Comparison is the thief of joy and purpose
Images, videos, and stories of other people’s life bombard us every day. This can trigger that pestering habit of comparison. If we are not careful, other people’s lives can dangerously become the measuring tool for our own, which creates a daily fight to just be the YOU that you were created to be.
Let me just say this: I do not believe it is negative to draw inspiration or lessons from other people. However, there’s a difference between being inspired by someone and wanting to BE that person. There’s a fine line between wanting better for yourself and being ungrateful and unhappy with the unique gifts and talents you possess.
In case you haven’t heard it before, let me tell you this now. Your unique contributions have a place in this world. Sadly, comparison keeps us expending energy on others instead of on figuring out how to embrace what exists in our lane. Too much time spent in comparison can deteriorate your overall appreciation for who you are and what you have to contribute in this life.
What makes you different makes you beautiful
Your ultimate success and peace in this life directly correlate to the belief that you are beautiful at your core. What makes you different is necessary to your family, community, and even in the world.
Let’s think about life like a big beautiful puzzle. In a puzzle, no two pieces are alike, and each piece’s design uniquely connects to the pieces directly around them. You are a unique piece of the puzzle. No one else can be you. Comparison keeps you questioning and undervaluing your piece instead of leading you to embrace what makes you different as beautiful.
It may be hard to see your own beauty right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. At the end of the day, the pieces around you need you. No one else can contribute to the bigger picture what you can contribute. What makes you different is exactly what makes you valuable, and it’s the same thing that makes you beautiful. So, you are highly valuable whether you realize it or not.
Comparison never brings peace
I heard the story of Adam and Eve taught more times than I can count while growing up in church. In the story, God creates a man and woman named Adam and Eve and gives them dominion over every living thing on earth. After that, he puts them in the garden of Eden—a beautiful paradise on earth—to care for the land. According to the story, Eden is gorgeous and has everything they need to thrive. The only instruction God gives them is to not eat from a tree called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happens next.
A serpent (the devil) comes along and convinces Eve to eat from the tree because God is trying to hold something back from them. In the end, they both eat fruit from the tree, become aware of their own self-image, are ashamed, and start covering themselves up.
Whether you think the Bible is a divine text or a massive work of fiction, there is a lesson here. This is analogous to what happens when we start comparing ourselves to other people. The more we compare the more we think what makes us different is flawed. In this story, two people felt like they were missing out on something even though what they had was beautiful and abundant. All they had to do was nurture what was before them, but they were not thrilled with their puzzle piece. This story reminds me that comparison rarely brings peace only more chaos.
Someone needs what makes you different
Someone needs what you have to offer. What makes you different can bring someone else happiness, joy, and hope. What you have to offer might be the answer to someone’s prayer. It may not be for everyone, but it is for someone.
Many folks spend their entire lives looking for clarity on what their purpose is in this world. What I know for sure is that embracing the fact that you are designed to be different is a key component. Therefore, self-improvement is the journey to fully embracing your core beauty and allowing it to shine.
Comparison makes embracing what makes you different hard and worrying about what other people think only adds more difficulty. If you’ve been down that road of chasing everyone else’s approval, you have probably already found that it isn’t possible to get everyone to like you or approve of who you are.
Listen, some people will never understand or approve because they aren’t the people you are supposed to reach. Remember the puzzle. Focus on your connecting pieces and how that helps the big picture.
Once you start learning to embrace your unique differences, the right “connecting” people and opportunities will come into your life. This does not mean the journey to embrace what makes you different will be easy. This is why I started by saying that I believe it is both one of the ultimate goals and challenges in life. Some experiences will validate and confirm you’re on the right track; others will confirm that you need to make a change or shift. Our job is to listen and get clarity on our unique contribution.
So, where do we start?
We all have that voice inside of us that tries to make us question whether we are good enough. If you don’t weaken it with positive thoughts, it will overtake your thought patterns and spiral you further into comparison. In the story of Adam and Eve, that voice was represented as a serpent. In our lives, it is our own negative self-talk, negative experiences, and even the different opinions of others.
Our ongoing practice is to acknowledge and combat this voice with the truth, which is you are beautiful and your life matters.
Here are some actions you can take today:
- Learn to love yourself even more. This might look like answering this prompt every day: “I’m beautiful because _______.” This might mean you have to speak daily affirmations.
- Start challenging your negative self-talk. I wrote more about this over on this POST.
- Monitor what you consume and who you allow in your space. As I mentioned earlier, this world and social media send messages about what is valuable to this society. You might actually have people and things telling you that you are not good or beautiful enough. Therefore, you might have to be more conscious of how these affect you and make adjustments where necessary.
- Heal. In some cases, embracing what makes you different might require healing from some of your past experiences. And, if this looks like getting professional help, then so be it because you’re worth it.
This post is a small reminder to stop looking at other peoples’ lives so much that you forget to live your own or embrace (and share) what makes you different. Let’s focus on increasing our understanding of what we can uniquely offer others because we are the puzzle piece someone is waiting for.
Your success is at the end of your road, not at the end of someone else’s. So, embrace what makes you different and your beautiful path.