i might have a seriously major problem. comparing myself to others has been a lifelong infection of mine. i intentionally choose the word infection because that is what it is. infection is defined as being tainted or contaminated with something that affects quality, character, or condition unfavorably.
comparing myself to others is something that affects life's quality, my personal character and the condition of my heart unfavorably. i am a sick, sick woman.
i think that this infection (for me) started at childbirth. i was born 18 short months after my organized and athletically gifted sister, who could do almost anything better than me. she was a more disciplined student, a much better athlete, and she always had her uniforms washed by game day. comparatively, i was a bright, but distracted student who rarely "applied herself." i was mediocre at sports, and had to sneak out of school during my lunch hour to go home and wash my uniform on game day. and i usually washed the home jersey for away games, and vice versa. my antics irritated my sister, and almost anyone in a position of authority.
don't get me wrong, i wasn't a complete idiot. i'm just a little more free-spirited than your average apply-oneself-er. it's not that i got bad grades, they just didn't reflect my potential. one semester in college, i decided that i would actually try to get a 4.0. i had 18 credit hours that semester, so it was the perfect time to see if i really had what it takes to ace a challenging course load. i got a 4.0. i didn't tell anyone at the time, and i never tried to apply myself so thoroughly ever again.
while i may not have told anyone, i kept track of that achievement in my mind. if someone out-performed me in school... i could always say "well, if i had applied myself, i would have done just as well." (comparison: victory for me.) it is really out of self-preservation that i needed a secret comparison victory like this, because i spent the other 99% of my life feeling bad about the losses in most comparisons: "wow, that girls has incredibly thick hair, but not frizzy-thick, her hair is smooth, shiny, pantene-commerical-thick. my hair isn't so much thick, as it is big. not pantene-big, but 80's-big." (comparison: loss for me.) "her kids know all their state capitols?? and they recite the old testament in its entirety out loud before dinner? and they eat the egg whites? unsalted!? she is super mom. i'm the worst." (comparison: loss for me.) "but, her kids don't understand dry humor." (comparison: victory.)
do you see what i mean? i'm totally sick and infected. it's like the circular argument i am constantly having in my head: i am the worst-----> at least i'm not as bad as that guy-------> i am a total fool-------> she acted dumber than i did--------> i wish i could be her-----------> i could probably beat her up in a survival situation-----------> i would never act like that!----------> i can't believe i acted like that----------> i'm the worst----------> i can't believe that i am seriously the best.
sick. twisted. infected.
i hate comparing myself to others. i usually lose out to some busty broad who fills out her dress like a proper adult... and to make myself feel better, i try to find a comparison victory to make myself feel better. so, i search and i come up with something like, at least i know not to wear the sock/sandal combination that lady is rockin'. it's horrible, and it doesn't make me feel better. it makes me feel like a huge jerk. which leads to "well, at least i'm not as big of a jerk as...."
if all of you egg my house tonight, i will understand why. i just egged it for saying this stuff out loud.
so, i have been contemplating the comparison trap. i have realized that it leads (in my mind) to some perceived loss or victory. the losses, obviously, make me feel horrible. and the victories make me feel a little better for a hot second, but ultimately make me feel horrible. the trap is this: "victories" lead to pride (sickening), or "losses" lead to self-loathing (sickening.) either way, comparing myself to others makes me more and more self-focused and sickening by the second. so, i quit.
i am giving up comparisons. i am choosing to believe that i am fearfully and wonderfully made, and so is everyone else. no better, no worse. we are all made in the image of a good and perfect God who is neither impressed by my "victories", nor disgusted at my "losses." so, i am choosing to agree with God on who i am, and who others are. i am going to stop measuring myself against other women, and start measuring myself against who i know God created me to be.
this is going to be really hard because it all happens in my head where there is zero accountability. so, if you see me deep in thought, just slap me right across the face as hard as you can because i am, undoubtedly, comparing myself to someone else. i will gladly do the same for all my sisters out there who are stuck in this same sick trap of comparing ourselves, and our families, and our gifts, and our faults, and so on...
i'll even bet i can slap harder than you can slap.