By Vivian Bricker, Crosswalk.com
Most of us are familiar with the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This saying is true and affects us on a deep level. Comparing ourselves to others will only cause us to feel inferior and bad about ourselves. This is one of the many reasons why we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. If we don’t see that we are “as good” as others, it could make us engage in unhealthy behaviors to finally feel “good enough.”
Coming to Terms with Comparison
I started struggling with comparison when I was a kid. It was in the fifth grade, and I started recognizing how all of the other girls my age were prettier, thinner, and smarter. I, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of these things, or at least that is how comparison made me feel. I never felt good about myself, and I tried to do anything to change these feelings. Even though nobody said anything directly about the way I looked, I felt inferior and unworthy of anyone's time.
Fifth grade was the beginning, but then sixth grade was the grade that really caused a catalyst of comparing myself to others. For any middle schooler, this time is tough. You have to go to a new school, go through puberty, and try to make new friends. For many of us, it was a nightmare we couldn’t wake up from. I was bullied in sixth grade severely for my weight and my appearance. It made me feel bad for simply existing, and I wanted to do anything to change. In other words, I wanted to be anybody but myself.
My mom took me out of public school after the end of sixth grade, and I started homeschooling along with my older sisters. It was at this time that I developed anorexia, depression, and anxiety. Despite losing weight and my appearance changing, I was still not happy with myself. In fact, I felt worse about myself. Although I never was open in my struggles with others at this time, I wanted to end my life just for the pain to be over. All of the constant worries about calorie counts and how many miles I ran were too much.
When I look back at this time, I feel sorrow, but I’m also proud of myself. I feel sorrow because I didn’t deserve to go through so much pain. However, I also feel proud of myself because I didn’t give up. Even though I had so much self-hate and I daily encountered hateful comments, I didn’t give in to the suicidal ideation. I chose to live, and for that, I am very proud of myself.
If you also have struggled with comparison to the point it caused you to engage in any form of self-harm, know that you are not alone. Comparison causes us to feel terrible about ourselves, and we do drastic things to make us “feel better.” What we need to remember is that none of these things will truly make us feel better. Losing weight, becoming more popular than someone else, or changing our facial appearance will not make us happier. It will only lead to worse feelings of inadequacy.
It’s Time to Start Caring for Yourself
Rather than comparing yourself to others, it’s time to start caring for yourself. Caring for yourself looks like accepting yourself as you are, properly providing your body with what it needs, and speaking kindly to yourself. While I am still not an expert in this field, I try. Take little steps in the right direction, and with time, you won’t feel as negatively about yourself. Talk kindly to yourself and instead of saying things, such as “You’re so dumb,” “You’re so ugly,” or “You have no self-control,” say things such as “You are smart,” “You are beautiful,” and “You have control over yourself.”
By making this small shift, it can change how you feel about yourself. You will be feeding yourself with kindness, compassion, and love rather than self-hate. Don’t be mean to yourself. Choose to accept yourself as you are and embrace everything about yourself. You are unique and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-16). Turn to God when you are having a hard time with the comparison game. Tell Him how you are struggling and ask Him for His help.
The comparison game is rooted in sin because it only makes you feel bad about yourself and causes you to feel envy toward others. God doesn’t want you to feel bad about yourself nor does He want you to envy anyone. Instead, God wants you to love yourself and take care of yourself. In the same way, He doesn’t want you to be envious of other people. You are beautiful, wonderful, and good enough just as you are. Don’t allow negative thoughts to tell you otherwise because they are wrong.
Getting Rid of the Comparison Game
You cannot stop comparing yourself to others unless you cease playing the comparison game. The comparison game will only lead you down a road of self-hatred, depression, and disorder. Someone will always be better than you at something. You will never feel good enough, no matter how hard you try if you keep playing the comparison game. Make an effort to step away from the comparison game and start loving yourself.
Loving yourself can be hard, but you deserve to live a life free from self-hatred. Self-hatred always comes into the picture when you are comparing yourself to others. Everyone will seem “better” than you. You cannot fully heal from the damage done by the comparison game unless you stop comparing yourself to others. When you start noticing comparison creeping into your mind, cut it off. Talk back to the negative thought and replace it with a positive thought.
As an example, if a comparison comes into your mind the next time you are at an event and it tells you, “Xyz looks way better than I do,” talk back to it. Tell yourself, “Xyz looks great, and I look great too.” Try this gentle shift and see if it helps you. As you continue to fight back against the negative thoughts, the more the positive thoughts will shine through. Give it time, and soon you will find that you are not comparing yourself to others any longer because you are secure in who you are as a person.
Being secure in who you are is a beautiful thing. It is something that is very important in order to live confidently in life. Know that you can be secure in yourself because you are beautiful, smart, and worthy of every good thing. God is your Creator, and He loves you (John 3:16). He says you are beautiful in every way. Don’t allow your negative thoughts or the comparison game to rob you of a beautiful life. Satan has a way of trying to rob us of every good thing, but we don’t have to let him.
Take your stand against the devil, and don’t allow him to tempt you into playing the comparison game any longer. It is built upon lies and insecurities—both of which God doesn’t want you to have anything to do with. God wants you to live in the truth and to be secure in yourself. You are made in His image, and this alone attests to how you are good enough (Genesis 1:27). Choose to stop playing the comparison game today and see how much better your life will be.
Struggling with body image issues or body acceptance? Listen to Compared to Who? with Heather Creekmore.
Each week, you’ll hear encouragement, biblical truth, and practical strategies to help you fight and win your battles with insecurity, body shame, constant comparison, and approval. Ready to Stop Comparing and Start Living? Then start listening here and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/fizkes
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.