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.


When You Don’t Get What You Want

I recently heard a story about a lady who had infertility problems and she was to adopt another ladies baby after it was born. The due date came and went, and it turned out the lady had given the baby to someone else.

She had been promised this baby, had been hoping and excitedly preparing. She was thankful that God was giving her the desires of her heart. But then her hopes and dreams did not come to fruition. What a terrible loss.

She ended up going into a deep depression. Her comments on her situation from her current perspective really made me think. I’m paraphrasing but she said “We need to trust in God in who He is. Not in what we think He should or is going to give us. We shouldn’t put our hope or faith in relationships or desires. Only in God in His character and who He is.”  This really made me think. Often I want to look forward to what God has in store for my life such as a relationship, marriage, children. I can’t count on those things to fulfill me or to be proof of my good faith. I can only count on God, on His promises in His word.

Here are some attributes of God to dwell on:

Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever Hebrews 13:8

Nothing can separate us from His love Romans 8:38-39

He will never leave us or forsake us Hebrews 13:5

His love is unfailing Psalm 147:11

He is good Psalms 136:1

Count on God, His character and His promises; not on what you think He’s going to give you.