Comparison Kills Contentment

“No one makes you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

When I knew I wanted to write on this subject, I was a little intimidated. For good reason, I believe.

To uncover and call out all the destructive forms of “comparison” in all its layers and intricacies? That’s a big task to take on, for anyone. But out of all the things we need to address to ourselves, comparison is the elephant in the room. So, here we are.

Let’s start with a little bit of reflection. How exactly do you think comparison has affected your life lately?

You are certainly not alone if the only thing comparison contributes to your life is mostly negative. Feelings of discontent, jealousy, unworthiness, and sadness often stem from when we ourselves compare our behind the scenes moments to the social media highlight reels of another.

So, why exactly do we continue to compare if it has such awful consequences?

Well, first off, because it’s easy. It’s the most second nature thing that we can do. We are always wondering how we rank with people. But, again…it would be so much easier if we didn’t concern ourselves with the constant need to be best. Why do we do it?

Is it because we feel our worth somehow increases if we have the perfect hair, the perfect teeth, the perfect job, the perfect home? Is that why we idealize those we feel do have all those things and more? Do we really think that’s the end all of living? Or is life really about who you are, first and fore most?

It’s easy to say to yourself, “yes! Life is about who you are on the inside, not the outside.” But, when it comes down to the way we live? We contradict ourselves completely, by glorifying any well dressed, rich, and beautiful person like they aren’t entirely as human as we are.

The thing is, if we base our worth on feelings of worth, we will always be on a see-saw of emotions. We will never have a firm foundation of identity and we will never grasp our real worth.

So how are we going to address this comparison monster?

By getting to the heart of comparison, and debunking every little lie it whispers in your ear.

The perfection illusion

The people we compare ourselves to seem to have it all. At least, all that we think we are lacking. Whether that be the looks we think we don’t live up to, or the travel photography we wish we could have taken in person, whether it be the friend that seems like they have it ALL together…

We all are attracted to the ultimate “if only’s” in life. If only I looked like that. If only I had that job. If only I were that outgoing ALL the time. If only I were that perfect. Every time we allow ourselves to think like this, we are bashing who we are in the worst way possible, and truthfully…undermining all the good parts about us as humans.

The truth is, the same people you may be comparing yourself to in everyday life could just as well be comparing themselves to you, just in different ways.

When have we become so harsh on ourselves that we create an observational task force on what features look better on others, than the ones we own? Or the aspects of our life that seem to be less than ideal, compared to the ideal in other people’s lives?

We are not continually in competition with our fellow man.

Believing we are in constant competition will most definitely have detrimental consequences to our own personal growth. Or at least our CONTENTMENT with our own personal growth.

Viewing life as one big competition is a mistake that threatens to take away all the potential encouragement and genuine happiness we could be feeling for others when they succeed!

All of us humans, are at different stages in growth and development. When you hit a certain age, usually many of your friends are at different stages in life. So, don’t beat up on yourself for not being at a certain stage yet, or not feeling you “have it all together” right now. Seriously, who DOES have it all together right away? We learn as we live.

When you remind yourself that you are not in competition with every person that comes along, you give yourself room to SUPPORT others! Be encouraging of others! Love others! It’s extremely freeing to realize this.  This struck me even more, when just the other day a friend was telling me about something new and important going on in their lives, and I got so overwhelmingly and genuinely excited for them!

They told me, “I’m so glad I could tell you and you’re excited about this! Because I told someone else and they weren’t excited. Actually, I think they were jealous.”

I thought, wow. I’m so glad I could be supportive of this friend. What IF I would’ve let the comparison game dominate? That would’ve been an awful mistake. Because the way I reacted is exactly how I would want my friends to react to excited news I would share with them! Support your friends. Be happy for them. Don’t compare. Don’t compete. (And trust me, this is coming from an athlete. You know how hard not competing is for me sometimes)!

Comparison Kills Contentment 

This was told to me by one of my favorite middle school teachers. Comparison kills contentment. I’ve carried that with me ever since then, and it has become so much more prevalent when I realized just how true it is through everyday life. Keep this knowledge with you and pull this saying out from the corners of your mind whenever you need that reminder.

Don’t ever allow yourself to feel inferior by the good qualities another soul possesses. The good qualities in another does not equal the lack of good qualities in yourself.

You yourself have a billion gifts and good qualities about you. Many you’ve yet to learn about! So, please, take the time to hone them, focus on your growth, and embrace all the unique aspects that make up yourself as a person.

There are indeed forms of healthy comparison.

Have mentors and role models before you, that exemplify a life worth living. There are indeed healthy reminders of how to live life. So, follow those healthy reminders wholeheartedly, because your life is a life worth living well.

So, how should we go forward and conquer UNHEALTHY comparison once and for all?

By following these steps every time the comparison bug starts to rear its head.

Remember to…

Acknowledge we are not in constant competition with our fellow man.

Acknowledge that we are on a unique journey and timeline of life, all our own.

Acknowledge comparison, more often than not, kills valuable contentment in our own personal growth.

Acknowledge that the existent of good qualities in another person does not equate the lack of good qualities in yourself.

