For the past couple of weeks, I have shared some things I’ve struggled with – Perfectionism and Body Image. And the third struggle I want to share with you is comparing myself to other people.
Most of the time, I don’t notice I’m doing it until I’m waist deep in this competition running in my head. This tally that no one is keeping but myself. From it, envy festers. Over the years, I’ve noticed that it comes with a pattern.
Because it’s not every time that someone shares something wonderful about themselves or their life that I feel the need to compete or feel envious of them. I hear about wonderful things that people are experiencing all the time. Comparing and competing come when I’m already feeling particularly low and insecure about myself. When I’ve failed myself, or I’m venturing into uncharted waters in my own life with a good amount of fear, I start trying to look at other people’s successes.
Usually, I look at them in an effort to try to emulate what they are doing in the hope that I will have the same outcome that they did. But it never actually turns out the same way. Of course, this just further feeds the insecurities that I’m already harboring. I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never be happy. Then, I turn on them. I point out their flaws to make me feel better. But if my insecurities are loud enough, I won’t be able to find any flaws. And I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never be happy. And on down the rabbit hole we go.
But just like the other two struggles, this one has flaws as well.
The comparison that I’m obsessing about is not my true narrative. Trying to emulate someone else’s story prohibits me from pursuing my own story. I will never be happy with someone else’s happiness. Even if the happiness looks bright and shiny, it’s not going to fit me exactly because it’s not for me. I can still be inspired by others and learn from others, but my path is the way I need to ultimately go.
The Bible warns against comparing myself to others. In Galatians 6:4-5 , it talks about worrying about the work in front of you and being responsible for your own load without comparing yourself to others. One of my favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 which talks about minding my own business and focusing on my own work. Philippians 2:3 even says to be humble and consider others better than myself, instead of trying to be better than others.
When I compare myself to anyone else, I’m doing it with a fractured and incomplete view. God sees the bigger picture, and he has a plan for both the person I’m comparing myself to and me. Trying to be or better someone else can delay my own opportunities to participate in what God has in store for me.
I still can get stuck in the mire of comparing myself to others. But realizing the flaws and seeing the patterns help me navigate my way back to clarity. The truth is God defines my worth and value. He invites me to be a part of His plan. I don’t have to be perfect, or look a certain way, or be better than anyone else. He won’t forsake me. As I continue on my journey, God will establish my steps (Proverbs 16:9).