“To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which
any human being can fight – and never stop fighting.”
There is actually scientific proof that it is within our human nature to wonder how we measure up to other people. This concept, the Social Comparison Theory, states:
“We determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. As a result, we are constantly “self” and “other” evaluating ourselves against a variety of domains (i.e., attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, success).” Leon Festinger goes on to say, “There is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations.”
In considering silencing the voice of comparison, the question begs to be asked…If there is a drive within us to gain accurate self-evaluations, could the problem be that we are evaluating ourselves against the wrong thing? Are we evaluating ourselves against others, when we should be evaluating ourselves against OURSELVES?
As children, we didn’t start comparing ourselves against others until someone or something told us we needed to be different. This is when we bought into the lie that we didn’t measure up or that we weren’t good enough. Why isn’t my hair like hers? Why can’t I run as fast as the other kids? Why does everyone seem to like her (or him) more than they like me?
Could this inherit need be met in a healthier way, resulting in empowerment, rather than paralysis, if we honestly transitioned to comparing ourselves (who we are/who we are not) against ourselves, rather than others?
Recently I asked the question (via Facebook), “In what ways do you compare yourself to others?” The responses, from both men and women, were extremely revealing and including such things as financial stability, talent, relationships, vacations, body, hair, health, fertility, number of children, success of children and/or family, relationship with God, knowledge of spiritual matters, etc. The list went on and on.
Although the most thought of root of comparison is most often that of insecurity, I believe there is a deeper need, or issue, that begs to be explored. Rather than insecurity, could comparison actually be driven by the God-given need to be LOVED and BELONG? And if so, how can we get off this perpetual gerbil wheel and transition to a place of not only being “okay” with who we are, but actually LOVING and CELEBRATING ourselves, enabling us to actually compare ourselves against our individual selves?
In the past, with good and truthful intent, we have been told the answer is to “Believe you are who God says you are.” Although true, I would submit to you there is a foundational issue that must first be dealt, as what derails this entire concept is that we don’t believe that who Christ says we are is actually enough.
So how do we own and believe that who Christ says we are is enough? How do we become satisfied, even celebratory of ourselves, ultimately creating a satisfaction resulting in freedom from comparison? How can we embrace that the way this plays out in my life, doesn’t look the same as yours, therefore I can’t compare myself with you, only myself – who God has created ME to be?
We all have insecurities…whether we want to admit it or not. If you’re one of the few that says you have absolutely no insecurities, I would humbly challenge you. Why? Because you’re human. Therefore, there will be times of insecurity - if not today, then tomorrow, or the next day.
The truth is that although we may never be able to completely obliterate the dragon of comparison, we can rise above this demonic monster by becoming COMPARISON RESILENT – silencing the incessant whisper that wants to take us down.
But to be able to do this we must learn how to:
Embrace who we are;
Embrace who we are not;
Believe in ourselves;
Embrace our limits;
Celebrate EVERY part of ourselves;
Break the measuring stick;
And finally – BELIEVE who God says we are is more than enough.
God’s Word boldly declares that we are not only His masterpiece, but that we are wanted, needed, loved, designed, destined, gifted, empowered, capable, beautiful, and that we belong to the Family of God.
Scripture is ALSO clear that we were made for different purposes; that we all have different seasons; and that we are not all the same.
If the latter is true, that we are all different, how can we compare ourselves against others?
Therefore, the first key to becoming COMPARISON RESILIENT is not only owning and believing who we are, but doing with the same with WHO WE ARE NOT.
For instance…if I’m no longer in my twenties, how can I compare myself with someone in their twenties? Their wrinkleless face, toned bodies, energy level, even opportunities, are different that mine. Although they may be able to kill the treadmill in a way that I am no longer capable, I have greater wisdom and insight, enabling me to navigate and enjoy life in a different way. Therefore, I must own that I am no longer a young woman – but rather a more mature and hopefully wiser woman, who can hopefully encourage, model and assist those who are behind me.
I must then compare myself with myself: How can I be the most healthy, free, resilient 53-year-old that I can be? How can I allow God to utilize my experience, passions, physical health and energy level (or lack thereof), position, abilities and inabilities, in a way that will love Him, serve others, and those around me better?
Comparing ourselves against ourselves strengthens, frees and empowers. Comparing ourselves against others enslaves and paralyzes, as it is “meaningless, like the chasing of the wind.”
All this stated, this week, let’s think about the following:
God, who do you say I am?
Who am I not?
How can I embrace this specific season of my life?
Let's begin to take baby-steps in owning not only who you are, but who you’re not – not with resignation, but rather gratefulness and thanksgiving.
It's both a small, as well as huge and courageous step! Let's make it count!
As always, thank you for reading, sharing and subscribing! Please let me know how you are doing on your journey!