Do you know one of the simplest ways for you to be happy? The answer is not to compare yourself to others. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
‘Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing’, these are the words of St Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. St Paul told the Thessalonians to keep building each other up, they were already doing this, they didn’t have to begin building each other up. If St Paul was writing to us today, I think he would say we need to begin building each other up and encouraging each other. We live in a world of instant gratification and the mindset is always what can I get out of this, how will it serve me. etc. Now more than ever we need each other.
What causes us to tear each other down?
There are so many answers to this, but the main one is comparison. Both men and women compare all the time. Who is better at this, who looks better, comparing our bodies, the list is endless. As soon as we start comparing we are not looking through the lens of Jesus. Once the focus is always on you, comparing yourself to others is a battle you will never win. None of us will be the best at everything. We are all unique and wonderfully made. There is nobody in the world exactly like you. How amazing is that? Comparison breeds competition rather than cooperation.
“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed… (Psalm 139:13-16).”
We must seek God’s wisdom and help when we fall into comparison. As Christians our success is not how much money we have or what type of car we drive, it is not based on your career, it is based on how we love as human beings. Instead of comparing start striving to be the best you can be, and cultivating good virtuous habits that will help prepare you for your God-given vocation in life.