A question we are often asked here in Dargaville, New Zealand, is how our various experiences compare to what it would be like in the United States. People are often surprised at our response; we tell them that we are not really comparing it to our experience in the U.S., but just taking it for what it is.
The desire to compare is part of our DNA as humans.
We all do it. We compare our lives, our businesses, our bodies, our families, our kids, our houses. And even though we hate how it makes us feel, we do it anyway. For many of us, the trap of comparison has become almost like second nature. Alli Worthington
We are always comparing things we do with how we experienced them in the past. We compare a dish to how our grandma or mom would have made it. We compare price and quality before we make a purchase (at least we should). At times, when someone is telling us a story, we respond with a comparison of how we relate to some aspect of their story.
If you think about it, we are always making comparisons of people and things in our lives. To do this is often necessary in the process of making wise choices in life. The ability to compare enables people to continue advancing in all areas of life, making life better and more efficient.
However, comparison has a downside. Comparing does not serve us well when we compare ourselves with others and allow the comparison to derail us from truly being who we are called to be. Unfortunately, many of us spend too much time viewing who we are and what we do through the downside lens of comparison. Thus, we fall into the comparison trap.
This actually began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent tempted Eve. The serpent told Eve that, compared to God, she knew less because her eyes were not open. “For God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen.3:5). The serpent made a comparison, and Eve and Adam fell for it. The reality is, to this day we continue to make comparisons which lead us to fall in very destructive ways.
Comparison is not necessarily unhealthy or unhelpful. However, we must learn how to compare ourselves to others in such a way that the outcome helps us grow and become better persons. The best way to do that is to compare yourself to others who will serve as mentors or inspirations to you.
The only positive way to compare yourself is when you admire another’s achievements or abilities and you can model yourself on them. You can find out what steps led to their success and emulate their dedication or education or curiosity. In this way, someone you admire, even if you don’t know them personally, can become a mentor and spur you on to do better. Atalanta Beaumont
It’s doubtful that we can stop comparing ourselves to others. To compare is almost as natural as breathing. The challenge we face is to choose to make healthy comparisons that will help us become better persons.
With whom are you comparing yourself? Is the comparison holding you back or is it serving to inspire you to improve yourself?
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.