Stop Comparing & Despairing

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Did you ever hear the saying “the more you compare, the more you despair”?  I heard that for the first time a few years ago and loved it. Why? Because we live in a world where it’s so easy to compare our lives to others. With social media and 24/7access to what’s going on in our world, comparison becomes unavoidable. One of my favorite quotes about this came from Pastor Steven Furtick, who says, “Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” How true is that? Especially with social media – that’s all we see of others’ lives: their highlight reels!  And yet, we sit there and wonder why our lives don’t look like that… why doesn’t my house look like hers? Why am I not getting promoted as quickly as he is? Why isn’t my business growing like hers? Why aren’t my children as well dressed and well behaved as their kids?  Well for starters, chances are what you’re viewing is their highlight reel and what you’re comparing it to is your behind-the-scenes.  Compare and despair.  I put this on my list of what’s out for 2015 because it can create a sense of not-enough and cause us to shame ourselves for not living up to the images of others we see online or even the images of others that we see when we are physically present with them.  How can we stop this comparing and despairing?  Here are my top four ways to do this:

Be thankful for what you have

While we’re wondering why our lives don’t look like “theirs”, we’re not attuned to all we have in our lives.  Look around. How many things are in your view right now that you’re thankful for?  I’m sure there are many things you can see and countless others that are not physically present but you’re even more grateful for.  The more you appreciate what you have in your own life, the more you tend to forget about comparing it to others.

Be grateful for how far you’ve come

If you’re anything like me, at this stage of your life you’ve been through a lot of “stuff” and probably come through it a much stronger person.  Think back to where you were five years ago or many even one year ago.  What’s changed in your life? How much have you grown?  How much have your children grown? How has your career changed?  You had a hand in all that growth and change.  Acknowledge yourself, feel proud and grateful for all that growth. The more you do this, the less time you have to think about how others’ are living their lives.

Love who you are – flaws and all

Are you taking time to appreciate yourself, your strength, and your beauty?  This may be a hard one for those of us who tend to lean towards self-criticism but it’s a sure way to cease comparing yourself to others.  When you love yourself, truly love the person you are, it becomes much harder to “compare” yourself to others. Why? Because if you’re in love with yourself, what could there possibly be to compare to?

Remember, everyone is on a different journey

Even if you aspire to have a home like your next-door neighbors or have a similar career or lifestyle to one of your siblings, your path and journey will always look different from theirs.  This is because we are all on a different journey. Each of us is here for a different purpose and that means your life will always look different from someone else’s.  When you realize this, comparison ceases because there’s nothing to compare to; you recognize that we are each here to fulfill a different purpose, live a unique life, and explore different paths to live that life.  That means there’s nothing to compare ourselves to because we are each uniquely living the perfect life for our specific purpose.

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