THE COMPARISON GAME (NOT RECOMMENDED)
So, how are you doing?
Honestly, wherever you are on this strange journey that we are all on, it is the right place. As I’ve talked with friends and loved ones about stresses and worries for today and the future, I’ve noticed there are good times and not so good. A lot of us are swinging between, “I’ve got this” to “I have no idea what I’m doing”. Same here.
I am healthy, and so is my family – so grateful for that. Darren and a few of our kiddos are still working in a pretty safe way, my family is safe and able to isolate, and for the most part have everything we need. Again, so grateful. There are so many that are hurting more in any number of ways, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of sorrow, and that should be recognized.
Comparing our experiences with someone else is never a good idea. We can look to others for guidance, for learning, or for opportunities to help, but if we choose to compare, we will find one of a few things happen: Feeling less than or feeling more than.
I know this game well – I’ve played it all my life. Someone (insert whatever works here – smarter, prettier, richer, etc) than me? I’m a loser. Someone less (insert again – funnier, artistic, healthy, etc) than me? I’m not a loser. One outcome leads to discouragement, the other to pride.
For the last several years, I’ve been trying hard to be aware of this pattern of thinking in my life and trying different ways to combat it. I’m getting really good at finding the good in people now, so that I can leave the comparison at the door. I am also pretty good at self love in healthy ways. But it wasn’t until recently that I had more of a breakthrough in this struggle.
Let me explain. I love God. I try really hard to follow Jesus Christ. Because of promises I’ve made, I choose on purpose to be obedient to the things God asks of me, sometimes successfully, sometimes I need to try again. And again. And because I know there is opposition in all things, I am aware that there is a negative force that is very powerful trying to keep me from being successful in my relationship with God and Christ. I know Satan is up to no good, and one of his best tricks is to get us to compare ourselves with others. With that distraction, he will keep us so busy thinking about ourselves, that we may forget about God and our neighbors. Not cool.
Satan is the author of comparison, and with this tool he offers discouragement, one of the best ways to beat ourselves up. And recently I’ve decided I am not going to do that anymore. When I have fall back into old patterns of competition (in my head), I bring an image into my mind of a dark force trying to make me do something I don’t like. This totally works for me, because I am not a fan of being manipulated. I can replace that mental image with Christ (because He is who I choose to follow) helping me to love people, including myself. I have been making progress, and can actually feel that desire go away. It is a process, but I am willing to keep at it.
The benefits are many fold. Of course, the discouragement has lessened. I feel more confident about who I am. But the cool thing is, this blessing radiates out to others. I am not interested in trying to rate others on my completely dunb scale. I am free to love and enjoy the interactions I have with people, and that makes a difference for everyone.
At Small House Great Love, we are all a work in progress. I love that just because we were or are one way, doesn’t mean we must stay there. We can always choose greater love for ourselves and for our neighbors, the ones in our own home or anywhere in the world. This is one way that I have been able to work on that.
How about you? Is this something you struggle with? What suggestions can you share?
I am happy you are here.