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The Danger Of Comparison

“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou

It was only recently that I first read this quote and I find it very inspiring and true. It’s too easy for each of us to compare our lives to other people. We do it for different reasons: to fit in, to feel like we’re doing well, to make sure we get what we need, and sometimes to find out what others have that we are missing. We look at others to figure out if we are okay. Sometimes we might feel that if we’re doing better than other people, then we must be okay. But what we see on the outside is not a good representation of what other people are experiencing in their lives.

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Comparison to others not only causes us to question how amazing we are, but it also robs us of our joy. “Comparison is the thief of joy” is another quote that I think about often because it’s so true. When we compare ourselves to others, for some reason, what we often see is what they have and what we wish to have.

Throughout history, people have been comparing themselves to other people. Even in the first chapters of the Bible we see a man so jealous of his brother that he committed murder. We could easily find evidence that over and over through the years people looked at others and thought that others had it better than them.

What Are We Comparing Ourselves To?

We are comparing our inside to someone else’s outside. It’s very easy to look at someone – whether in person or on social media – and think that all looks great in their lives. But is it truly? Is everything picture perfect? Do they really get along great with their mom? Are their kids well behaved and happy all the time? Is their house really that clean? Are they always full of energy and excited to go to work? Do they have all the money they need?

Fitness app on phone. Don't compare yourself to someone based on their social media. If you need help discovering the fuller you, consider reaching out to a caring therapist today!

What if the person we’re looking at just found out that their child’s grades are slipping? Or, that their spouse is addicted to pornography? What if they have a ton of credit card debt because they are trying to keep up appearances? They might feel tired all the time and wish they could find a job that they enjoyed more. What if they are comparing themselves to someone else, and wishing they had something more or different? It’s 100% possible that the person we compare ourselves to might not be so happy with their life. And, even if they are satisfied with what they have, they very likely have their own difficult issues to deal with.

What Do You Value?

So, we know that comparing ourselves to others isn’t good for us. But, without comparison, how can we know how we’re doing? We grew up getting graded in school and that gave us indicators on our learning. What kind of indicators can we look at for how we’re doing with life? I don’t think I can offer a perfect system for you to be able to determine how you’re doing. However, one thing I do know is that it is important to find a way to feel satisfied with our lives. In order to feel satisfied we must know what we value in life and in relationships.

Once we can establish our sense of values, we can begin to prioritize various aspects of our lives – from the kind of work we do, to the people we want around us, even to what we do with our free time. Basically, what we want to invest our time in. If we know what we value, then we can even create goals for what we want to pursue. Personally, I would suggest having goals with depth and meaning. When we know what we value we will hopefully feel freer to be ourselves. There’s such a variety that life offers for us. People can find many ways to creatively be who they are and to offer their gifts to the world. When we are pursuing our goals and living our lives with meaning, it doesn’t mean we won’t look at others and compare ourselves. That will always happen. The difference is, when we are finding satisfaction and fulfillment in our lives there is less importance to keep up or compete with others.

Mom and daughter hiking. What do you value? If you need help finding out what you value in order to not compare yourselves to others, consider reaching out to a caring therapist today.

It takes time to know ourselves and to be true to who we are. For me, that has been intertwined with my relationship with God. I’ve been privileged to have worked in several different professions doing a wide variety of work. Sometimes it was doing something I was excited about, and sometimes not so much. Throughout it all, I had a steady reassurance that I was cared for and loved unconditionally. I’m not saying that I didn’t (and don’t) have times of doubt or of feeling frustrated or wishing for something to change. I did, however, have the reminder of the truth that God loves me (and you!) and wants to take care of me. He is the source of my strength.

The Power Of Gratitude

Gratitude has been one of the best ways for me to combat the problem of comparison. In moments when I find myself going down an unhelpful train of thought, looking at what others have that I don’t, I often take some time to list out things I’m thankful for. In that litany of thankfulness, for all sorts of things in my life, for times when I was given support and encouragement at just the right time, and for moments that were incredibly life-giving, I find myself turning to the only One who can give me the strength I need to find true satisfaction and strength to be who I am.

So, I encourage you to explore further on who you are! Take time to figure out what drives you, what you value most. Find out more about what you’re good at, what you like, the people you enjoy, what kind of work you want to try…I hope that you will be able to be more of the unique, gifted person that you were made to be. Don’t forget that you are AMAZING! And, hopefully, instead of looking at others and wishing you could be like them you will be able to simply be happy for them as you are happy in your own life.

A journal. Try a gratitude list to fight comparing yourself to others in your life.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Begin Working With A Therapist in Marietta, GA

Counseling is a great place to explore further about yourself. One of the best things about counseling is that it’s time fully focused on YOU! We would love to help you as you are finding out how to be fully yourself. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to offer support with in-person and online services from our Marietta, GA-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:

  • Reach out to talk to a Marietta therapist.

  • Have your first appointment at Remain Connected.

  • Learn how to care for yourself in a healthy way.

Other Services Offered at Remain Connected Counseling

Our team knows you may experience more than comparison issues. This is why we are happy to offer a variety of services including teen therapy, anxiety treatment, and EMDR therapy. In addition, we also offer life transitions therapy and depression counseling, and more all under a Christian counseling lens. By using online therapy, these services are available to anyone in Georgia. Learn more about our team of dedicated therapists and contact us for more information.

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