posted on Monday, August 13, 2018
Comparisons are Odious
This saying goes way back to the mid-15th century. It may help to know that odious means unpleasant or repulsive. If this was known so long ago, one can wonder why we still struggle with problems of comparing ourselves to others today?
Modern technology and the media most likely allow us to do more comparing now than any time in history. We travel more and can go literally anywhere on the internet. As we spend more time on social media, it can become a comparison trap. We look at the lives of others and wish we could have certain aspects of their lives. It may help us to keep in mind that people only share the best 10% of their lives on social media. The grass is not always greener– it’s only greener where they show us.
Comparison sometimes leads people to the destructive feelings of envy, depression, or inferiority. Yet, comparison may lead some to feel superior over others with a greater perception of self-worth. Both of these outcomes may have negative consequences for some individuals. It may cause them to forget the blessings that they have right in front of them.
Theodore Roosevelt’s quote probably sums it up best and most simply.
COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY.
To make this confusing, comparisons may also be a positive thing. Comparing may inspire some to achieve more in their lives. I routinely encourage young people to have positive role models in their lives. I have been very fortunate to have many positive role models in my life. It helps me to remember that none of my role models have been rich or famous. They all just lived with character and none were perfect. It may also help us to stop asking ourselves the question, “What do I want?” and to more often ask ourselves “What do I need?” We must think for ourselves and discard any negative thoughts that can result from comparing ourselves to others.
"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galations 1:10
Make sure we do not waste valuable time and energy comparing our lives unfairly with others. Take more time to count our own blessings, to be thankful for what you do have, and to serve.
Al Kerns & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation
This post is written by Al Kerns, a long-time friend of Ed Thomas and a team member with the Ed Thomas Family Foundation. Al coached with Ed for 30+ years at Aplington-Parkersburg.