Someone close to me once said “I just don’t like how you walk into a room.” I was at a place in life where hardships cultivated learning and awareness, which actually led to me being more joyful. He thought because I was happy, confident, or perhaps just walked differently, that I was arrogant in some way. When I responded with my true belief regarding his comment, he didn’t say much else: “that’s your perspective and therefore that’s your dilemma” (still my belief btw). Letting the way someone walks into a room offend you is just that- your issue to deal with. There was clearly more going on within this person than just the way I walked.
Comparison leads nowhere besides the destruction and dimming of our internal light (spirit). We live in such a sad time already, given the media-accelerated polarity we feel as human beings. Everyone must “pick a side,” and regardless of which side you pick – you’re wrong in some way. Picking sides is challenging, considering everyone views the world from both a macro and micro level based on their own life experiences, and therefore their own conditioning. I assume if God wanted us to all strive for the same look, the same way of living, the same life circumstances, then He would’ve made us a lot more alike than we are. Being unique is a good thing, it’s part of God’s plan for our lives, so why would we all strive to be like someone else in some way (we all do- let’s admit it)?!
I used to “covet” what I didn’t have in a number of ways. I would compare my appearence, my bank account, my accolades and accomplishments to those closest to me. I would mostly do this with friends or colleagues. I have a few friends and family that constantly vocalize comparative narratives. One friend in particular (who I am a big fan of) will constantly spew negative self-talk when comparing himself to me. Examples: we both agreed we were going to practice the guitar three or more times per week this year, and we both agreed to run 100 miles in August. I completed my 100 miles, as many of you know who follow me on Instagram (@Surrender_Project), and I’m 120 guitar lessons in for the year. He didn’t follow through, which I don’t judge him for; yet I hesitate to share my progress with him because I don’t want him getting down on himself as he views through a comparative lens. There are a number of things that he does better than I do, which I applaud and celebrate, because I’m determined to strip comparison from my perspective. I pray he can accept our differences, and our alternative struggles and accomplishments as our own, not as an ongoing contrast that leads to shame, envy or boastfulness.
This is where I really want to focus: the lack of JOY for someone else’s accomplishments because we are conditioned to view each other through a lens of comparison. I have siblings who scoff and make fun of me for limiting alcohol intake, working out, practicing guitar, or my successes professionally. They are so focused on comparing themselves to me that they despise anything that I accomplish unless they’ve accomplished more (in their eyes). They would rather me fail to enhance their and our parent’s view of themselves. Why view one another through this lens of negativity? The irony- I want them to succeed, to make strides and to find whatever truly provides them JOY. I want them to have a good relationship with God that leads to their divine destiny. Yet we have unhealthy relationships beneath the surface because we have an underlying narrative of comparison.
I fully admit I used to carry envy, resentfulness and bitterness because of my unhealthy and unhealed view of the world. I carried so much of my past into every relationship. I let my ego drive most dynamics, or the inner-child in many circumstances took the wheel. I know for a fact that most of us bring unhealed traumas from our past into every relationship. Even those seemingly “perfect” childhoods (no such thing) carry baggage that needs discarded to permit healthier relationships and perspective (through awareness and healing of course).
Until we find the courage to leave the crutch on the sidelines, get into the trench of discomfort, and actually heal ourselves (our past), then we have no business entering into any true relationship (especially with a significant other). This is my opinion, which stems from countless conversations, my own journey of healing and failures, and looking back at my crutch lying on the other side of that trench (one that is no longer needed). We can continue a “woe is me” view of the world from a place of lack, pain and excuses, or we can do the tough/short-term work to shed our baggage and transform beyond a subpar version of ourselves created by the world. Comparison is just that- something that needs healed that we’re conditioned to do, dating way back to our childhood years (everything seemingly was a comparison- sports, grades, appearance, etc.). Jesus helps with this btw. The Bible speaks of comparison several times as well….
What a verse from Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:12 – “Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!”
How about Galatians 6:4 – “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”
Or Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Perhaps if we start comparing ourselves to Christ, we will all have a lot less ego, a lot more humility, and a lesser desire to compare to one another. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. We all have our OWN RACE TO RUN. We all have ourselves to answer to for our actions, along with God of course. We all fall short, that is a fact. I think a blend of grace for our shortcomings along with a high degree of personal responsibility for our own healing and growth, could do the world some good! After all, if we each make strides to heal so we can view the world from a place of humility over the likes of comparison, slander, envy, boastfulness and pride, I imagine we wouldn’t have as many problems that are prominent in the world today.
Love over hate.
Acceptance over judgment.
Encouragement over envy.
SURRENDER over fear.
CHRIST OVER the world!