Comparing Ourselves to Others Can Be a Dangerous Thing

I love the Olympics. It’s inspiring to watch individuals, who have given years of their lives training, accomplish their dream of winning a gold medal. However, if I’m honest, there’s a part of me that gets insecure and I compare my life (or lack of it) to theirs.

“If I wasn’t such a wimp, maybe I could ski down a mountain at 90 mph.”

“How come God didn’t give me those genes? If He would have, I’m sure I could have competed in both the summer and winter games.”

“If I would have helped my mom mop the floor more as a child, I could have made the Curling team.”

This past weekend our daughter did a time trial with her swim team in hopes of making a qualifying time for Regionals.

She began swimming competitively a little over a year ago and is still learning the ropes of the sport. Plus, she had a birthday last month and is now the youngest in her new age group, meaning her qualifying times were even harder to reach. So it was going to be a stretch.

Comparison Steals JoyUnfortunately, the morning didn’t go as she had hoped. She missed two times by less than a second. But, Mark and I were amazed she dropped so much time.

Anastasia on the other hand was mortified and she took it much harder than we had anticipated.

The next hours were spent cuddling with her on her bed as she cried, “I thought I could make it. All of my friends have qualified. How come I’m not as good as them?”

That was it.

She was comparing herself to her friends; friends who were either in the younger age group or who have been swimming longer than her.

Comparing ourselves to others can be dangerous because it blinds us to many truths.

It keeps us from seeing what we have accomplished. In the past two weekends, Anastasia set 5 personal records in her swimming. But she missed the full joy of accomplishing those goals. And that is a real bummer.

Comparing steals our joy.

It keeps us from seeing where God is directing us. Sometimes God uses setbacks to redirect us or to highlight an area that needs attention.

Comparing misdirects our focus.

It keeps us from seeing our part in celebrating the moments of others. We will all have “our moments” in life. We’ll get that promotion. We’ll lose the weight. We’ll get engaged. We’ll have a baby. We’ll win the race. There’s nothing more wonderful than having a friend or family member truly celebrate it with us.

Comparing robs us of the freedom to be happy for others.

When our hearts have been freed from the bondage of comparing, we experience joy of watching those in our lives succeed. And that’s really fun.

So, now all I have to do is figure out how to teach this to my children…and myself.

Oh boy…guess I better get praying.

Do you have any suggestions for me?

What do you do when you’re tempted to compare yourself to others?

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