In the moment, I laughed it off. We were having a good time and I didn’t want to turn what was meant to be a compliment (or at least I think it was meant to be a compliment…) into something it wasn’t meant to be received as. Two guy schoolmates of mine (we’ll call them Joe and Moe) and I were in the car, talking and laughing about God knows what, on our way to a fast-food restaurant. We were all cracking jokes about something, when Moe turned to me and said:
“You see! You’re the fun one.”
The fun one? I thought. Out of confusion, I responded something along the lines of “What does that mean?”.
“Your sister is the pretty one, and you’re the fun one.” Moe said.
Immediately Joe responded to Moe with “Wow man. Are you trying to say she’s ugly?”
It was then that Moe realized how what he said could’ve come across and that’s when he responded with “I didn’t mean it like that!….” and basically went on to explain that my sister, being well dressed was the “pretty, girly-ish one” and I, who I guess appeared to not care, was the “cool girl”.
The unfortunate thing about the situation wasn’t what he said.
I mean yes, it didn’t exactly feel good to be disregarded as “pretty” simply because of my 15-year-old sociable nature, but that wasn’t what gave that moment such a prominent mark in my life. What was unfortunate about that situation was that my split-second initial reaction to his statement wasn’t offense or alarm… it was agreement.
That’s right, before I even knew what he meant by “Your sister is the pretty one, you’re the fun one”, I subconsciously internally agreed.
I didn’t place any high value on 99% of the things that came out of Moe’s mouth most of the time. This time however, simply because he was a boy, I gave Moe’s words immense value. I allowed them to be written on the tablet of things I felt about myself, mixed with the list of self-proclaimed “truths” verbalized to me by other teenage boys.
If I named every situation I have ever been in that fueled this toxic comparison in my mind, this post would be a million words too long. Aint nobody got time for that…
My sister and I are only two years apart. I am two years older. It may seem like a big gap for some but, between my playful nature and her natural maturity, we’ve always maintained a close bond. I had never viewed my sister as an enemy or competitor. I’d always viewed her as a friend, in fact my best friend, because that’s all she’s ever been to me.
When I began to allow these kinds of remarks to take root within my mind as truths, I was unknowingly severing those close ties. I was making room for bitterness, jealousy, and my inflated ego instead. I was positioning myself to dispose of a relationship with someone who had no ill will to impart on me, all because I allowed the negative opinions of others to become my truth.
No specific event inspired the breaking point I reached before I finally brought it all to Jesus. Harboring all the bitterness, low self-esteem, and envy that I was proved to do nothing but keep me from mental and spiritual health.
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
– Proverbs 14:30
The truth is in life, we can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we respond. It took a fair share of teary-eyed prayers and quiet times to see God eradicate the structures of “truth” I had built up in my own mind and replace them with His. He did do it though. He can do it in your mind as well. All you have to do is bring it to Him.
We are not the sum of every negative observation ever made of us especially in comparison to someone else. Each and every one of us is an individual with a unique path, story, and gifts. Life is not fair, but we ought to be grateful for that!
Whether it’s your sibling, your cousin, a friend, a co-worker or whoever you feel less-than to in any way, you are not them. Love yourself as you are for who you are! Not because you are “more than” or “less than” anyone else but because you’re just as perfect as they are on the inside and out.
If you are currently struggling with comparison, how are you actively working to counteract that? If you have dealt with the comparison trap before, how did you overcome that? Let’s chat in the comments!(: