I’m not usually a voice for comparative-itis, but I’ve discovered and embraced a lesson in its messiness. Here’s what I’ve found…
When I compare myself to others, I find…
Women who are skinnier;
Girlfriends who have more energy;
Writers on the best seller lists;
Business owners receiving awards.
Sometimes these “I wish I was as [fill in the blank] as she is” moments turn into hours. The hours can turn into days. Times of comparing, fretting, and wishing.
The nugget I found in this wishing?
It’s kicked my butt.
You see, usually when this longing to do better and be different comes along, I challenge myself to stop the negative talk. And then later I find myself eating a calorie-enriched milk chocolate Dove ice cream bar. Thinner? Probably not. Or I find myself watching some mindless TV show instead of reading. Will that make me a better writer? I don’t think so.
I have stopped the internal chatter. But I didn’t change my response to my earlier conversation.
(Oh, I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable!
It’s hard to put the truth on the table sometimes, isn’t it?)
Can you relate to this?
If you can say a big “Amen! I get what you’re talking about!” (or a quiet, under your breath, “Amen! I get what you’re talking about!”) may I offer you this suggestion…
When that big Voice of Comparison starts telling you what you should be doing differently or that you should be different…
Ask yourself, “Is there a nugget of advice, truth, or encouragement in this moment that will help me become more like the person God has called me to be?”
If the answer is “Yes,” apply what you learned and move on.
Do the things that other Girlfriend is probably doing to achieve that goal you’ve got your eye on.
Not because she’s better….
But because you want to be all that God created you to be.
Perhaps the woman with less body fat makes better choices with her food.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Perhaps the Energizer Bunny keeps her values and priorities in focus, so she creates more energy.
Refocus your values and priorities.
Perhaps the amazing writer works at her craft…puts in more hours, takes the workshops.
Practice your craft.
See where I’m going with this?
It is very difficult to stop the internal message that creeps into our already-tired brain when we see someone who is doing something we want to do, or is living a life our heart desires.
But we have the power and responsibility to change our response to that message.
When that message hits you in the face, set down the Dove ice cream bar and ask, “God, who do you want me to be? What do you want me to do? Please show me what choices I need to make to become and do.”
Comparative-itis is still not a good place to spend time.
But it can be just the kick-in-the-butt we need to change.
To do differently.
To be different.