For the past couple of articles we have been discussing the scarcity mindset. It is the perspective of not having or being enough. Not pretty enough. Not fit enough. Not healthy enough. Not rested enough. Not wealthy enough. You name it. We are spending three articles to look at each component of the scarcity mindset: shame, comparison, and disengagement. In this article we will be looking at comparison and how it effects your health. So let’s get started.
What is comparison? Comparison is the mental action of comparing yourself to others in a way that is self-defeating. This is different from competing. A competition is when two parties going for the same goal. But when comparing, you are trying to measure yourself to a person who is unaware. You are essentially looking at someone else that you have deemed smart, prettier, fitter, healthier, and you are seeing how you measure up. There are fascinating research to suggest that it is natural for us to compare ourselves to people many stages more advance than us if we want to improve, and compare to people who are worse off from ourselves if we want to feel better about ourselves. Both are considered a scarcity mindset. With one you are saying to yourself you are not enough therefore improve. And with the other you are feeling insecure about being enough therefore you compare to feel better about yourself.
Not to mention that when you compare, you are setting your eyes and focus on someone else’s achievements. As you focus on that someone else, you will in fact follow their path which means you are not following the path God has for you and that will ultimately hurt you in the long run. You are not focusing fully who God made you to be. You are robbing yourself and this world of you. You are important to the building up of this world and the body of believers. So it is a huge disservice when you compare in a way that re-routes who you are and what you are doing. (On a practical note, when you compare during a workout, you are not putting all of your attention on what you can do, therefore predestining your shortcomings.)
Ultimately the truth is when I am pleased with my body and my life, I am not interested in playing comparison mind games. The comparison mind games keep you so focused on what you don’t have or who you are not, it steals your joy. Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “comparison is the thief of joy.”
Now let me clarify one thing. Many of you are probably wondering, how can I better myself if I am not able to compare myself to others? Well I would say check your heart and thoughts. Are you comparing or are you seeking inspiration. There’s a different. When you are comparing, there is little thought of the person as a whole. You have no regard to the pains and toils that person has gone through to have what they have. Also when you compare, there is no regard to what you do have. But when you are inspired by someone, you are aware of the person’s struggle and you are willing and encouraged to do it too. You are aware of the things you are and have to make that inspiration possible. That is the difference. Don’t worry, the Holy Spirit will let you know which mindset you have, and He can work with you to change the perspective.
Let’s see what the bible says about comparison, shall we…
Romans 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
2 Corinthians 10:12 Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
So how do we approach a life free from comparison…
- Be aware of your mindset. Comparison thoughts can be very brief but they are still destructive to your joy and wellbeing. Try to be aware. Who you are comparing yourself to? Is it comparing or inspiration? Is there thoughts of believing you are lesser or experiencing lesser? Make a list of the things or people you compare yourself to. There might be a pattern that you can approach God in seeking freedom from.
- Reroute your thoughts After you become aware of the comparison mentality, try to reroute your thoughts. If you are comparing yourself to another person, think about channeling the thought into inspiration by becoming aware of the work they have put in to their achievement you desire. If you are comparing your stuff to another, list some things you do have or list out some things you are grateful for. Many times these lists will help you better steward and use what you have to achieve great things as well.
- Pray for yourself and the person you are comparing yourself to. There is a reason that you are feeling the impulse to compare yourself to someone. It is no reason to be alarmed, just be aware. You might need help from the Holy Spirit to really believe that who you are and what you have is enough. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see how to steward who you are and what you have to glorify God best. Prayer is the way to start the conversion process of comparison to inspiration and stewardship. Then pray for the person you are comparing yourself too. God values this person just like He values you too. Praying for them helps your heart and mindset soften from comparison with a challenging mentality to an inspiration with a familial mentality. Remember we are called to love one another.
To conclude, let us be inspired by one another. Let us encourage and build each other up to great God honoring things. As always, it is an honor to be writing to you. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.