We are, by nature, competitive. It’s why you see modern marvels like skyscrapers and bridges. Men have always wanted to push the boundaries in order to prove we are capable of the impossible. Comparing yourself to others is part of who we are. It is part of life. We compare to see if we are better than others. We compare to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.
Now, comparison can be toxic. When comparing yourself to others, you can be left feeling inadequate and like less of a man. If you are like me, you already have read plenty of articles about how not to compare yourself to others. Let’s be honest—We all compare ourselves to others, even when we know it’s not healthy. But is it possible to use comparison wisely? Yes. Here are 5 ways.
1. Comparison can help you be more self-aware.
If you are healthy spiritually and emotionally, comparing yourself to others who are great at what they do can show you where you can improve. In this, you realize more about yourself and your strengths. Comparing yourself to others can help you be more self-aware and therefore more effective at work, at home, and in life in general.
2. Comparison can motivate you to get better.
I used to look at guys and make excuses for myself. I would compare myself to them and make myself feel better by saying, “They just have better genetics.” While this may be true, I also would make myself feel better by looking at bigger guys and saying, “At least I’m not as fat as that guy.” In reality, when I chose to get healthy, I compared myself to others to get better. It was a shift in thinking. “If he can do it, so can I.”
3. Comparison can help you set realistic goals.Something powerful happens when we vocalize our goals with other people.
You can’t set goals based on someone else’s life. That’s not what I mean. If you set goals this year, share them with a friend and ask them what goals they have for themselves. Something powerful happens when we vocalize our goals with other people. Instead of letting comparison discourage you, let it empower you to meet realistic goals with the help of others.
4. Comparison can help you appreciate what you have.
If you have ever been on a mission trip in a third world country, you probably have seen poverty unlike anything in the United States. You may try not to compare your life to theirs, but we all do it. This should challenge you to be grateful for what you have and not feel sorry for what they don’t have. Don’t let comparison steal your joy. Let it encourage you.
5. Comparison can help you reset your compass.
I hated rainy days in elementary school because we always had indoor PE and sometimes, that meant we would spend time dancing. We would do the Macarena, the Cha-Cha Slide, or the Cupid Shuffle, and I was terrible at all of them. When I would find myself off the beat or doing the wrong motions, I would look to my friends so I could reset and get back in step with everyone else. At times, we all need help to reset our compass. When I have felt off, I have found it helpful to compare my life to the teachings of Jesus to see whether I’m lining up or am off-kilter. When I struggle with my identity and self-worth, I like to read passages in scripture that remind me of who He says I am.
Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share iMOM article “Stop Comparing Yourself to Others” with your wife.
Sound off: Have you ever been able to compare yourself with others in a healthy way?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How can comparing ourselves to others be bad? How can it be good?”