Here’s how the nicest version of comparison goes. The first is what you say to your girlfriend; the second is the thoughts that run through your mind directly after you speak.
“She has better hair.” It’s long and shiny, and mine is too short. I hate my haircut.
“Look at her! She is so skinny.” How does she do that????? She’s pushing a double stroller!!!!
“Can you imagine all the work she does? It must be really hard getting it all done.” Dadgummit. She has three kids under the age of five, works full time, and she serves on three committees at church. With her husband traveling like he does! How does she look so perfectly coiffed all the time????
Here’s how the normal version of comparison goes. (These thoughts may be accompanied by a bit of a snarl).
“Good Lord, somebody give that poor girl a cheeseburger! STAT!” I just hate it when other women are skinnier than me. I deserve to be thin. I work out six days a week and it just doesn’t seem to change! She looks like a refugee.
“Well, you know she doesn’t spend as much time with her children as I do, but then, I’m not your poster child for mothering…” How come she works and I stay at home and her kids are more successful than mine??
“Who? Oh, her? She’s just a bottle blond.” Blonds look like they do have more fun. How come nobody seems to find me attractive anymore?
Compare and contrast. We, as women, all do it. Some of us just keep our thoughts from coming out of our mouths.
Why do we do it? Ya’ll know the answer. Whatever you complain about most is what is bothering you. So when you compare yourselves to other women when it comes to your body, you obviously have a problem with yourself in that area. If you compare yourself to other women when it comes to raising your children, you have insecurity in that area.
But what if you compare yourself to other women in just about every area you possibly could? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there who does it!
I have a sister who would blow Martha Stewart out the window if she had her own tv show and magazine. She can make homemade gift wrap from construction paper and a potato stamp. She makes her own pita chips (and they are absolutely scrumptious). She has the interior decorating genes of…well, I don’t know any universally-acknowledged decorator, but if I did, I would insert his/her name. Her fashion sense is classic and elegant. In short, everything she touches is like gold; it has an enchanting quality that many women envy.
I, on the other hand, buy my gift wrap and wrap my gifts like a fourth grader. At Christmas, I don’t have to put my name on gift tags; everyone laughs and says, “Well, that one definitely came from ___!” I buy pita chips. Chips of any kind. They’re nowhere near as delicious as hers. And my home? It’s…eclectic. Some would say tacky. When I decorate I don’t know where to stop. And my fashion sense? Interesting. Certainly not elegant or classic.
When she gets ready to go to the grocery store or out on the town, it takes her about an hour and a half to finish. Every hair is perfectly placed; every clothing item is tended carefully and pressed to perfection. Lipstick is chosen and applied expertly. Shoes are trendy, hip and selected to match her clothes. She wears pearl earring studs to work out in.
When I get ready to go to the grocery store, I put on yoga pants and a t-shirt. I might apply mascara and lipstick – if I remember. When I work out, I sweat and look a mess!
For those of you with comparison issues (hello, every woman in the world!) you can probably tell that my sister makes me feel incredibly inferior without saying a word! I don’t think she means to do it. After all, she’s just being who she is. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I would challenge any woman who says, “So what? So she’s a control freak, a type-A personality? You don’t have to be perfect all the time. Your way is better.” I would say that this opinion of my sister, and other extremely well-put- together women, stems from jealousy and not fact!
I love to watch movies with beautiful women who wear great clothes because it inspires me. (Movies with well-dressed men give me clues as to how to buy clothes for my husband). My sister inspires me, even though I feel inferior, and when I leave her I have a renewed sense of style and beauty, just like when I watch a great movie.
Joyce Meyer wrote a book called The Confidant Woman and I read it a short time ago. She believes that the secret to confidant women is that they don’t compare themselves to others. I used to be an extremely confidant person but I was faking it; eventually it became habit, but even then I was constantly comparing myself with other women.
When I see a woman who is prettier, more put together, smarter, etc. – I feel bad about myself. I don’t have feelings of dislike for the other person – I used to – but I am intimidated by her.
Lately, though, I have found myself thinking different thoughts. Like, “Wow, I love her hair! It’s so beautiful and long and curly. Mine is a chopped-up mess.” Then, “Wait a minute! My hair’s just fine! First of all, I can grow it out as long as I want. Second, would I ever grow mine out as long as that?? How would I have the time to fix it? Would I even want to? Nope. I can admire her hair without feeling awful about mine. That’s freakin awesome!”
So when you find yourself thinking negatively about your own characteristics, remind yourself that you can change what you want about yourself in most cases, and if you can’t, you just have to live with it. Even though you like how so-and-so appears, maybe that look wouldn’t work for you anyway. God gave you what He gave you. Appreciate it more!