4 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
by Cindi McMenamin
Why do you and I constantly compare ourselves to others?
Is it epidemic among women or is it just a mom thing?
If you’re like me, you don’t intentionally play the comparison game. It just happens. Before you know it, you’ve sized yourself up, measured someone else by your own standards, or concluded – after observation and the collection of a few facts – that you’re inferior or superior to someone else.
I don’t believe we set out to exalt ourselves when we compare ourselves to others. But certainly, we don’t play the comparison game with the aim of feeling inadequate as a result.
You and I compare ourselves to others out of our insecurities. We hope to feel better about ourselves if we end up ahead. We also compare because of our competitive or perfectionist nature — we have the desire to be right, perfect, or just better than another. But comparison rarely leads to humility, which pleases God and saves us the stress of constantly running our measuring stick over others in front of us.
Also, as we continually compare ourselves to other women or other moms, we will find that our children do the same. Like mother, like child.
Here are four ways to stop comparing yourself to others and find peace and contentment in being yourself:
1. Remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 18:30 tells us God’s ways are “perfect” and Psalm 139:14 tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Therefore you are God’s unique creation. As you surrender your heart and will to Him, He can mold you and transform you into exactly what He wants you to be. So, when you begin to feel inadequate and feel the temptation to compare, quietly whisper a prayer of thanks to God for making you the way you are.
2. Realize we all have different strengths and weaknesses.
I once heard my father jokingly say to someone “There will always be someone thinner, richer, and better looking, so get used to it.” I realize now that his advice is true. No matter how hard you and I try, another mom will always be better at something than we are. So when we start feeling the need to compare, we must recognize our opportunity to practice humility. This, too, can come through a simple prayer; Thank You, Heavenly Father, that in my weakness, You are strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Help me rely on You and Your strength, rather than seek out someone who appears weaker than me to make myself feel stronger.
3. Resort to compliments over comparison.
When you notice a mom who is able to manage her many kids in public better than you can manage your one or two, don’t start thinking of the many reasons she’s probably able to do that (she doesn’t work, she’s rich, she has a husband who dotes on her). Instead, compliment her on it. I once saw a woman in a store wearing the same top I had only she looked better in it. She was shorter, thinner, and younger. Rather than dwell on that (and begin to hate her for it) I quickly said “I have that same top, but you look so much better in it. Good job.” The sincere smile on my face killed the self-pity that could’ve arisen in my heart that I’m not younger, thinner, or more able to rock that top. Complimenting others outwardly keeps us from complaining inwardly and cultivating a critical spirit.
4. Rely on God’s opinion of you, rather than the opinion of others.
Our own insecurity often causes us to compare ourselves with others, looking for a way to feel better about ourselves. But what if you and I relied on God’s opinion of us before we had a chance to listen to our own, or others’ opinions. If someone is praising a mom who hasn’t done half as much as you’ve done for your child’s classroom or sports team, quietly thank God that He sees your heart and actions and He knows the real story. If another mom is bragging about her own abilities, don’t go there in starting to compare hers with yours. Instead, quietly whisper “This doesn’t matter, God. Help me to be content with Your evaluation of me over anything else.” Sometimes we have to tell ourselves what to think in order to keep our minds from going in the wrong direction. Not only are you and I fearfully and wonderfully made, but when we are in Christ, He sees us as perfect in Christ. That means we have God’s measuring stick, not our own or that of others to live by.
So walk tall, my friend. You are wonderfully and uniquely designed, and when it comes to how God sees you, no one else can even compare!
Cindi McMenamin is a wife, mom, and national speaker who helps women strengthen their walk with God and their relationships. She is the author of 17 books including, When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, When God Sees Your Tears, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, and Drama Free, For more on her speaking ministry, or free articles to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.