Monday, August 29, 2011

Compared to What?

If someone figures out why we have such a desperate need to compare ourselves all the time, please let me know.  Then maybe I can figure out how to stop doing it.

I have to really be careful how often I get on facebook, because facebook is a great place to get a comparison blow to the gut (especially depending on how my emotional outlook is at that moment).

"Look, here I am single, and there's my old roomie in her birthday pic (turning the same age as me), surrounded by her five beautiful smiling children."

Facebook: 1,354
Me: 0

I should know better than to get on there.

Or I go to the pool to try to take care of some of my crazy hiking tan lines.  And become immediately insecure as I am surrounded by bikini babes with way fewer tan lines, not to mention fewer bulges.

Or this blogger writes so much better or has so many more followers or whatever.

Or I look at how beautifully some people decorate their houses and think about how my apartment is barely thrown together.

It goes on and on, this tiresome list.

Maybe I should remember the wise words that this blogger posted.

Why should I let comparison steal my joy?  So maybe I live in an apartment that's not all that grand.  I have a roof over my head, and the lack of decoration is something that I could easily do something about if I put my mind to it.  If I'd rather spend my time doing other things, then I guess I'd better not worry too much about it.

My blog is a place for me to write what I want.  I don't always worry about my grammar.  I'm not trying to launch a writing career.  I'm just hanging out, and I enjoy anyone that wants to hang out with me.  That's really all that matters.  Why should I worry about how much better someone else writes?  Thank goodness they're writing and I get to read it.

And the bikini babes!  I do compare myself to them, but why?  I don't even want to be like them.  There is such a thing as too skinny, and I'm okay with the fact that I don't have time for the perfect tan.  Why should I worry about something that wouldn't even matter to me if I wasn't looking at them? (Hello, we will never be satisfied on this count.  I actually am in good shape, but it's amazing how the insecurity can remain sometimes.)

As for the former roomie and her beautiful family?  That's a tough one.  That's much tougher than all the other ones put together, but the fact of the matter is that it's her family.  I don't want her family and whatever part of me that I will have to bring to a family will be shaped in part by this time in my life, and that's not all bad either.  I also need to remember that she could just as easily look at my pictures and wish for a free weekend to wander around in the mountains and take pictures.  We can always think someone else has it better than we do.

In the end, I don't want to live life trying to get that one thing that will finally make me happy.  No matter what that "one thing" (marriage, children, a house, the perfect job, the perfect body, whatever) is, it can change.  When you get something you want, there is always something you still don't have. Joy is not in all of those things.  I think joy can only be found in the here and now.  I'm not saying I can always find it, or that I always even want to find it, but I'm at least trying to recognize that it's not in a far off place at the end of a rainbow of happiness.  It's in the here and now.

A little thing that brings me joy.


  1. Well, this was the most beautiful, and true, thing I have read all week! You are really something, special - really. I'm still so thankful for your prayers for me.
    AS for love and marriage: If you keep praying and know you are right with the Lord and that hole in your heart is still there, then you know marriage and family life is your vocation, and, if you vocation is from God (which it is) then He is going to give you everything you need to live out that vocation (ie- the MAN :)
    Now, I know all that sounds all fine and good from a married women, but I promise you, the Lord will provide all you need. BIG HUGS!!!
    Ps - I am the queen of compare! Ugg. It's really a problem :(

  2. Thank-you for this today. As Holly said, beautiful and true.

    And I love the photo!

  3. Oh, that's a demon beast. Comparison. Yuck!

    I feel like Facebook is on a down swing, kind of going the way of Myspace. It's like our generation's Rolodex. haha.

    LOVE the SUNFLOWER! This post made my morning! :)

  4. Beautiful...I echo Holly's comment! I think you write beautifully and I love coming here to check out what you have to say. You are a breath of fresh air! Another saying about comparison that I try to remind myself of is "to compare is to despair". How often I get caught in that trap though. Hey, on a totally different topic - do you mind if I use that pic of the sunflower as my desktop background? I LOVE IT!!

  5. Beautiful post!! It's all to easy to get sucked into comparing ourselves to others and honestly the only person that gets hurt is us! No fun! I'm praying for you!!!

  6. I must tell you that I love reading your posts. You have had an impact on me through your don't stop! The ugly beast of "comparison" is a tough one to overcome....unfortunately no words of wisdom as I battle it too.

  7. Thanks friend! It is all So true! Just like when u make more money u will always spend that extra money!

  8. Needed to read this today! I've been struggling with this very thing after getting together with childhood friends this past weekend. So thank you for taking on this subject.

  9. that quote was the best blog quote ever i fitting for so many situations!

    and facebook should have a lock button when i'm feeling vulnerable to giving away my joy...

  10. oh, how beautiful and moving and true. Thank you for your honesty and your insight. I struggle with this exact issue. When ever I'm comparing myself to someone who has something I don't, I try to immediately remember a specific person who doesn't have that and remind myself that they are just as valuable, loveable and full of joy. It's a constant struggle and I wonder if it will be lifelong or if it will leave. I hope it leaves ;) I hope it leaves you too. By the way, I love your writing!

  11. Beautifully said! I've been struggling with this so much lately, and it is HARD!

  12. Umm, what Holly said. :) And I loved this reflection. Loved it!! I am sooooo bad at the comparison game. So bad. I grew up in a fam where for some reason it was always there (not my parents fault at all... it's just human nature I guess). I like how you analyzed it... do we really want what others' have? Really??? God has a beautiful plan for your life (and mine) that is unique.

  13. And as an editor... I get a lot of submissions from professional writers. This post is cleaner and more articulate than a lot of what is submitted to me. :) Good writing!

  14. So true...I love this post. Especially the last paragraph. As long as we spend our lives trying to "get things" we will always be thinking about what we don't have!

    And those "bikini babes" that you (and I too! I admit it!) compare ourselves to? They probably compare themselves to someone too! Chances are that getting these things we compare would just give us something else to compare about.

    Love this post. Beautiful, true, and well written. :)

  15. I truly appreciated this post. We live in a society that measures success by who has the MOST, be it wealth, beauty, fame, etc., and if you don't work your way in there somewhere, you don't matter. Society is obnoxious. However, I feel like the reason we continue to push ourselves to feel like we're climbing that ladder is that within each of us is the desire to be SEEN, to be KNOWN. One's ability to love is based on the amount known about the other, and that goes for our own ability to be loved. If the amount I can be loved is based on the amount I am known, then I so dearly want to be known. We all want to be loved. We all want to know we matter. We just have a bad habit of trying to matter to the WHOLE WORLD instead of God. We focus on our own need to be loved instead of looking at and loving the ones we see and know. It's an interesting curse. And one that is so often overlooked. Thank you again for sharing this.