Climbing Out of the Comparison Trap

This post is one that has been niggling at me for awhile. After another candid conversation with my best friend about this subject, I decided to actually sit down and write out what I was thinking.

You see, I think this is something that affects almost every woman at some point, maybe even daily. I’m sure men have their own version of it, but I’m obviously not a guy, so I’m mostly addressing the ladies here.

Comparison. I really, truly believe that comparison is a deceptive thief that sneaks in and leaves us feeling cruddy about ourselves. It can work the other way and make one feel superior or self-righteous too.

Either way this is NOT a good thing, my friends. With our society’s overdependence on social media, I’m certain this has escalated to the Nth degree.

I consider myself to be a relatively joyful person who exercises thankfulness and is usually quite content with what the Lord has given me. As I get older I find myself even more comfortable with who I am and how God has designed me. However, I still fall victim to the comparison trap ALL the time.

It can start innocently enough. I may be feeling like things are going honky-dorey and Bam! All it sometimes takes is one little picture, post, blog, phone call, article, or visit to someone’s house to suddenly evaluate and compare many aspects of my life to my perception of that person—my looks, home,  kids, personality, marriage, style, talents or gifts….the list could go on.

A few recent examples from my own experience:

*I was invited to a pool party at another Mom’s house. As I enjoyed an afternoon there, I admired her beautifully landscaped pool area. Excusing myself to use the bathroom inside, I found myself envying her neat and well decorated home. Right away my own little Cape Cod seemed cramped, messy, and lacking in charm.

*Back in July we took a simple yet beautiful vacation as a family. For the second year in a row we rented a small cabin at a State Park, a nice week-long getaway for just the 7 of us, completely unplugged. We also celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary at the tail end of it. Well, upon coming home I decided to “catch up” on Facebook for a bit. Immediately I was bombarded with what seemed like tons of pictures from all these great getaways that other people were having. The wonderful trip we just took seemed a little so-so compared to the places these other families visit!

*One weekend night we had a quiet evening at home. I baked some homemade pizza and we watched Netflix, very content to be together with no other happenings going on. I even remember thinking, “wow, this is so nice. This is just who we are and I’m good with that.” Again IT hit, this time a day later when I heard of someone’s fun party they attended that same night I was sitting at home. Now I thought, “Wow, maybe we need a better social life after all…”

*On yet another day, I was actually feeling fairly self-confident as far as looks. I had what I would consider to be a cute outfit on and my hair was not a complete mess. I felt “put together” and was pretty sure I had a few appreciative glances from the male species when the kids and I were out and about. (Not that I should notice that or care, but hey, I’m being honest here.) Better yet, my wonderful man looked at me when he got home from work, smiled huge, and gave me a good old fashioned wolf whistle. I felt good, right? Yeah…not so much later on when Facebook (Yep, that again!) was fired up and I saw a picture of another Mom almost my age wearing a bikini on the beach. That self-confidence I had just hours before was blown apart and I felt old, fat, and frumpy.

I’ll stop with the examples now. I’m sure you have your own times when comparison has done a quick job of making you feel crappy about yourself in some way.

However, as I did mention starting out, it can work the OTHER way too. This doesn’t happen as often, but I have fallen into that trap as well, and it is equally as dangerous.  I won’t give personal examples of this one, but I’ll readily admit that I’ve sized other women up, made a quick judgement, and deemed myself better in some way. It pains me to write that, but it’s the truth. I know I am in no way better than anyone out there. Not in any way, shape, or form.

So ladies, what do we do about the comparison trap?

I wish I had some pat answer to give you, but I am in the same boat here.

What I would recommend is to seek some scripture verse that personally speak to you regarding this subject and memorize them or write them down on index cards so they can be referred to easily.

Here are a few that I really like:

“…But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

 

I think another important thing to remember is that what we see may not be what is really going on. We are comparing all of our inside stuff with what they are choosing to show on the outside. That person who you may think has it made may really be a mess on the inside, or is hiding all sorts of hurt.

 

Another thing is that that person may be comparing themselves to YOU. You know that conversation I had with my best friend regarding comparison? She pointed out that those same people that I found myself not measuring up to in some way may be comparing themselves to me and feeling the same way. I was kind of like, “Whoa, really?” Yup. Yikes.

I’m not going to stretch this out any further. I obviously haven’t “arrived” in this area of my life and am not sure I ever totally will. Ladies, we need to stop doing this. It only causes discontent, jealousy, and all kinds of ugliness. Next time we find ourselves falling into the comparison trap, let’s stop and remember all the good things we do have going for us. Let’s be thankful for all the blessings God has given us. You are amazingly made with care by a loving God who treasures you just as you are. He has a specific plan for your life that looks like no one else’s.

4 thoughts on “Climbing Out of the Comparison Trap

  1. I had to get a new phone this week and deliberately didn’t download the facebook app. Mostly for the comparison issue but it’s also a big time suck when I could be doing something productive!

  2. So beautifully well said; a necessary reminder! I have followed you for a few years now, this is one of your more amazing entries. We women waste too much time and energy on comparing, instead of focusing on Our Lord and the work that is to be done.

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