The comparison trap: You're one of a kind
I'm an avid music lover. I honestly cannot go a day without listening to some of my most favorite tunes. I enjoy different genres, but, of course, Gospel music is my number one. I particularly favor music that speaks about the awesomeness, love, and power of Jesus, and scripture-based lyrics that beautifully express deep thoughts of real issues
These days, in my personal opinion, it's a bit challenging to find music of substance. Or maybe I'm just picky. In any case, I love it when I find an artist that excites both the minister and Christian psychologist in me.
For me, Jonathan McReynolds (Who is incredibly underrated in the Gospel music industry) is one of those artists. I discovered his music a few years ago when I heard a song called No Gray, and I've been following his ministry and supporting his music ever since. So, when I learned he recently released a new album entitled Make Room I was all over it. Needless to say, it has been in heavy rotation all day, every day, for the past week. Every song is a favorite, but there is one that I especially love. It's called Comparison Kills.
It speaks about the tragedy of comparing ourselves to others. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am strong opponent of comparison. It grieves my heart to see so many women hating themselves, living in emotional misery, and leading false lives because they feel like they aren't good enough as they are. I know firsthand what that's like, and it breeds nothing but insecurity and jealousy.
There are two verses in the song I really, really like. They say,
You spend all night admiring pictures
They make life perfect as they should
But you don't know the picture story
And how long to make it good
The grass is fine
'Til it looked greener on the other side
Now you're believing that you fell behind
But why try to match what should be one of a kind?
You're one of a kind
I have a very strong interest in exploring the human mind and how it works, especially as it relates to the emotions, and I am always trying to figure out and understand why the mind is so good at painting pictures - whether true or false - and making one believe them. Even more, I'm constantly digging to exact where comparison originates from. Where and why does one learn to compare? Who taught us to consciously and subconsciously pit ourselves against one another as competitors in this journey of life? Who told us that there is, somewhere and somehow, a one-person award for being the best at life? What exactly is the prize? How long is the race? Where is the finish-line? Does it ever end?
So many people spend far too much time focusing on what appears good in the lives of others, that it totally blinds them to what is actually good in their own. Somehow, minds have been programmed to believe that there is one standard that defines a "good life" and anything that does not reflect that false narrative is worthy of not even existing.
How incredibly sad, right?
I love social media, but for someone who is not quite confident in themselves or happy with the state of their life, it can be an unsafe place. Scrolling through your timeline, you see all the smiles, the perfect family picture, the exquisite homemade dinner, the luxuriously decorated home, the perfectly shaped body, the long hair, or whatever it is you admire, and then you pinpoint all the areas in your life that aren't like that. What you often fail to realize is that pictures are finely orchestrated snapshots of a moment of someone's life. It doesn't even paint the total reality. You have no idea that five minutes before that #relationshipgoals post, she and her man were fussing like cats and dogs. You don't see how she struggled to put on that waist trainer, suck in, hold her breath, and arch her back to capture what seemed to be #bodygoals.
See, the problem is that we allow trends, popularity, likes, and people who don't even know us to dictate what our goals should be. If more of us would take back our ability to think for ourselves, we could throw up those false realities that are constantly shoved down our throats. The problem, though, is that we allow our favorite celebrities, reality TV stars, IG models, and Facebook bosses to tell us how we should look, what we should have, how we should live, and such.
Our model for good living is completely misconstrued. As daughters of God, our lives, in all areas, should reflect HIS image, not the images we double-tap.
The problem I have with comparison is that it’s one-sided. All it ever shows you is what you lack, how you’ve failed, and where you fall short. It’s like that snobbish Aunt who never has anything nice to say, and always asks you when you’re going to get a man, why your kids are so bad, or when you’ll lose weight, even though you lost 30 pounds since the last time you saw her. Now, where you were experiencing content, you end up questioning everything about yourself.
Comparison is a trap tactic used by the enemy to keep you in bondage to low self-esteem. He knows that if he can shackle you to not loving or believing in yourself, you will never have the courage or obtain the freedom to operate as who or what God created you to be. It’s all a part of his three-fold plan to steal, kill, and destroy. And he’s slick too. See, he knows those areas where you struggle with confidence and he uses that to his advantage to constantly put people in your path who are the picture of what you desire.
It’s a trap, and he wants to keep you wrapped up, tied up, and tangled up in it.
Theodore Roosevelt couldn’t have made a truer statement: comparison is the thief of joy. It robs you of seeing your own good and living your best life.
It kills self-esteem.
It kills relationships.
It kills dreams.
It kills courage.
And, in many cases, it kills life.
I wonder, though, what could happen in people's self-esteem if this ONE little truth would be grasped, believed, embraced:
YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND.
Imagine grasping the beauty in realizing that you were not designed to compare to anybody in any way. Imagine finding the confidence in walking your unique journey in your own way. Imagine how happy you could be if you stopped looking at the pictures of other people's lives, failing to consider what it even took behind the scenes to capture what appears to be a perfect image. Imagine feeling free in your personality, and your quirks, and your priorities, and your style, and your interests. Imagine the sturdy life you could erect if you used the foundation already inside of you, instead of trying to build upon the pallets constructed by the pieces you've put together of everybody else's life. Imagine the contentment in loving yourself as you are, while extending yourself the grace to grow. Imagine giving yourself permission to be both a masterpiece, created in The Master's peace, AND a work in progress.
Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others.
(Galatians 6:4 CEV)
Allow yourself the capacity to grow into what you desire to be, instead of beating yourself up about not mirroring the people around you. You, dear, are one of a kind. God did not create you to reflect any other person on this earth in any kind of way. Every single thing about you is unique, and God's spirit is the only standard you're expected to live up to.
Please, I beg of you, take that pressure off of yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others; you're doing yourself and the world around you such a terrible injustice, robbing them of the beauty and awesomeness of who YOU are.
Sis, you are enough, and I echo my brother Jonathan in saying, "Ask God to heal what comparison kills." Whatever it is that has died within you as a result of comparing yourself to others, ask God to resurrect it. Then, declare death and destruction to that deadly comparison trap and walk courageously and confidently to the beat of your God-customized drum.