Our Obsession with Comparison

Compare Tulips

I was reading an article this morning about why Sadie Robertson is a better role model than another well-known 17-year old girl. The author said that although she could point out many reasons for her argument, she was narrowing her article to eight points.

As I read the article I was struck by how incredibly sad it was. Not that I don’t agree that Sadie Robertson is a phenomenal girl, I do, but I don’t understand why the author had to compare her to another girl to make her points. I don’t know Sadie, I only know a few things about her that I’ve seen on TV or read in articles, but I imagine she does not enjoy being used as a tool to tear someone else down.

The more I thought about this the more I realized our society is obsessed with comparisons.

At an early age our children learn how to write essays comparing and contrasting two themes, stories, characters, etc.   I realize there is value in knowing how to compare things; ideologies and beliefs for example. It’s important to know what we believe and why. But our need to compare everything is destructive. When we compare, we often place value on one item while completely removing the value from the other.

Take for example, something as off the wall as a blog. For those of us who track analytics for business purposes (what are we doing that works and gets attention) it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing our analytics to someone else’s. “My blog is read in 38 countries, hers is only read in 31.” The underlying message: mine is better than hers.

Or how about social media? “My Facebook page only has 111 likes, his has 982.”  The underlying belief: I’m not as good.

Of course logically we know these numbers really mean nothing. Countries reached and number of likes do not actually equate to real value. They do not clearly illustrate depth of content or lives impacted. They are simply numbers that we choose to interpret in a way that either benefits or degrades us.

How about something we all compare, especially women… our bodies. I don’t think I need to even finish this paragraph. We all know we do this. “Oh, I wish I had a figure like hers. She’s beautiful.”   With just those thoughts we are suddenly “less than.”

We compare our cars, our yards, our businesses, our children, everything. I’ve even had women compare their fingernails to mine! Seriously. Not that I don’t love a compliment, but not at the expense of someone else.

More and more as I travel this Road to Remarkable (see my last painting) I realize that I have value just because I am me. And the most wonderful thing about being me is that no one else can do it. I am the best Me there ever will be. Not another soul ever created will be exactly like me. So why in the world do I waste time comparing myself to someone else? I will never be you and you will never be me.

We need to embrace the fact that we are inherently valuable because we have been created by the Creator of the Universe. Our value does not go up when our hip size changes or our business makes more money. In the same way, we don’t lose values because we struggle with ___.   (Illness, motivation, addiction, etc. Fill in the blank.)

We need to get busy living our own lives; being our own remarkable selves and stop this obsession with comparisons.

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