“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6:4-5 MSG
Due to sharing an article this week, I was largely conflicted on what to write about, mostly because of my personal struggles that filled my thoughts. Then, it occurred to me while discussing with my friends how much progress we had made since the closure of schools. “Why not write about what you are battling with?” I thought. I just might not be alone in struggling with this crushing pressure of comparison.
For me, it began with reading or hearing about the successes and accomplishments of others, usually those of my age group. Genuinely happy, I would rejoice with and congratulate them, whether or not I knew them personally. Then, alone in the dead of the night, my mind would begin to involuntarily review my failures, and the pressure would begin to weigh on my heart.
The comparison that began with weighing my life against that of my favourite child stars tongue-in-cheek as a little girl, grew into an insecurity about the most basic things. I began to feel like I was always behind; like things always worked until it was my turn.
While researching this topic for my article, I came across the Bible verse above from Galatians chapter 6 and the message could not have been more aptly put.
One of the most important ways I have begun to fight the pressure of destructive comparison is to prioritise the careful exploration of my own persona, understanding my gifts, strengths and weaknesses and pursuing opportunities that would enable me build on them instead of blindly applying for the same things everyone was going for.
Slowly but surely, I have begun to discover the things I am truly passionate about; paths that stir in me a passion that ensures that the rejections are never strong enough to deter me.
I have also learned to take responsibility for my past choices, regardless of the nature of their outcomes. Often, I look at the progress of people I consider my colleagues and realise that I might be ahead of my present position if I had chosen differently. But I can’t change the past, neither can I demand that it be different than it was, so why centre my life on those regrets and stall my progress?
I have chosen to consciously believe in the predestination of a path that is the very best for me. I choose to believe that all things, absolutely all of them are indeed working towards a greater good for me. On some nights, it is not much comfort. I still struggle very much with destructive comparison. But I have chosen to never be held down; to ensure that I keep making progress regardless of how minute it may seem.
Have you ever struggled with destructive comparison? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!