My mom didn’t know it at the time, but the comparison started with her. Like most Haitian mothers, she often compared my sisters and I to other girls who were doing what she would have liked each of us to do. Despite this, I don’t blame her because she didn’t realize how her actions would affect us. However, at the time, it angered us more every time she compared us to someone. It was always, “look at Sister So and So’s daughter -she is doing this; she is doing that. Why can’t you be more like her?”
Every time we compare ourselves and our situations to others, we make a down payment towards dissatisfaction. We may not realize it, but we often find ourselves viewing someone else’s accomplishments or a portrayal of their life, and the thoughts begin to seep in. Thoughts like, “he is doing what I should be doing” or “she is exactly where I would like to be” can consume us.
We feed too much into this part of ourselves, then disguise it as self-motivation. In doing so, we allow discontent to drive our behavior, rather than inspire it. Comparison costs us more than we know.
Comparison can cost us our Individuality
We are not all made to be the exact same, or to have the same functions. Imagine a microwave comparing itself to a coffee maker. That seems crazy because the two items do completely different things. Even if they had the same functions or provided users with the same product, their manufacturers would still consider the different purposes they each have.
Comparison can cost you being different than others, because you automatically begin to think that you and someone else should be the same. We should know that God has made us all different. Wanting what others have makes us ungrateful for who God originally wanted us to be. What you do does not have to mimic what anyone else is doing.
Comparison can cost us our Patience
I may look at what someone else has and think, “what I have doesn’t look the same as what they have.” I remember an analogy I heard a long time ago, in which a man ordered food at a restaurant and waited a long time for it to arrive. He watched other people, who ordered after him, receive their food quicker than he did.
In the same manner, we may wonder how people are doing better, or moving quicker than we are? However, we must also remember that what we ordered might just take longer to prepare. We should remain patient while waiting for what we asked for.
Comparison can cost us our Confidence
Sometimes I make a comparison to determine if what I’m doing is even worth it. I use other accomplishments or downfalls to validate my own capabilities. In a world full of numbers, such as number of followers or number of true friends, we tend to equate them to our success. Because of that, it’s difficult to see past the quantity in order to see the quality. When this happens, we begin to lose confidence.
Comparison can cost us confidence in ourselves and what we believe we’re capable of accomplishing. Because of this, we begin to question whether what we are doing is God sent.
Comparison can cost us our Focus
When an animal is hungry, it preys on its next meal. For hours, it watches for the opportune time to attack. It never removes its eyes from its prey until it has obtained it. When we compare ourselves to others or become jealous of what they have, we lose focus because we’ve taken our eyes off the prize.
Rather than staying focused, we look at someone else and begin to make changes on what we have. We do this to try to make ours look and act similarly to theirs. Focus requires us to look in a fixed direction, while waiting and being diligent until we see the fruits of our labor. However, this won’t happen if we continue to compare ourselves to other people.
When we compare, we begin to feel insecure with what we have, even if we were previously proud of those things. Comparison will ultimately cost us our happiness. The more we compare, the more costly it becomes on our mind, body, and soul. Therefore, instead, let’s compare our last victory to our next win!