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home : opinion : e-opinion December 9, 2019

10/11/2019 1:45:00 PM
Comparing Yourself To Others Is Dangerous

Marty Reep, Author
Speaker, Forward-Thinker

Life is full of comparisons. Some of them are good, while some of them are not nearly as good as others. Our minds and hearts are constantly comparing ourselves to other people: past, present, and future.

But, some questions come to mind: Which ruler/comparison do we use? Is the ruler a solid one or a weak one? A wise one or a silly one? When we use a ruler to compare ourselves to other people, we lose. Why? Because, suddenly our standard goes from contentment or happiness to fear or contempt. Likewise, this changes the standard from an internal one to an external one.

When people compare themselves to others, they tend to undercut themselves: “I’m not tall enough.” “I’m too tall.” “I’m not skinny enough.” “I’m too skinny.” “I’m not as smart as that other person.” “She’s richer than me.” “They’re better looking than I am.” While those statements may seem innocent enough, they actually can cause harm. Those types of comparison statements shift your focus from gratefulness to hatefulness.

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Yes, those kinds of thoughts catch all of us by surprise from time to time. So, when you realize you’re thinking those kinds of things in the future, do one of the following:

+ think about something else
    (to break the pattern of negative thoughts);

+ do something positive
    (that will put your mind back into a state of gratefulness);

+ tell yourself a joke
    (gets the happy chemicals flowing in your brain);

+ snap your wrist with a “Yah, but” rubber band
    (I’ve mentioned those in the past).

If you’ll do one of those things whenever self-destructive thoughts come, you’ll retrain your brain in good directions. Two of the results are that you’ll be happier and less stressed.

Rulers and measuring tapes are useful tools, when used the right way. If you use some form of them to gauge your own progress from one date to another, then that would be helpful.

Likewise, when it comes to personal growth, don’t consider other people your competition. Instead, try to treat them as your collaborative team members in life. If you want to compete against somebody, then compete against yourself.

Comparing yourself to others is dangerous. So, avoid it. Instead, pick something you want to work on in your own life; set a goal; set a deadline; and get started. Once some time has passed, compare your own progress to yourself. You’ll have healthy, useful results you can do something about.

The bottom line is that you only have control over your own actions and your own self. You can’t control some else’s actions, nor do you know everything they’ve gone through (good or bad) to achieve what they’ve achieved (good or bad). Therefore, use an internal monitoring system to track and improve your own achievements. Then, you’ll truly be comparing “like” to “like”.

As you live out the goodness of how God made you and for what He made you, you’ll sense that you’re growing instead of comparing. And, THAT is something worth getting excited about! So, be excited about who you are. You are blessed!

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