I hope you can carry these lessons with you, as I try to carry them with me, as well.

A lot of times a writer writes something important like this, they are writing from experience, and they are also writing to remind themselves. So, you are not alone in this journey called life!

I wish you all the best and that you live a life content in the progress you are making.

Until next time,

Hannah

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If You’re Passing through the Waters…

I don’t know why I had the urge to write this tonight. It kind of washed over me, like something I knew I had to do. I mean- I haven’t written a blog post in months, but tonight…it’s something I’m doing.

I hope this blog post meets you right where you’re at. Maybe you’re feeling great- I’m glad! Maybe you’re not feeling anything in particular. Maybe you’re feeling the whole world crash around you, and you don’t know why…or you know exactly why.

The thing is, I don’t know you’re situation. All I know is that when we go through heartbreaking moments, moments when we have little to no peace, moments when we are being challenged in all we are and all we stand for, we often feel like the pain will never end, that we’ll just be stuck in it forever. We feel like we are alone in our suffering, and that no one understands. How wrong we are, my friend.

The truth is, there are many of us who feel the same way, we just never speak up. We feel that people won’t look at us the same way when they see us in our struggling moments. Maybe that is the case, but I want to tell you something…nothing in your life happens on accident. I don’t know your worldview, what you believe, what you put your hope in. But I trust that God has an infinitely bigger plan for you than you do yourself right now.

And because nothing happens on accident, as I stated earlier…your story, however unique and tough that may be, was meant to happen just the way it did. Maybe to grow you as an individual, maybe so that you can be challenged in your beliefs, maybe so you can use your pain and lessons to help other people who are going through similar, maybe we won’t completely know why! But-we can take comfort that nothing is going to go to waste!

These waves that are tossing you about tonight, they aren’t meant to drown you, my friend. They’re meant to make you a better swimmer.

So, no. You aren’t alone tonight if you feel like you’re barely getting by. You’re not alone in all those tough moments that no one else sees, and all the pain no one else knows you endure. You’re only being made stronger by the trials that you are going through, and while each wave takes us, we can have full confidence that we will be growing through it all.

Isaiah 43:1-2 says,

“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.”

When we place our trust not in ourselves, but onto the God who formed us and takes care of us, we are made that much stronger by His power. The chains that once kept us from being free are released, and we can live happier, more joyful lives, trusting the Lord with all our cares. He promises you won’t drown. He will lift you up through it all.

Your trusty blogger (who seriously needs to find time to blog more),

Hannah

To Everyone Growing Up…

Dear person growing up,

It’s okay to mourn growing older. (Temporarily).

Childhood is precious and it’s special and it’s magical and imaginative.

But newsflash: those warning you of the “real world” and how awful adulthood is going to be are the ones that are doing adulthood wrong. You don’t have to lose that optimism and that light. That light and that love for life

In some ways, it is the most pure form of living.

So don’t grow up. Yes, grow. But grow responsible. Grow taller. Grow stronger. Grow in all other areas, but don’t grow cold. Don’t grow numb. Don’t grow critical. Don’t grow complacent.

Keep that best version of you that believes in something, that kid that knew they’d be a cool adult, and never let them go.

There are countless numbers of bitter people in the world that could tell you what adulthood means for them.

But listen…growing up shouldn’t be the end to your happy. It should be a continuation of it, an even freer happy. Life is all in the perspective.

Love,

Hannah (a fellow grower-upper…)

Growth, Trees, and..what? Patience??

Hey, you! Yeahh, you. The one with that weird haircut and your eyes glued to the screen. Gosh. You look like you haven’t gone outside in months. Well, good news, couch potato! I definitely haven’t forgotten about you..although I wouldn’t blame you if you’d forgotten ME, at this rate.. Completely going off the blogging grid after posting an entry about my hopeful “blog schedule”? Ironic for even me, but seriously..

These last few months have been a roller coaster of ups and downs, and making time to post was nearly impossible. But no fear. I’ve still been writing! You guys just haven’t seen any of it yet. So, buckle your seat belts, folks. The silence is over, thank gosh. It was driving me a little crazy knowing I haven’t posted in so long, when I know I have more meaningful content to write than ever before.

This was written two days ago in the morning, looking out on the wonderful landscape of my high school Providence Christian Academy’s campus.

“The trees are winding and twisting every which way. They grow however they grow, effortlessly. Without a care in the world, they trust the tale of time to show them who they’ll be.

Patience. The tree has patience like no other. It cannot see itself growing. Actually, to HIM it seems like he’s forever rooted in one place. With no change to come.

But slowly, it realizes that there is meaning to the life even the smallest and the lowest of us are granted. Just takes trust.”

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These are some pictures I have taken at my high school’s campus last year, in the founding year of the school.

tree

But yes..I’m here to stay and have more content to come, including an entry of my relatively recent trip to New York City, around the time that the protests were going on.

In all the busy of these last few months, I’ve even gotten behind in reading what some of my favorite blogs have been posting! In the days and weeks and months to come, I will be working overtime. This isn’t something I’m going to give up on.

So, stick around for the ride..

Your lil ol’ blogger signing out,

Hannah