A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post called, “One Way to Quit the Comparison Game.”
A dear friend left this comment, which she’s given me permission to share:
Ouch. This hits me in a tender spot. This morning, I was taking a trial at a new gym and two other moms from my son’s school were there. All I could think about is that they were looking at and judging me by how I was performing at my cardio routine. How self-obsessed is that?! This is something I really need to work on…
Now I am used to hearing “ouch” from those who read my blog and hear me speak.
(I regularly tell God, “Okay, today’s message will be finally be a FUNNY ONE, right? Today’s the day you let me release my inner comedienne, yes?” Several hours later, He’s given me another toe-stomper that leaves me limping the most.)
But this time, the “ouch” didn’t set right with me.
After prayer and reflection, I wrote back:
You’re not self-obsessed, my friend. You’ve been set up for the comparison game since before you had the power of choice.
When you’ve been told since earliest childhood that who you are is both “too much” and also “not enough,” comparison becomes your default setting.
Since who you actually are is unacceptable, the only remaining option is to be anybody but yourself.
You were told that you needed to “be more like so-and-so.” So, you dutifully looked* at others and learned to
- want what they have.
- want to do what they do.
- want to be who they are.
You compared yourself to others so that you could become “just like them” and finally be loved.
To fulfill your longing for belonging.
So you grew up with an external locus of control, putting your sense of worth in the hands of those around you.
Then, as an adult, you’re harshly criticized for playing the comparison game. But it’s the only game you’ve ever known. And you’ve been so careful to learn all the rules by heart.
Then Shame shows up with one-line zingers like, “How self-obsessed is that?!?”
Think back on your gym experience.
Try seeing yourself as an outcast little girl, on tippy-toes, looking in the window and longing to be an insider.
It’s not self-obsessed to wish you weren’t an outsider.
It’s not proud to long for connection and belonging and love.
It’s your birthright.
What I’m learning about myself is that when I see my envy as a little girl full of longing, I now know what to do and what not to do.
I no longer beat myself up with statements like, “How self-obsessed is that?!?” (Which never once cured my envy, but always buried me in shame.)
Instead, I make a more courageous choice.
I take her by the hand and lead her to the One who says, “suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me.”
To the One who calls her “daughter.”
To the One who “delights” in her.
Right where she always belongs.
- When do you find yourself playing the “comparison game” the most?
- What true longing might be hidden within envy for you?
- Anything else on your heart!