Wednesday, March 05, 2014

On Comparing Self to Others

One thing I struggle with is comparing myself to others. I often feel that I am in someway inferior to those around me. My coworkers, family, and friends seem to have these amazing talents that in my head, I don't hold a candle to.

For all of my 20's, I mistakenly thought that if only I were in a relationship or married, these feelings would go away; I would forever be comfortable with who I was because someone had chosen to love me (in the romantic way.)

And then I got married.

 But the feelings of inferiority are still there and so is the comparison game, it just looks different. One of the ways it manifests itself as a married person is by comparing our marriage to other peoples. It is not healthy; I know this, and Rob reminds me not to compare but rather to simply enjoy the awesome marriage we do have. (Rob's amazing by the way. The problem is not in him; it's in my comparing self to others.)

And I don't just stop at comparing the relationship aspect either. Recently, I have gotten sucked into comparing my career --(which is non-existent at this point) with the careers of successful friends and former classmates. I will spend hours checking out their amazing linked in portfolio's and scratching my head wondering how their life choices led them to such an awesome career and my life choices led me to a job I have never wanted. From there, I start to feel as though I have made "career" mistakes.  "Back in 2011, I should have taken this job, instead of taking that job. "  Or, "Why didn't I get that degree instead of this one?" and on and on the internal dialogue goes until I almost feel that I have "sinned" with my career. And I feel so low that I do not know how to function. Do I respond with a competitive spirit and set ambitious goals? Do I quit talking to my friends so I quit comparing myself to them? Do I disconnect from social media? Do I quit showering? I don't know.

For those of you who are getting ready to quote some scripture, let me reassure you that I do know what God thinks of me specifically in Psalm 139:

"For you created my inmost being,
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be."

But it's a daily struggle. I want to be a modern day Bohemian Paul, not caring what other people are doing with their lives because I am so passionate in fulfilling God's plan for my life. But then I spend hours pouring over other people's lives on Facebook and Linkedin, and I lose focus. And I need prayers not to do this anymore because it is stealing my joy and holding me back. It stops me from fully rejoicing with others because part of me is always thinking their slice of the pie looks better.

And for now, there is no nice conclusion I can write to make it seem like I have figured out this weakness, because I have not. I am the midst of wrestling with it.

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