As the quote by Steve Furtick goes, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” You are most likely hyper-aware of every single one of your flaws. However, when you see people (especially people you don’t know that well), you don’t see those behind-the-scenes idiosyncrasies and imperfections; you see the image that they are putting forward. We are all a unique set of wonder and oddity. So when you spend your time wishing you had something you see in someone else, you allow comparison to snatch away satisfaction in the set of gifts you have already been given.

Comparison can also be considered the thief of love. When you are comparing yourself to others, you are hindering your capacity to love them. When jealousy gnaws at you, you stop looking at a person and appreciating his or her gifts, and instead view that person as a mirror of yourself; he or she becomes the reflection you wish you had. How well can you celebrate a friend’s accomplishments when envy is simmering under the surface of your words? Do you see that person as a child of God, or as that-guy-who-can-lift-more-than-me, or that-girl-who-sings-way-better-than-me?

You are wonderfully created, and blessed with gifts and quirks. God knit you in your mother’s womb; he meticulously placed every mole and freckle. He counted out your hairs. He made you different from every other person that has ever and will ever live. His design for you is his alone, and the way he shaped you is not shaped by the mold of society; it is conducive to his plan. Don’t let comparison distract you from that reality.