When Comparison is Good

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

I am sure you have all heard or read this quote several times. It has always been one of my favorites because it is pretty darn accurate. Now as women we are all too familiar with comparison because we do it constantly. We seriously compare every part of our lives to other women's lives. Anything from hair, fitness, wardrobe, social status, house, kids, cars, finances, cooking ability, basically if it is a part of life, we compare it. Crazy right? What comparison does is it completely sucks the joy out of life. I mean if I lost 10lbs but my workout partner lost 12, I am pretty darn jealous that she has 2lbs on me. Silly stuff but man is it so accurate! Comparison takes the life we have been given and somehow picks it apart to the point of nothing. Now all I have, all of me that is good, everything in my life that is right, goes all wrong. Why? Well obviously because its not as good as hers...

Recently I found myself comparing my mothering to other moms. I was watching the type of activities they did with their toddlers, their levels of patience. I wanted to see ways they communicated with their kids and how consistent they were. I compared it to the way I am with Noah and I immediately went home and started working on some things, bettering some things, about my parenting. I saw how much more consistent these mamas were with their children and I wanted to be that way with Noah. I also took note of the activities and realized I can be more hands on with him. 

What happened here? Did I compare myself to them and actually have a good outcome? Did this comparison steal my joy? Well no, in fact it helped me and allowed me some growth! Why did something good come of something bad?

I realized something through this and it has changed my perspective. 

com·pare (verb)-estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between

There isn't really anything negative in that definition of the word compare. So I asked myself, why do I think of this as such a negative word? Well the answer is simple, we have made it a bad thing. When we compare ourselves to others it tends to be from a heart of dissatisfaction or insecurity. When I don't like something about myself or my life, I look to others for how it could be better. 

What if for a moment I looked to God and asked Him to show me how I can better an area of my life?  Will He possibly use another woman to show me, no condemnation, no envy, just comparison, good comparison. 

You see if comparison is good then it leads to growth. How can we know the difference between it being good and bad? What we have to do is search our hearts. When my heart is in a good place then good things flow from it. If I was watching those mamas that day from a place of insecurity, the comparison would've been bad. It would've led to more insecurity and even inadequacy. But it didn't. It challenged me to just do a little more, be a little better. I learned from them and it was good, very good. God used other women to teach me and show me what I could work on.

Now coming completely from a personal perspective, I believe the issue is humility. 

hu·mil·i·ty (noun)- a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.

I know that is a random thought because we tend to believe that when we are hard on ourselves we are humble. It is actually the opposite. To focus so much on ourselves, even in a negative way, is its own form of pride. When my heart is prideful and I compare myself it makes comparison seem bad because I am really wondering "Why am I not as ____ as she is?" When my heart is humble I am teachable and can then look at the life or actions of another and learn from them. 

So the question comes up, is comparison really the thief of joy, or is it actually my heart that turns comparison into something negative? When we realize its the latter, comparison takes on a new meaning because we take ownership of it. This is when comparison becomes good. No envy, no insecurity, not even an ounce of joy taken away. Theres only room for growth and that is always good.

Well thanks for stopping by ladies. I went to my friends this morning and her house was super neat and tidy so I should probably get off the computer and go clean mine ;-) 

xoxo Jalyssa 

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