Comparison is the thief of joy

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Why is it that many of us find the need to compare our lives to that of others? This is to the extent that we do not even enjoy the blessings that God has given to us, because we are so busy admiring the gifts, possessions and qualities given to someone else. This blog post has come as a personal revelation given to me in relation to my own life. As I pondered on how much I struggled with comparison, it occurred to me that I was not the only one. Many of us go through this journey of life constantly looking into the lane of those around us, resulting in us failing to focus on our own lane.

Let us use the example of a car. If you have ever driven before, you will be aware that whilst driving it is important to look in your side mirrors and your rear-view mirror, however, your main focus must remain on the road ahead of you. If you do not focus on the road ahead and instead you are focusing on the sides of the road or behind you, the car will eventually swerve to the side of the road or crash. Many of us, instead of focusing on the path ahead of us, and the amazing things that God has planned for our lives, we are too busy looking to our right and to our left, analysing and comparing our life to everyone else around us, whilst neglecting our own.

If you keep looking at someone else’s lane, how are you going to see or enjoy the things in your own lane?Maria Tayo

The title of this post is ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. This quote from Theodore Roosevelt is such a common phrase which we hear often, but many of us fail to sit down and analyse whether this applies to our individual lives and whether we fall victims of this reality. I can say that I believe comparison is the thief of joy because I have lived it, to the extent that I was unappreciative of the things that I have. But when I realised how much comparison was a thief of joy, I made the decision that I would not fall a victim to this trap, and you can do the same also. In this day and age, with social media being such a big part of our lives, not falling into the trap of comparison has become harder than ever, but trust me it is possible for you to not lose your joy or fall into this trap of negative comparison.
Sometimes it is the little things we like to compare, such as how many followers we have on our social media sites or how many likes we get on our pictures. And sometimes it is the bigger things, such as our jobs, businesses, relationships and even our physical looks. But how can you ever find joy whilst comparing your life to that of someone else? Even if you ‘feel’ your life is better than someone else’s, which may make you feel better in the short term, what happens when this person’s life becomes better? You will just find yourself back into that place of sorrow, seeking the next person you can compare your life to in order to make yourself feel better.

So what kind of things does comparison lead to? It can lead to jealousy, fear, insecurity, inadequacy, greed, pride, sin, anxiety and in some extreme circumstances suicide. In 2 Corinthians 10:12,

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.2 Corinthians 10:12
We need to be intentional in order to deal with the feelings of comparison as soon as they arise. Sometimes this may even mean logging out of your Facebook or Instagram account for a while. Sometimes I even take a social media break when I find myself constantly comparing what I see on social media to my reality.

Do not neglect where you are now because of where you want to be in the future as you will be depriving yourself of the joy that you could be experiencing in the present. Do not disregard where you are in life because someone else has achieved the position you have always wanted. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy and comparison is one of the enemy’s tactics to try and kill, steal and destroy our joy.
From my personal experience, dealing with the disease of comparison (yes, it is a disease) needs to be dealt with from within. Sometimes we just need to sit down alone and get to the root cause of our comparisons. Why are you comparing your life to that of others? Do you not love yourself? Do you not have faith that God has the best plan for your life or do you not trust in His timing? Or are you just unappreciative of how far God has brought you and the progress you have made? Whatever the reason, you must go to the root of the comparisons and let God help you deal with it, from the inside out. Starting from the negative thoughts and comparisons going on inside your head so that you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God – Romans 12:2).
If I allowed myself to continue living a life of constant comparison, it would have stopped me from receiving the things that God has laid out before me in my lane. Stop comparing, trust God and do what God has called you to do. So what if someone can do it better than you can, no one can do it the way you do it! There will always be someone prettier than you, richer than you, more spiritual than you, but does this really matter? This life is not a competition so there is no need to compare. Be content, focus and protect the joy that God has given you. Count your blessings count them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done!

God Bless,

Author: Pro. Maria Tayo

Blogger and Contributor

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