Hello, my name is Josie and I am a Comparison Addict. A compara-holic.
This sounds a bit harsh but, then again, I don’t know who could withstand a daily dose of comparing given the current culture of constant comparison.
Just stand and look at the tabloids/person in front of you/a magazine/Facebook:
- My hair never looks like that.
- Their marriage is fantastic, look at them.
- How did she lose weight so fast?
- Bet they don’t have to worry about Health Insurance.
- I’ll happy face you in a minute.
And then there’s the reverse:
- See, at least I don’t have [x, y or z]!
- I may be divorced, but blimey it’s better than [x, y or z].
- I’d take my problems over theirs any day.
- Whew! That’s perspective.
- Man, it would be a nightmare to be famous.
My particular pity party at the moment is everybody’s “Happy 1000th Anniversary to my best friend/love of my life/best husband and father ever!!” pictures on FB. The temptation to be bitter is immense.
So I have to turn from my computer saying to myself, “Oh shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!! You think you’ve got it hard? You think your life is difficult? Oh for the love of God, Josephine, SHUT.UP.”
The ridiculous thing is that when my mind turns to comparison it is an entirely all-or-nothing scenario. Someone celebrates their Anniversary and I immediately forget any other challenge and reality of life I know they have faced/are facing. “Oh great, look at THEM. LOOK AT THEM!! And who am I? One big… fat… p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c… LOSERRRR.”
As you can see it’s pretty loud, brash, and ugly up here where my comparisons live.
Why can others’ joy make us compare ourselves as having less?
Why can others’ grief make us compare ourselves as having more?
Either way, it’s a trick. A big fat ugly trick that takes me away from the present moment and the reality – from every aspect – of my OWN LIFE. All the things I have been blessed with either become less/meaningless or make me feel somehow superior to someone living through a nightmare.
Either way it cuts me off from community into the horrors of my own calculations. And the point is what exactly? Does comparison change my life at all? Do the comparisons beginning with, “Well at least I’m not struggling with…” help me with anything? When I say, “I don’t have anything like that, poor me”, is my life improved in any way?
Doesn’t comparison just mentally push me into a self-absorbed insulated bubble of “Not Me-ness” – for good or for bad?Comparison of either type is entirely about navel gazing, and then all I can see is my navel. Which just gives me a crick in my Spirit not to mention my neck.
The Lord tells us to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn’. I am recognizing that I am only FREE to do this authentically when I do it without self-reference. Losing my life I gain it by getting to participate truly in the joy of others, or getting to carry a bit of their load.
I think of Paul. “I have learned to be content in all circumstances.” I bet this took time, and I bet he achieved it because experience taught him to stop looking to left or right, in front or behind. He just kept looking up to the only one who has any control and is also the giver of all good things, and staying present.
The only place God can be with me is where I am now. The only place that I can be is where I am now. Comparison is a temptation, not a gift.
So enough already. Ix-nay Omparison-kay.
And I can feel my attitude improving immediately.