I won’t deny that I often compare myself with others, including family members and friends. Such moments make me realize that there are so many people out there who have talents and skills that far exceed my own, and which I may never be able to attain, try as I might.
Comparison is not a bad thing, especially when it’s a way to inspire ourselves towards self-improvement. But if we are not careful, it can grow into an obsession that may eventually eat into our lives and become detrimental to our confidence and sense of identity.
As a graphic designer, I find myself benchmarking my own work against that of others and noticing a stark contrast (at least, that’s what I think.) While some may say that art is subjective, I cannot help but hold the view in my mind that I am just not up to mark. I tell myself that “I am not good enough” or “I wish I could do that”. Up till today, I still find it difficult to call myself an “artist”.
I’m not sure why I think this way; it could be due to a lack of affirmation from others in the same industry.
This is where friends have been a great help. As we open up and share our insecurities, we will begin to realize that all of us have experienced the same thing at one point or another. We might even have been envious of each other’s skills and talents. I’ve learned that we should appreciate one another’s gifts and successes, and not compare ourselves with others. The Bible says, “love does not envy” (1 Corinthians 13:4) and “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15).
God has also encouraged me through His Word. I have a friend who would read her Bible whenever she feels down, which has inspired me to search the scriptures. The Lord knows exactly what I need to hear and has given me these words of assurance:
1. I made you.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”—Ephesians 2:10
2. I numbered the hairs on your head.
“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”—Luke 12:7
3. I’m working in you.
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”—Philippians 2:13
4. My grace is sufficient for you.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”—2 Corinthians 12:9
These verses have convinced me that the Lord loves us and cares for us deeply. They have also got me thinking about whether my identity is rooted in others or in Christ, and whose opinion I should value.
So, will I continue to compare myself to others? Most certainly: it’s hard to avoid doing so.
But can I get rid of the negative thoughts about myself that inevitably enter my head? I will certainly try my best.
This journey of growing will take some time, but I know I’m not alone. We are all in this together, so let’s help sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17) and strive to be rooted in Christ’s security and identity, so that when others compare themselves to us, all they will see is God at work.
It’s time we stop looking around, and start looking up instead.