People who compare are miserable. The purpose of comparison is to put two people beside each other, in order to pick out their strengths and weaknesses, or their differences and likeness. We regularly compare people, places and things. Whether we compare ourselves to one person or regularly compare, making comparisons is a thinking habit.
In our day-to-day lives, constantly making comparisons, it is a normal activity for us. We are in the habit of comparing, and for most of us it is normal and we don’t think there is anything wrong with it. It is a subconscious mental process, that grows in us from childhood into adulthood, we cannot help ourselves, we just end up comparing.
Inevitably however, those that compare are miserable.
Leah was miserable while she compared herself to Rachel and Rachel was miserable while she compared herself to Leah. In both their minds it was a mental habit that broke down their relationships and left them unhappy.
This bad mental habit takes two forms: 1) Comparing ourselves to others and 2) Comparing others to others. Both make us miserable.
Firstly, when we compare ourselves to others we either become smug and proud OR threatened, inferior and sad. The end result is that you set up a standard in your mind and then work towards meeting that standard. E.g. I have to be as thin; or as popular; or as successful as that person. In the process you move from being the real you (with your own strengths and weaknesses) to being a self-imposed you that matches your comparison. It becomes a role that you play in front of people, where you try to adapt and alter yourself to fit in with someone else’s picture. Your trade yourself for some acceptable disguise and wonder why you don’t know who you are anymore!
Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us, what He wants for us and how He has designed us (verse 13). He does not want us to live to a standard we have developed by comparing ourselves to other people, but rather He wants us to live according to His standards.
Secondly, when we compare others to others it is not just unfair, it is foolish. Everyone agrees that more of the same thing each day is boring. We like our lives to be exciting, to have variety, but for some reason we don’t like variety in people. Clicks form because we won’t allow variety. We exclude people because they are different to us. Comparing people poisons everything, especially relationships. Think what happens when children or husbands are compared. Comparisons will poison experiences, places, churches, businesses etc. Mostly it poisons how people see themselves, including how you see yourself.
We work to make adjustments to how we think and behave based on acceptance.
Comparing others also leads to favoritism, where we discriminate and treat one person better than another as a result of the comparisons we have already made. We do this based on wealth, skin color, popularity, power etc. In James 2 Paul warns of treating a rich man better than a man in shabby clothes, or giving preference to them as a result of favoritism. Favoritism is a sin (v9) and God wants us to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (v8).
Comparing is a bad mental habit. Maturing as a believer; includes consciously working at managing your thoughts and behavior. All of us, need to start eliminating this hurtful habit of comparing in our minds and conversations.
People, who compare, always land up miserable.
Father, help me to recognise comparison habits in my thought patterns. Help me to value myself and who God made me to be and help me to accept and value others too. Help me find creative ways of eliminating this type of thinking in my thoughts and speech. Help me encourage others not to allow comparative thinking that breaks down themselves or others.