30 October 2015

The Comparison Trap

How many times have you done it today?

When you compared yourself to your family or friends on Facebook just now? That new sports car. That friend’s high paying job in the city which gives free business class travel around the world. That perfect family you have known for years. Or that perfect body you would need to quit your job to go to the gym everyday to ever get close to having one day!

The rat race of comparisons never ends in life, from childhood till the day we die. If we are not careful, we can end up feeling miserable for things we do not have, which some people in the world would jump off a cliff to have what you have. The danger with comparisons is that when you compare you always lose.

Does a dog ever compare itself to a cat, a fish to a frog or a horse to a donkey? Of course not. But we do subconsciously everyday. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all are communication channels to share our lives with others, along with all our achievements, favourite photos and successes.

The global influence of Facebook has caused what has been termed as “comparison depression”. Seeing that couples perfect relationship, your friends latest four week holiday, and others brand new gadgets can easily bring up insecurities, envy, anger and other negative emotional responses. Human nature is to want more of what other people have. Or in other words “greed”. A bottomless pit that can never be satisfied.

When we compare ourselves it reveals a lot about who we are and what we stand for. Our identity is closely connected with our relationships which can give us an indication of where we fit into society. This can be a good thing, but we can easily use it in a negative light depending on our perspective and self discipline.

I once heard it said that “comparison is self inflicted torture where we never measure up.” It is like worry or fear; something that causes incredible emotional stress which doesn’t actually achieve anything.

We often compare someone’s best achievements and successes with our mediocrity or failures which makes completely no sense. It is lies we believe that left unchecked can ruin our relationships and unlimited consequences.  

Comparing ourselves can go two ways, either we are better and superior to others or we are a failure and a good for nothing. Neither is healthy or beneficial.

2 Corinthians 10:2
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

At least we are in good company. Many people in the bible struggled with this same dilemma which we can read and learn from for our benefit.

·         Cain compared himself to Abel and murdered him
·         Korah compared himself to Moses and tried to lead a rebellion but perished along with his whole family
·         Saul compared himself to David and was tormented by an evil spirit and turned into a madman
·         The Babylonian officials compared themselves to Daniel and ended up being eaten alive in the lions den

We need to realise that comparing ourselves is to believe lies from this world and the enemy who will always use it against us. That we are not good enough, useless, with no value or worth.

Instead of loving people and being happy with their success, comparison destroys relationships and treats others with disrespect. It is completely self centered at the core, believing we should have what others have and happier and more blessed by God.

Even as Christians we can compare ourselves with other believers and walk in jealousy and bitterness, not realising the sacrifices and hard work someone has put in that we never saw.

To kill the temptation to compare requires that we change our perspective, remember our successes and being content with what we currently have today. And most importantly, to be thankful for what God has already given us, and will bless us with later if we can appreciate the good things we have today.

Decide today to be happy in your own skin with how God made you and thankful for everything good you have in your life. And next time you check Facebook, check yourself and how you are already blessed with all that you currently have!