What Comparison Does to You

comparing to others

Susan has noticed that more and more couples have what she’s called an “InstaMarriage” on social media. You know the type I mean: all the pictures and posts are carefully crafted to show nothing but marital and family bliss. We all know life is harder and more complicated, and yet it’s so tempting to be envious of that “fakebook” world that others create. It’s not real. It’s not safe. It’s not a standard to live up to. Instead, these posts create comparisons of self, job, marriage, and status that are sometimes crushing. We must learn to confront what comparing to others does to us and fight it.

Comparison can be silent, just lurking in our thoughts. You may never say “I wish I had a car like that” to a single soul, yet that thought can dominate your mind and heart.

Comparison can be spoken. You may think saying “Why can’t you be more like your older brother?” is a good way to motivate one child, yet it can misshape that child’s sense of value and self-worth.

Comparison can be subtle. You may think you’ve never told your spouse you wish they were different, but your frequent mentions of what you like in the looks of others is telling your spouse how they don’t stack up.

Comparison can damage people and relationships. But we can’t fight it if we don’t understand what it’s doing to us. Here are four ways constant comparison is hurting our lives:

1. Robbing us of identity and value: Comparing ourselves, our spouse, or children to other people changes how we see each other. Instead of acknowledging the value and uniqueness in each person, we latch on to perceived deficiencies.

2. Fostering insecurity and hopelessness: Over time, constant comparison chips away at our ability to dream dreams and set goals. It cultivates doubt and fear that may sap us of our desire to keep working and trying in our lives.

3. Blocking satisfaction and contentmentContentment is being satisfied and at peace with who and what we have in our lives. Constantly comparing causes discontentment. It goes like this: If I only had __________ like them, then I’d be happy.

4. Suppressing joy and happiness: Sadness and discouragement are the fruits of comparison. If you are fixated on what you lack, you cannot be grateful for what you have. [Tweet This]

So if comparison is crushing us, what can we do? Judy Garland is often quoted as saying “Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.” Be the best you!

For more really important tips on crushing comparison in your marriage, specifically, click here. How has comparison impacted your life and marriage? Share your observations with me below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • CJ

    Years of ugliness and hopelessness in life have crushed any dreams and desires I have for a better life and praying that God will ever make things better — or even has my back and best interests at heart. I am suffering through my third bout of unemployment in five years and just finished my last week of unemployment benefits this last week with still no jobs in site. With 4 college degrees and 20-plus years of experience in my field, I can’t even land stockboy positions at the local supermarket or getting carts at the Home Depot (have applied for both).

    I have had many interviews in recent months only to come in as the “runner-up” and never the finalist. I am frustrated and discouraged beyond words. My prayers just go right out the door and the gracious, loving, kind God that I read about daily in my Bible as my provider seems to just ignore my pleas and my heart’s longing to be a provider for my family.

    My poor wife has had to support us for so many years and it is so hard to see EVERY single one of my friends never having the unemployment problems I do and they are the main breadwinners for their families. Why does God do this to a man who is longing to be a good husband and father? Why does he strip us of all of our self worth, our confidence our self esteem and allow us to be tormented by Satan and his demons and be oppressed and in constant turmoil and agony with no hope?

    I no longer have dreams. My dreams ended years and years ago. My expectations and goals went right out the window, even though they are only to be a good man of God. I am without a church, my marriage is crumbling, I have no joy, no peace and my relationship with God is strained to say the least. Really don’t know where to go from here.

  • BJ_Foster

    So sorry CJ. I don’t know why stuff like this happens. When I look around at the world and see people of good faith suffering and the opposite advancing it’s tough for me to make sense of it. One thing I know for sure is that God has more information than we do. When all of my friends were getting married and I was burying my father or when I had bouts of unemployment or low income while all of my friends were experiencing dramatic success or when my wife and I had a miscarriage when all of our friends were having kids, for us it all came down to one question: Do I believe God is good or not? Sounds like you struggling with that just as I did. I finally came to the conclusion that He was and I surrendered to what He wanted no matter what, even when it is painful. He’s definitely working on some heart things with you, which shows that He cares. Continuing to pray.