The comparison game.
We all play it. Does any of the following sound familiar? (Hint: Fill in ‘before me’ or ‘better than me’ to see exactly what I mean.)
She got married first. She got pregnant without even trying. She dresses more stylishly. She lost the baby weight faster. She gets to stay home with her kids. She has a better paying job. Her house is cleaner. Her house is bigger. Her children sleep through the night. Her kids are better behaved. She is more organized. She cooks from scratch more. She saves with coupons. She doesn’t have to watch every penny. She runs a successful home business. She home schools her kids effortlessly. She’s more successful than I am.
The list could go on and on. Sometimes, ladies, I think we’re our own worst enemies. In fact, I know we are!
Just when things are going well for you and you think you have a handle on life, something happens that makes you start comparing yourself (yet again) to someone else’s journey and success.
Why do we do it? Why is it so hard to believe we’re enough – just as we are right now?
My story is not yours and your life is not mine. So, why are we comparing ourselves to each other?
Can I share a personal example?
I’ve been blogging for 5 long years now. It was always my dream to turn this blog into a supplemental income for our family. Teaching full-time and starting a family didn’t allow me much time to pursue this dream so it wasn’t until last year that I started working hard at this goal.
My blog has gone through big changes in the last year and has seen major growth as I devote the time to turn my blog from a hobby into a business. I’ve made huge strides and am starting to slowly see some of my hard work pay off. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come UNTIL…
A new blogger friend got a huge surge of traffic. I was thrilled for her, but it’s still hard to watch a new blogger (who’s only been at this for a year) get a page views (in one day) that I have yet to achieve. She doubled her Facebook page overnight when I’ve been intentionally working at it and can’t seem to increase much at all. Her page views (and income) are growing rapidly while mine are increasing, but not nearly at the same rate. All of the sudden, I feel like I’m playing catch-up but why?
This blogger is doing a great job writing at her blog. I’m honestly and truly excited for her to see this success. Of course, I wish something like this would happen to me, but when I stopped to think about, I realized others could probably say the same about me – in different ways.
I have two babies when I know others are still longing for the same answered prayer in the lonely infertility journey. I’m staying home with my children when other friends long to do the same. We’re debt free while others are working hard to pay off student loans and credit card debt. I’m earning supplemental income for our family (in several different ways) from home while others struggle with finding a way to do the same. I don’t say this to boast but to remind myself – and you – to simply stop.
Let’s stop the comparison game right now.
We need to give ourselves grace.
We are all doing the best we can with the challenges life gives us and the gifts God grants us.
We are at different stages of our journey! We can’t compare beginning pieces to middle ones.
As Elizabeth Elliot so wisely said, we simply have to “do the next thing.”
It’s going to happen. As women, we’re constantly going to struggle with the temptation to compare ourselves to one another. The next time it happens, remember this.
You are enough. You are doing what you need to be doing right now. Don’t worry about what someone else is doing. Look at yourself and see what God has done – and is doing.
And yes, give yourself grace. You are already amazing – exactly as you are!