Let This Be The Year You Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

by Love and Relationships, Self-Knowledge, Testimonies

I have a confession to make. Through my spiritual journey, and even through my professional path, I have struggled again and again with comparing myself to others. It has been a bump on the road that has stopped me from flourishing in an authentic, peaceful, and joyful way. It touches my soul’s deepest wounds and some of the quarrels I’ve had with Jesus over my identity and vocation.

Which is why I decided to write about it.

When Comparing Steals Our Joy

I, my friend, am guilty as charged of frequently comparing myself to others, falling into envy, self-loathing, and ingratitude. However, during these valleys and beyond, I have found deep solace in God’s love.

For a long time, I have been comparing my life, achievements, talents, and dreams to others, be it my classmates, friends, relatives, co-workers, or even strangers, thanks to our beloved LinkedIn and Instagram. The late twenties can be a time of uncertainty, big decisions, and self-knowledge, especially in this age of competition, high-performers, globalization and hyper connectivity. For me, this part of my life brought a combination of not knowing what to do with my professional life, feeling I was always under-performing in my relationships, and seeing everyone else,  apparently confident about themselves and their choices, doing really well, the way I could not seem to do. This chain of thoughts and emotions created a storm in my heart that was making me resentful and bitter. I just could not stop it even though I knew it was wrong. I kept asking myself: Why am I letting this constant comparison kill my spiritual life, steal my joy and keep me from flourishing? 

I came to see, through hard conversations, prayer, and receiving lots of love from the people around me, that I was building my self-concept based on society’s and my own expectations. I was completely ignoring God’s view of me, His glance upon me, the beauty of His creative hand in my life. And that was exactly where my true identity lied: in being His daughter, loved beyond measure before I was even born, loved because I was me and no more, with a love that expected nothing.

Once I saw this, I could feel his sadness and regret for my rejection of such love. Why can’t you see me seeing you, my child? Why would you ever seek to be like someone else if I made you to be YOU? Comparing myself to others was frustrating God’s plan for me, and keeping me from, as Danielle Rose sings, becoming the saint that is just me. It was rejecting his unconditional love for my humanity in all its fragility and brokenness.

If you are struggling with comparison too, here are some ways that have helped me navigate through this spiritual challenge, and come out of it feeling more loved, accepted and blessed than ever before.

8 Things To Do To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

  1. Dig deeper into your heart. Where is that comparison coming from? Is it a wound I haven’t discovered or asked God to heal? What am I unsatisfied with about myself? Or am I living facing the world, worrying too much about its opinion and judgment, instead of facing God and, my ultimate end, Heaven? What do I want with my life? Revisit those scary places of your heart where your motivations and deep desires are, and transform them to be in harmony with your God-given identity and call.
  1. Bring your feelings of unworthiness, comparison and envy to confession and spiritual direction. Start your healing and self-knowledge journey with all the human and spiritual tools at your disposal. You don’t have to do this alone. It is through God’s Grace, your guides’ wisdom and love, and your own disposition to let go of external expectations and earthly motivations, that you can come to peace with the uniqueness and beauty of who you are.
  1. If needed, go to therapy. Sometimes our tendencies to comparison and our resentment towards others and ourselves come from the frustration of wanting to be someone we are not. Certain personality traits, such as agreeableness and perfectionism, make us follow unreachable social patterns of how we should behave in our specific contexts that end up contaminating who we should be. Going to therapy is a great way to uncover these psychological inclinations (of course, always include God in that quest for emotional wellbeing).
  1. Count your blessings and be grateful. Every day, again and again. Write them down and make them visible for you to go back to them every time the temptation of comparison comes lurking. You are God’s beloved son or daughter and have been blessed with people, virtues and a unique story. Use spiritual memory, go back to those moments when you’ve felt deeply loved and blessed, and bring them to the present moment for comfort and gratitude.
  1. Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. Give Glory to God for how He works in your life, and ask Him for the grace to see yourself as He sees you. Mary’s Magnificat is a great example of this type of prayer:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name (…)”. (Lc 1, 46)

You can also contemplate Christ’s baptism, in which The Father looks upon his son and exclaims, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3, 17). Place yourself in the picture. This is Your Father, the creator of the universe, who delights in your existence.

  1. Worship God for the beauty and goodness of others. Each time you are tempted to compare yourself to others or to feel envy towards their achievements, reflect on how they are a sign of the greatness of God’s creation, and how those good deeds work as a worship song in daily life. He who makes all things new and works goodness into his creatures has also done it and is doing it right now in your soul. It is miraculous how a simple “glory be to God” can change a bad feeling about someone into a joyful and thankful one.
  1. Cut off from social media. It might be the case that browsing through a specific social media is harming your self-image and causing you to constantly fall into comparison without realizing it. Quitting, at least for some time, can be very liberating and will give you more time and space for focusing on your own holiness, success and relationships. Don’t see it as a sacrifice or as fasting, but as a gift to yourself that will allow silence, self-love and peace to enter your soul.
  1. Find a community based on compassion, collaboration and celebration for each person’s uniqueness. In a world that’s persistently pushing us towards competition and “standing out”, even in christian environments, building and being a part of compassionate and collaborative communities can bring us comfort and freedom. Look for people where each one can be its own self and can strive to be the son or daughter saved by Jesus on the cross, in his or her most unique and authentic self. Healing your relationship with others through communities will allow you to see them, not as peers to compare yourself to, but as neighbors to cherish and love.

I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they have been to me through the adventure of receiving God’s loving glance and finding my true self in his embrace.

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Image: Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

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