It’s a sickness we all deal with, maybe women more than men, but I don’t think that’s even true and there I go doing it yet. Lately I have found myself in this habit of comparing. Comparing myself to people I love, comparing how my kids behave, comparing how much weight others have on their bar at the gym, how nice or fun their vacation was, how their marriage is, how skinny they are, how their hair looks...I mean I really could go on and on. This is the cycle I’ve been in and it has got to stop. There are times when I can check myself pretty quickly and get it under control, but then there are times when I let this sickness of comparison sit and fester. When I do that, I notice it taking over all areas of my life. I get grumpy and dissatisfied and just ugly. I hate comparing myself to my friends. I love being a friend, a cheerleader, a shoulder for them to cry on, a sounding board when they need to think something out and I truly think my friends are the best. They are lovely and sweet and kind and strong and beautiful. They are gifts straight from God, and when I compare myself to them I take away my joy for them. I take away my support and I use it not only to hurt myself and my family but it can hurt them too.
I am convinced that social media really hurts us in this. We get to see everyone’s highlight reels. How beautiful their beach trip was or how nice their new car is and ‘Oh look at the straight A’s their kid got!’. It’s so hard to step back and think rationally sometimes. For example, one of my sweet friends from the gym went on a beautiful beach trip with her family earlier in the summer. They sold their house, got an amazing deal on their dream home and in the middle of that process they went on another quick beach trip to visit her dad. She posted an adorable picture of her girls on the beach (Why wouldn’t she? Her girls are absolutely precious) and my first thought was, “Hmph must be nice.” I literally just judged her!! WHY?!?! Why is my heart so ugly?
So to check myself before I wrecked myself, I said to myself… out loud because that is what one does when they are that close to “wrecking oneself”. “Jeanette Tapley are you kidding me?! You JUST got home from Disney World and you have yet another trip to Disney World planned next month! You are stupid! Don’t steal your friend’s joy and don’t you dare compare!!”
I really hope that I am not alone in this because if I am, then I need Jesus to just come now and Glory Glory Halleluiah it’s over! But I know that I am not because I see it all over magazines and self help books and in Bible studies; it’s an epidemic and friends we need to stop!
“Comparison is the thief of Joy” -Theodore Roosevelt
When we compare ourselves to others we are not only taking a joy from them but we are taking joy from us. All of a sudden we don’t have enough or we aren’t enough. And really when it gets down to it I think it comes down to Jesus/ God isn’t enough. I think when we feel ourselves getting sick with the comparison bug we need to ask ourselves: Do we believe He gives us good things? Good opportunities? Good _____?? I think in our hearts the answer is “Yes”, but then we start looking around to see what we THINK should have or what we wanted for us at this point… comparing our days and lives to those around us. We settle in with an uneasy “Maybe”.
Lately I have been trying to write down ten things I am thankful for everyday. For me in this stage of life (also known as chaos coordinating) I need to be intentionally planting seeds of thankfulness. A lot of days it looks a lot like this: "I am thankful for: Bedtime, Coffee, Time talking to Jesse, The Weather App, Chores, Solid family friends, the gym, swimming with friends, coffee cups that make me smile, phone calls from Melissa." I seriously just looked through my journal and pulled these out! They aren’t anything deep or profound but they’re things in my day to day life that I love and look forward to, or things that surprise me and make me happier than they should, like my coffee cups! If I am not intentionally thanking God for the good things, big or small, in my life then I feel the bug rising up in me.
“A flower does not think of comparing itself to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
I know that it is hard to not look to the left or the right without measuring ourselves but what if we just bloomed? Right there alongside our beautiful flower friends, knowing that their beauty compliments our own! And there we stood together with our friends Blooming and Thankful.