The “comparison trap”
I don’t think I’m alone in falling into the “comparison trap.”
It is true what they say: “comparison is the thief of joy.” I agree with that. Comparison has the power to paralyze us and take the wind out of our sails. How can we ever measure up? We see all the “wins” and achievements of those around us and compare them to our failures and loses. All the things we are doing “wrong.”
But can comparison also be a positive tool for change?
I think part of the reason I was so taken aback that night after I read about all the good things my sister’s kids are doing was because my kids really have relaxed on so many things lately and so have I. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are pretty awesome in so many ways. They do so many things well, sometimes to the point it makes my heart overflow watching them. But boy, there are always so many ways to grow and so much room for work and improvement. That comparison helped me realize some things that needed to change around here and helped whip us into gear…at least for a little while. (Thank you Saren!)
So maybe comparison is also “fuel for work and improvement” in a way?
Comparison vs. Admiration
I guess what makes a difference is COMPARISON vs. ADMIRATION.
When we start to compare, it IS a trap. We start to feel worried about ourselves and what we’re doing. But when we read or see something awesome someone else is doing beautifully, and we feel lacking in that category, perhaps we need to use the “transformer principle.”
If we transform that comparison that brings loss of hope and guilt and sadness to admiration, what a difference that can make! This helps us celebrate the goodness of others, and also gives us ideas and hope that we too can push ourselves. We just remember our results may be different from someone else’s. This whole little incident was just a good reminder for me about the mire that comparison can get us stuck in. And the beauty that comes if we can transform our thoughts into admiration to celebrate others. My sister really is so incredible, and her kids are doing such great things in the world. I’m so proud to be related and to learn from them!
Sometimes it’s just good to be vulnerable in this big wide world that is filled with so much comparison, big dreams, failed attempts, joyful victories, and trying to figure how they all fit together in the journey.