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Comparison: The Thief of Joy

As I grow physically and spiritually, I learn to accept who I am, appreciate what I have, grow where I am in life, and love how God made me.  However, it is a process and at times, I am still tempted to compare.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt) 

The quote by Theodore Roosevelt sums up so well the danger or down side of comparison – it can steal your joy!

Comparison will cause you to overestimate/over value what someone else has and underestimate/devalue what you have or vice versa.  You will miss the blessing and beauty of today if you are comparing yourself to someone else.

Just because someone has something you do not have or is different from you, it does not make him or her better than or more blessed than you are.  It just makes them different.  Our differences are what make us unique.

“Never compare your journey with someone else’s.  Your journey is your journey NOT a competition.” 

That woman or man you are comparing yourself to, I guarantee you is comparing herself or himself to someone else. The marriage you are comparing yours to, I guarantee you has its own issues to work out too.  The job you wish you had may come with some stress that you are not ready and able to handle.

Think of it like this.  When you see an iceberg in the ocean, you only see the tip or about 10%.  You do not see the 90% underneath.  The same is true when we compare.  We only see the tip of the situation, the outside, or the mask that person chooses to show us.  We do not see the work it took, the details of the situation, or the face behind the mask.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” (Steve Furtick)

Comparison steals our joy because, even if for a moment, it will make us forget about our accomplishments, achievements, and blessings.  Always remember, “Someone is praying for the blessings you take for granted”.

“If only I” moments will cause you not to see or appreciate what you DO HAVE!  Learn to bloom where you are planted instead of trying to bloom in another’s garden.

Comparison says to God, ‘I want to limit Your work in my life to this and nothing else. I just want to be like this other person.’ But God has an individual plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at His plans for others so you can walk in the plans He has for you and receive the blessings they bring.” (Joyce Meyer Youversion Devotional)

Here are some steps to help you overcome the trap of comparison:  

1.   Identify your own insecurities and weaknesses, for it is in those areas you will be more prone to compare.

2.  Make a list of  your accomplishments, achievements,  blessings, things you love about yourself or your situation, and a list of scriptures that speak something positive about you or your situation.

3.  When thoughts of comparison come up, cast down or reject the thought (2 Corinthians 10:5).

4.  Replace the negative thought with something positive from the list you made.

For instance, if you are insecure about your body, make a list of the things you love about your body so when you see someone whose very presence makes you feel inferior; replace those negative thoughts with the things you love about yourself from your list.  This will cause you to focus on the positive and not your “perceived” negative.

Life is a process and the temptation to compare will still occur, but you do not have to fall victim to it.  Even the bible says that comparing yourself to others is not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12). Learn to accept who you are, appreciate what you have, grow where you are in life, and love how God made you.

Lastly, do not allow comparison to steal your joy! You have so much to be thankful and grateful for.  Focus on those things and keep moving forward!

If you liked this post, you may also like Love the Skin You Are In”, “Giving Thanks: A Lifestyle Not a Holiday”, “Count Your Blessings, Not Your Problems” and “When Life Happens, How Will You Respond

Image Credit: The above image was found here

~Keishawna

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16 thoughts on “Comparison: The Thief of Joy

  1. Hi, Keishawna: This is a very valuable blog/subject! I love that you gave us a list and referred us to Scripture. I’m convinced that comparison is a great thief, as you say, and the main stewing pot for our insecurities. Thank you for the ways to counter it! Loved stopping by here! 🙂

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  2. Hi Jolly. Thanks for liking my posts, followed you back here and enjoyed your post too.

    While I like the quote, I have a few reservations. Sometimes, comparisons can lead us to be better and to do better. Sometimes it can be humbling, too. Sometimes, when I’ve compared where I am as opposed to where someone else is, I’ve been inspired to emulate them to achieve more or to fill my life with more, in a positive sense.

    For example, the woman who raises her six children, works, and still finds the time to fill her day with good works. I compared her life to mine, and was inspired to do more. I’m grateful for meeting her, since it has helped me grow. Or during hospital stays, where I’ve always learned that as bad as anyone thinks they may have it, there’s always someone who has it worse. Such comparisons can teach one gratitude for their own lot and humility. As such, it’s not the comparing that is inherently good or evil, but perhaps what our purpose is in the comparison, or the heart we bring to it.

    And yet another blessed comparison, is comparing where I am now with where I was half a year ago, a year ago, ten years ago. As I continue to grow as a person (and as a writer), looking at the past and seeing how much headway I’ve made, gives me more patience with my many weaknesses and hope for the future.

    Just another way of looking at things…

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    • Hi Mirel,

      Thank you for your comment! I completely agree with you that sometimes comparison can be a good thing, especially when it catapults us to something better or makes us appreciate our lot in life. I didn’t bring out the “good” side of comparison in my piece, but I certainly appreciate you commenting about it. One thing I love about blogging is meeting new people and hearing different perspectives. Blessings to you as you continue to write and touch/inspire/encourage people all around the world!

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    • Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate it. I look forward to reading your posts and your book one day. The name, “Diary Of The Other Woman” sounds so interesting. I can’t wait to read what it’s about. Take care!

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  3. I love that quote! Comparison always leads to discontentment because we can never have enough or be enough when we compare ourselves to others. The Lord has blessed all of us in different ways and we need to focus on what He has given us and what He wants to do in and through us – that will keep our focus on the Lord and not comparing ourselves to others. Hope you have a blessed 2014 and can find ways to bless others!

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    • Hi Shelly,

      I completely agree with you. We are all blessed to be a blessing to others. An old friend of mine would always say, “we need to learn to stay in our lane and do what God has called us to do.” Happy New Year to you and I pray yours is blessed as well!

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