How to Stop Comparing and Start Thriving

Apr 13, 2020

Welcome to Week 2 of our “excavation series!”

We tackled the hard topic of offense last week, and we hope you’re already seeing changes in your life as you ghost your past.

This week, we’re taking on the self-sabotaging subject of comparison.

You know it well because it’s with you all the time.

It’s with you in your morning scroll through IG or Facebook. It’s there over lunch as you eye up the bags and bobbles of women around you. It’s waiting in the pages of magazines. It’s there in the conversation about vacations or in the endless home ideas on Pinterest. It’s there as you try on clothes, look across the conference table or walk into any new social or professional setting.

It’s there—an “insidious weed” crowding out your confidence and choking your personality with the expectation that you should be more like ___________

Comparison’s progression into your life runs deep and wide. To remove these roots, you have to do more than dig them out. You must recondition the ground of your heart and life with a new focus.

COMPARISON IS A DISTRACTION.

Comparison is a constant companion for too many women, too much of the time

We know from our personal and mentoring experiences that the voice of comparison is relentless. It never stops, unless you purposefully stop it

Entertaining just one thought is all it takes to begin the joy-stealing, mentally exhausting cycle of comparison! 

In fact, we’ve seen how even the simplest thing can do this. Let us explain.

The symptoms of this cycle are subtle at first. 

You might look at some thing with desire, like that amazing new bag from your favorite “someday-I’ll-own-one” designer. You know… the designer bag that’s way out of your price range!

But when someone you know or follow gets that bag or one like it, the thoughts begin to race. 

You end up doing late-night searches on Poshmark and Ebay hoping to find one at a cheaper price. You might overspend on something else to take your mind off of what you can’t afford. Maybe you deflect, downplaying how much you like the bag, while secretly wishing it was yours. You might get a little irritable for no reason, or even begin to throw some shade in the direction of the new bag owner as you talk to others. 

Yes, all it takes is a handbag. 

But comparison doesn’t stop there. 

Comparison isn’t limited to material possessions. It reaches into intellectual, professional, personal, and relational contexts as well.  Right now, you could be working and homeschooling and trying to keep it all together for yourself, while comparing yourself to other people who make this life look like a page out of Magnolia Journal! 

And the results are the same: comparison steals your joy and keeps your internal mental and emotional state on edge.

Instead of living confidently, comparison keeps you constantly under stress because of what’s absent or lacking. And this leads to unhealthy thought patterns.

→ You hyper-focus on the gaps in your own education or professional experience when you meet a peer who is more accomplished. 

→ You spend hours looking at new hairstyles, makeup and clothing, searching for ways to become more like what you think is better or beautiful in others. 

→ You consume material possessions or status-based social habits in order to maintain a certain image that you see in others and want others to see in you.  

→ You make choices in life and relationships based on what others will say or think.

→ You remain silent about what you believe to secure and maintain your place “at the table.”

Notice the pattern? 

Comparison causes you to see yourself through someone else’s life. 

Every decision is based on how it might be perceived or received by someone else. As you nourish the “weeds” of comparison, they grow deep into your heart and mind. And where your mind goes, you follow.

Instead of being confident, you question yourself. One question opens the door to another. From handbag to professional position, you find yourself always looking toward what you don’t yet have.

The more you look at others, the more you lose sight of yourself.

The more you lose sight of yourself, the more easily you’ll be distracted.

It’s an insidious cycle. 

As the weeds of comparison grow, so do distractions. 

We all have them. They shift your focus away from things you should be cultivating to things you begin to covet. 

The more you shift your focus, the more you feed the weeds of comparison. And while you’re feeding these weeds, the good ground in your life is changing. 

Where you were once constructive and collaborative, you become more self-reliant and independent.

Where you were once an open champion of others’ accomplishments, you choose to be silent.

Where you were once impartial to labels, you shop for status and evaluate others according to what they do or don’t have.

When you see what’s happening, it’s always a good idea to “uproot” the things that cause you to compare yourself to others. You can stop scrolling, stop shopping or even step away from certain friends. 

But weeds are persistent. So, the temptation to slip back into comparison will pop up again and again.

To keep clear of comparison, you must also recondition the ground of your heart and life.

THE “SOUND MIND” STRATEGY

Paul gives us a way to understand this in 2 Timothy 1:7.

“God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” 

A sound mind is a reconditioned mind. It’s free from the weeds that crowd out your ability to see or think clearly. It’s a mind with fresh, clear and confident focus. 

A sound mind is not filtered through other people’s lives. It’s filtered through the truth that sets you free and keeps you moving in that freedom. And when you look at the original Greek word translated as “sound mind,” you discover just how free you’re really meant to be. 

A sound mind means your mind is: “delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, protected, and brought into a place of safety and security so that it is no longer affected by illogical, unfounded, and absurd thoughts.” This reconditioned state is so expansive and complete, it’s like sending your car in for a tune up and getting the newest model, fully-loaded, in return! 

This is the amazing way God works.

But to actually realize the fullness of this promise—that you have been GIVEN a sound mind—you have to put action to what God says about you. 

This is your part of the process: ACTION. 

There are three steps you can do to cultivate the action that brings the fresh focus of a sound mind. 

  1. SEE the weed. Stop and think about where you compare and how it shows up in your everyday life. Personal responsibility is essential (Galatians 6:4-5).
  2. SPEAK the Word. Get perspective on your life from God’s perspective. Then start speaking those words (literally) over your life. We recommend that you start with what Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34 about what it means to seek Him first. HINT: He takes care of the rest!
  3. STAY with the work. Go after the weeds of comparison, daily. Romans 12:1-2 reminds you to think about what you think about every day, and to choose to set your thoughts and words on the truth of God’s Word.

These steps make big changes in little ways if you do them every day.

It’s a process of changing the way you see your life. 

Reconditioning the ground previously crowded by comparison is a daily practice for good reason. Weeds grow in good ground. They come up right alongside the best parts of your life and spread quickly. Weeds of comparison hide well too, so by the time you see them, there’s more to the roots than you know!

So here’s the key...

Consistent steps every day will kill and keep the weeds away.

There’s no better way to thrive in your life than to stop striving for someone else’s. 

So download this month’s free workbook, “Becoming Good Ground,” and start the process of reconditioning places in your life where comparison is crowding out your confidence. The practical prompts will help you dig things up that don’t belong and apply the truth of God’s Word to the places that need to be reconditioned. 

Don’t wait! You have good ground to cultivate, so start removing those distracting weeds of comparison today.

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