We’ve all been told how comparison is wrong. When we compare, we usually end up in a place of pride or shame—pride when we feel better than and shame when we feel less than. And this is all rooted in our own insecurity.
Several years ago, I wrote Stop Judging Me regarding this very issue. My insecurity of being seen as less mature or less spiritual than my friends had several affects. First, I covered over any aspect of myself that could be interpreted as immature, unwise, or unspiritual. I hid the parts of myself I judged or deemed unworthy.
Secondly, my fear of judgment from others affected the decisions I made. I said yes to things I didn’t want to do for fear of being seen as “less Christian”. My actions were less about what God was leading me to do and more about maintaining a false image of myself.
Lastly, I judged these people. I assumed many untrue things. I made up reasons in my head as to what their “true” motives were. Instead of celebrating my friends’ accomplishments and learning from them, I came up with accusations as to why they weren’t as mature or generous or Christ-like as they seemed to appear.
This vicious cycle in my heart continued until God convicted me. I remember being in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, and asking, “Why do I feel judged all the time?” Lovingly, God responded almost audibly: “It’s because you’re insecure.”
At first, I was surprised and defensive with that answer, but I slowly began to see the truth in it. From there, God guided me through a process of owning my sin, repenting, moving forward, and eventually sharing my story.
The question I’m asking today is is all comparison bad?
As I pondered that question, I realized that I still compare myself in certain areas*, but it doesn’t have the same effect on me.
I have a friend who is an absolutely amazing artist. She grew up watching Bob Ross and it shows! Her knowledge of landscape painting combined with her own unique style (her Northern Lights and night skies are my favorite!) has produced beautiful one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
Now, I could see my friend’s artwork and begin feeling bad about myself, reverting to my old insecure way of thinking, but that’s not who I am anymore. My friend’s artistic ability actually brings me joy. I believe in her and am driven to support her because I desire her to succeed.
This mindset also causes me to look at people in a different way. Instead of feeling ashamed of not being as good, talented, or mature as someone else, I feel honored to have these people in my life because they have something to offer me.
Viewing the lives of these people and seeing their talents and successes gives me vision. It’s something I can aspire to. These people help me to see what’s possible.
I can also learn from other people. I can read their books, watch their sermons, and attend their teachings. If I have a more personal relationship with a particular person, I can spend time with them or even ask to be mentored.
One of the simplest things I can do is ask questions. I can learn so much just by listening to someone talk about what they’re passionate about.
In all this, I’m beginning to believe that comparison isn’t inherently bad, as many of us have been taught. In fact, I’m realizing that sometimes it’s necessary. I will have trouble learning and receiving from someone if I don’t see that they have something to offer me.
When I was in my insecure state, I had trouble receiving from others. To really receive (listen to, learn from, accept help from, etc.), I had to acknowledge my need. And, boy! Is that the last thing we want to do! Acknowledging our needs implies we are lacking and most of us would prefer to keep that hidden away.
When God healed my heart, my insecurities were replaced with hope. Now, when I compare myself to others, I have hope because I see potential and possibility; whereas before I just felt hopeless. Hope changes your perspective. Hopelessness says, “There’s nothing I can do about my current situation.” Hope says, “With God, all things are possible!”
I appreciate your feedback! What do you think? Can comparison be useful? What is your heart’s response when you find yourself comparing? Comment below!