Don’t Let Comparison Steal Your Joy: How to Overcome the Comparison Game

Comparison is the thief of joy

Theodore Roosevelt

I’m never more unsatisfied or unhappy than when I’m comparing myself or my situation to another’s.

Don't Let Comparison Steal Your Joy: How I Overcame the Comparison Game

Yet, I do it all the time…

I perceive if I had her outfit or better hair or abs then I would be happier. If only we could have “date night” at a fancy restaurant or be as affectionate as that couple then our relationship would be “so much better”. As I scroll through Instagram looking at cute babies and young moms I just long to have that life because they get to stay home and take care of their sweet babies all day while I have to work or to school.

From a distance or on the other side of the screen everyone else’s life and appearance seem ideal to me. Perhaps that really pretty girl is also thinking she doesn’t look that great compared to the girl she saw on the bus. Or maybe that couple is putting on a front or they just had a huge fight prior. Maybe that young mom is wishing she could sleep in, have alone time with her husband or get a break from the pressures of being a mom.

I’m often only observing the surface of people’s lives. I’m sure others look at my life and may think similar things about me. I realize I am very blessed and I am very grateful and content with my life overall. Yet I have moments where in my sinfulness I lack a grateful heart and I’m overcome with wanting what I don’t have. I find these thoughts strike me when I’m bored or doing something I’d rather not be doing like working. It’s odd I don’t feel discontent when I’m driving with Michael loving life or jet skiing with friends or sleeping in on a weekday. I can be a slave to my unhealthy thoughts allowing them to rule my attitude rather than deciding to change my cognitions and my attitude. To be honest I’ve struggled with comparison for a long time. It’s tough to balance being content and grateful for knowing I have areas I want to improve while not beating myself up for where I’m at.

I have to change my thinking patterns. That’s why I try often to remember the quote above. I don’t want to live a life lacking joy. I want to be satisfied, happy, and not desiring what others seem to have.

I also find memorizing the scripture a great way to fight off negative thoughts, a long time ago I wrote out the following verse and posted it beside my bed. Every night I would be reminded of this truth and eventually, I came to know it by heart.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5

Ultimately, I’m most content when I’m not focusing on my own situation but instead turning my focus to God, through prayer or reading my Bible. I find it imperative to stay connected to the source of truth. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall into the lies of discontentment and comparison. I always try to go back to the gospel and meditate on how undeserving I am of God’s grace in providing restitution and forgiveness for my sin, something I could never do on my own. When I focus on Him I have nothing to be discontent about or wanting.


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7 Replies to “Don’t Let Comparison Steal Your Joy: How to Overcome the Comparison Game”

  1. Great topic. I think we all compare ourselves to others when it comes to one thing or another in our lives. It’s easy to do, but it can also be very detrimental to our self-esteem.

    -Lauren

  2. I can totally relate to this. I’ve heard people call comparison the “sideways disease” because we’re always looking sideways to see what other people are doing or what they have, etc. It’s so hard to get out of that mindset, but I try to be grateful for what I have and what I’ve accomplished.

  3. It’s so, so easy to play the comparison game when it comes to other people’s lives… especially when everyone can post exactly what they want to their social media accounts! I struggle with this in how my home looks compared to all of these other people on Instagram who seem to have the perfect homes. I try to tell myself that what really matters is what happens in a home and not what it looks like. Most days I convince myself that that is true, but I definitely struggle with it on other days.

    Karin
    truncationblog.com

  4. I think almost everyone can relate to this – it’s human nature (in our sin) to covet our neighbors and want more. I think in the world of social media & especially in blogging, it’s even worse. But there is a fine line to your point about wanting better for yourself in a “healthy” way vs. in a comparison way. I think we all struggle with that balance and it’s so easy to get caught up in feeling inferior to the perfectly curated life of someone’s Instagram account!!

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