Comparison is the Quickest Way to Lose Joy

Comparison. It’s almost as automatic as breathing. We continually look at how we’re measuring up to those around us. Are they taller? Heavier? Do they have more money than us? Are they more successful?

Even as a writer and blogger it’s easy to fall into that habit. How many readers do my fellow bloggers have? Is it more than me? Did they get them quicker than I got mine? How many books have they sold? Do they have a podcast or a YouTube channel? Are they doing “better” than I am?

Plain and simple, we want to fit in. We want to be acceptable. In fact, deep down, one of our most dreaded fears is that we might be rejected, ridiculed or looked down upon.

That fear is so strong, that most of us develop a type of radar that helps us determine that we’re OK. It is constantly—day in and day out— measuring us against those around us to make sure that we’re still on par.

When we compare ourselves to others, we can only arrive at one of two conclusions:

1. “I’m better than them” (which makes us feel superior)

2. “They’re better than me” (which makes us feel bad and inferior)

 Neither will make us happy. Ultimately, they both will lead us to feeling rejected—the very thing we were trying to avoid.

To escape the painful perception that we’re not measuring up and to keep anyone else from finding out about our lacks, we tend to distance from those we believe are superior to us.

On the flip side, when we feel superior, it’s nearly impossible to keep it from seeping into our words and actions. When others catch sight of that, they tend to distance from us so they can avoid those ugly “less than” feelings. Either way, we end up isolated and alone.

Since God created us to flourish in community, isolation creates a deep internal depression and hopelessness that leaves no room for joy.

We need to stop relying on that infernal radar to keep us safe and affirm our value.

This life is not about who ends up with the most achievements, money or fame. God made each one of us in his image. We were born with our value fully installed by our creator.

He gave us a unique set of strengths, gifts and callings. We were created to be the person and walk the journey that God made only for us. God is doing a custom, one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime thing in and through us.

When we compare ourselves to others, we are trying to measure our worth with their yardstick and we will always come up short.

We weren’t created to be them or compete with them. They are the best them on the planet, and we are the best us. Nobody else can be who God intended us to be. Nobody else in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.

“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein

Look in the mirror. That’s your only real competition.

The only person we should try to be better than is the person we were yesterday. And, we can only do that hand-in-hand with God.

When you catch yourself comparing yourself to others, ask God to help you turn your focus back to your own life and the many gifts and blessings He has provided.

As we learn to accept and appreciate this special mission God has us on, it ceases to matter so much what the guy in the next lane is doing. We can rest in the knowledge that we are better than OK in God’s eyes. We are accepted by Him! That brings true and lasting joy!

“Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won’t need to compare himself with someone else.” —Galatians 6:4

TODAY’S CHAT:  We often tend to compare our worst with other people’s best. Has this been true in your life? If so, at what point did you become aware that your measuring methods were flawed?

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