You know how it goes.
Life is going just fine until you see a post on instagram.
Your friend from medical school announced that they just paid off their student loan debt.
And instead of feeling sheer joy for your friend,
You feel super sad for yourself.
'We are still decades away from accomplishing that goal!'
And all of a sudden,
you're comparing your life to hers.
And your life just doesn't measure up.
I remember years ago when I first heard this quote about comparison attributed to Roosevelt:
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
'Of course comparison sucks the fun and happiness out of life!'
'Why didn't I realize that sooner?'
All my life I've been taught that comparing myself is detrimental to my relationships with others.
But I've come to realize that comparing myself to others is detrimental to my relationship with MYSELF.
There really is no upside to seeing how you measure up against other people.
Because there is no ruler, friend.
There is no scale.
Just like we don't love one of our children more than another---
God loves each of us--strengths, weaknesses, limitations and all.
His love for us is perfect.
He doesn't compare us with each other.
Neither should we.
If you find yourself falling into that tempting comparison trap, try these 3 helpful steps:
1. Ask yourself why it feels important to compare yourself to someone else.
Let's take the previous example of discovering that your friend's family just paid off their student loans. Upon making this discovery, you find yourself comparing her lifestyle to yours which brings on feelings of inferiority Asking your brain a few questions might look something like this: 'Hmmmm, I wonder why I'm feeling terrible that they accomplished such a big goal...why does my brain think it's necessary to compare our financial situations?' Her financial good fortune really has nothing to do with me, now does it?
2. Notice the good things about yourself.
When you find yourself feeling threatened by another person's talents or good fortunes (or on the contrary, if you find yourself feeling puffed up because you rank yourself higher on the comparison scale), make a mental note of your strengths and abilities and remind yourself that there is no ruler. There is no scale.
When we truly feel confident with ourselves and our own worth, the need to compare ourselves with others diminishes.
Work on loving yourself and watch the comparison trap disappear.
3. Be kind to yourself.
This is my answer to so many problems because beating yourself up only complicates things, mama! It's normal to compare ourselves with others--notice it when it happens so you can get some leverage over it, but don't beat yourself up about it. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with you.
It means you are human.
Try these steps next time you find yourself falling into the comparison trap.
Share this post with one person who might benefit from being a little bit kinder to themselves.