Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
In last week’s post, I gave you my secret to being confident (you can read it here). Today, I wanna flip the tables and dig into the root of insecurity. . .Bur first, I have a bold question to ask you…
What makes you insecure?
I know it’s tough to answer honestly. But I want to encourage you to pull out a sheet of paper and jot down your answers, because the only way to defeat insecurity is to pinpoint the cause.
After a few weeks of asking myself this question and observing others around me, I realized the core of many insecurities is in one petty little word: Comparison.
Let’s adjust Mr. Roosevelt’s quote a bit: Comparison is a thief of confidence.
Of course, several factors can steal our confidence–Family difficulties, spiritual struggles–fill in the blank. Comparison is only part of the problem, but I believe, a big part, and one I want to deal with together.
I asked a few friends to help me out today by sharing things they compare with themselves and others; comparisons that feed their insecurity. And, after adding my own weaknesses to the mix, I wrote a list of several comparisons we must avoid.
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12, ESV).
Sweet friend, if you find yourself stuck in the muddy comparison game, read on. Here are 5 comparisons that steal confidence…and how to crush them.
1) Outward appearance: Beauty, weight, style, demeanor
I was sad, but not surprised, when everyone I asked (including myself) was so quick to say the first thing they compare is looks. Often we’re so distracted worrying if we’re pretty like “she is” or sassy like “her” or stylish like “that girl,” that we completely miss out on real life.
Friend, life isn’t about how attractive or trendy you are. Of course it’s nice to be in style and we should take care of ourselves, but that’s not the main goal. When we spend all our time comparing every detail of ourselves to other girls, we completely squash our confidence. I’ve been there, and it’s not fun.
The more we obsess over outward beauty, the more focused we are on small, unimportant (and unchangeable!) details. The comparisons may seem harmless–and sometimes we may not even realize we’re doing it. But each little thought adds up to destruction.
- Her eyes are a prettier blue than mine.
- Why can’t I have long eyelashes like hers?
- Her eyebrows are flawless. Mine must look like a mess to her.
- Man, I wish my chin was that perfect.
- Why does her body have to be so perfect? So unfair.
The cycle is vicious.
Beautiful girl, don’t let someone else’s appearance make you doubt your own beauty. Cliché as it may be, God made you unique and flawless. Nothing He creates is less than perfect, and if He wanted you to look like “the other girl” He would have made you so. Don’t put a question mark where He already put a period 🙂
When tempted to compare appearances, run to this verse: “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised “ (Proverbs 31:30, NIV). With this as your weapon, you’ll crush the insecurities every time.
That sass or cute attitude in other girls isn’t what matters. In fact, those charming vibes can be deceitful. Those gorgeous features you see? Oh sweet friend, silky hair and a perfect body don’t last forever. Old age happens. Ugliness will eventually be more prominent than prettiness. Beauty is fleeting.
So, what happens when we’re all wrinkly and aged? We better have some inner beauty to show, or we’ll be in trouble. Instead of focusing on looks, work on cultivating a beautiful heart. A beautiful smile. Work on becoming a woman who fears the Lord.
2) Abilities: Grades, talents, accomplishments
It’s so easy to doubt our strengths when we focus on the talent of others.
I used to feel inferior to people with different hobbies or bigger accomplishments than my own. Sometimes I’d even try to take up hobbies I didn’t even like, because I wanted to feel better about myself. . . “equal” with someone else. Pretty silly, huh?
While I’m comfortable with my passions now, I still feel insecure when it comes to someone else’s high academia or number of “trophies.” It’s a constant struggle to remember that I don’t have to have the same success as others in order to be valuable. I don’t have to be the best at everything, as long as I’m doing my best at what I love.
Fight the “abilities” comparison with this truth: God blessed you with gifts special to you. Your job is to use them to the best of your ability and glorify God through it all. Embrace what you have been given, and you will find joy and contentment in what you love.
3) Social life: Friends, experiences, popularity status
I don’t know about you, but it’s almost second-nature for me to compare my experiences with others’. As soon as I hear about (or worse, see pictures of) places my friends have gone, I feel left out and inferior. I compare other people’s adventures—their social activities and geographic explorations—with my own, and feel lousy when I haven’t seen or done what they have. Does that make sense? It shouldn’t. 😉 Because God allows each of us to explore life in different ways, and every adventures—every life event is special. Your experiences don’t have to match anyone else’s. And the same goes for friends and popularity.
It’s easy to envy someone else’s group of friends or her status with guys, teachers, and everyone-perfect-and-talented.
Sweet friend, when you feel inferior because you’re not as well-known or socially burnt-out as another person, remember these two things: 1. Popularity isn’t everything—a handful of good friends is so much better than a crowd of fans. 2. Your life is beautiful. God hand-picked each of your experiences, and He wants you to embrace them!
Enjoy your life, strengthen your friendships, and be happy for those around you.
4) Spiritual walks
Do you ever look at someone else and assume her relationship with Jesus is better than yours? That, because she easily talks about Jesus, and her prayers are bold, she must have everything together? She must never experience spiritual valleys?
Sweet one, listen: Every Christ-follower knows exactly what it’s like to feel distant from God. Each Christian experiences Spiritual lows, and we’ve all felt dry when it comes to reading our Bible.
If it seems like someone else is stronger in the faith, remember that she probably went through fire to get there. When you feel intimidated by the apparent perfection in someone’s spiritual life, remember that she (or he) makes mistakes just like you do, and she knows what it’s like to need Jesus’ grace.
Even if others around you are more mature in the faith, that’s okay. We are all at different points in the race. Your job is to look to Jesus, and focus on cultivating your relationship with Him. To run hard after the prize He has for you. Don’t let other runners distract you from the race. Time is too short for that.
Combat spiritual comparison with these verses:
1. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV).
2. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24, ESV).
5) Social media: Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.
Aesthetics, likes, followers…Need I say more? Social media can be strangling if we aren’t careful.
The number of followers you have doesn’t define you as a person. . .and neither does anyone else’s. Appreciate the beauty of pictures you see, but don’t let those pictures consume your time—or your happiness. And especially don’t let someone else’s account determine what yours should look like!
Be authentic! Enjoy the little things, and don’t be ashamed to share your life—even if it’s messy. Even if it’s not geometrically perfect or color-coordinated. Everyone does life. We all know it’s crazy. Don’t be afraid to post something less than fleek.
As a wise friend of mine said to me once: “Instagram is a bunch of perfect squares by a bunch of flawed people.”
Okay, obviously I’m not saying Instagram or any other social media is wrong. (I love Pinterest and Instagram myself 😉 ). But I am saying that they can lead to fruitless comparison, eating up our time and our confidence. Social media is meant to be enjoyed, not to destroy.
Fight the media comparison with this wise little quote: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” -Steven Furtick
That hammers the nail on the head, huh?
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).
That’s all for now!
There are so many comparisons I didn’t even touch today, but I hope this helped you a little bit 🙂 If you like this post, please let me know if you want another like it! Feel free to let me know if there’s anything I left out–I love your feedback 🙂
Something for you:
Want more help to steer free of comparison? I made two printables for you to download or hang on your wall for just that purpose! One sheet has my favorite quotes about comparison, and the other, verses to help you resist it. These verses have helped me like none other, and I know they’ll be an encouragement to you