I learned long time ago that there will always be someone who is better than me, doing more than me, working harder than me, who has more wealth than I have, drives a better car than I do, has more knowledge than I possess, and who is definitely better looking than me.
I realized the more I use people as my measuring standard for who I am, where I am and what I have, the more I despise what I have, where I am, and even who I am. I become less appreciative of the good things in my life; because I am attracted to what someone else has.
It is to our advantage that we come across people who are better than us. This keeps us even keeled, and we more clearly see the value of being content with what God has given us.
When we see people’s finished products while we are still in process, we tend to dislike our process instead of discerning the difference. You cannot compare a diamond that has just been dug up with one that has already undergone purification. While they both carry value, one is still in process. The other is a finished product. The universal diamond language is the four C’s: clarity, color, cut, and carat weight. The value of the diamond is revealed through a process.
Let’s look at four facets of life we shouldn’t compare with others.
- Processes and Experiences. We all have different processes because we have different products to display. We can’t compare ourselves with others because we were not created to be the same.Everyone is uniquely born to fulfill a God-designed purpose. When we compare what we are going through with others, it breeds an atmosphere of contempt, envy, and jealousy within us. This comparison can cause us to resent ourselves. We become cheap imitations instead of valuable originals. Sometimes our process, if it’s an especially difficult one, can serve the purpose of being a testimonial to show others that a high quality life can come from tough experiences.
- Proportions. Sometimes what you can handle at the present time in your life is different from what someone else can handle in their current stage of life. Everyone is entrusted with what they have been given. Your use of what you have been given now is an indicator of what you will do later with more. Our present season is often a preparation for a coming season. If we get too busy feeling we are entitled to what others have been given, we never grow in the season we are in and eventually we become stagnant. Stagnant water is stale, stinky, and stationary. It has no flow or movement and nothing of value grows there. Comparison puts us in stagnant waters while contentment puts us in fresh waters where we can thrive.
- Personality. The word “personality” itself gives you the reason not to compare. It’s personal. Have you ever done a personality test? You can find one online and do it right now. (By the way, don’t trust everything the Internet tells you). When we see other people through their personalities only, we fall in love with who they are on the outside, and develop images and fantasies of being like them, but lose ourselves in the process. The more we try to be like someone else, the less energy we have to become who we are meant to be. You may not like your personality because you are wishing you had someone else’s. It’s always easier to see the flaws in what you are familiar with when you see something new. My car ages a few years every time I see someone with a new one. The next best thing will always look better than the last thing, which was the next best thing a year ago. What’s new can often make us give up what is true. Your personality might get you somewhere, but only character will keep you there. Personality may get you the job, but character will give you a successful career. Personality may get you to the wedding ceremony, but character will build a marriage. You can pretend with personality, but you cannot fake character. A tree is known by its fruit. Let’s dig for character and acquire something that lasts and others can benefit from.
- Purpose. In security, the term “Personal Identifiable Information” (PII) is common. These are unique characteristics that identify us; they authenticate us. For example, your fingerprints are PII. No one else has fingerprints like yours. That’s why, on criminal shows, one of the first questions asked by detectives at the scene of a crime is if fingerprints were found. Fingerprints will determine who was there and help identify the criminal. There are six billion people and counting on this planet and each one of them has a unique set of fingerprints. We can even use our fingerprints as a lock feature for our phones. Your social security number or picture identification is a PII. Your passport and birth certificate are PIIs as well. Just like fingerprints, passports, picture identification, and social security numbers, your purpose is also PII. Before you had a birth certificate, an identification number, a passport, or even a fingerprint, you had a purpose. God created you after He purposed you. When you understand you have a purpose, you will find your way to your destiny. Your purpose is the “why” of your existence. One of the most common questions that everyone asks is, “Why am I here?” Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life sold millions and still sells because it deals with a unique identifier: purpose. Your purpose must be pursued and protected. To what lengths do you go to ensure your passport, your social security number and other PII are protected? Think of how careful we are with these important personal identifiers, but often reckless with our purpose. Never sacrifice your purpose on the altar of temporary gratification. Sometimes the things that last are done the hard way, but in the end the journey makes it worth the struggle. Your purpose is too valuable to lower it to the level of comparison with others. Beware of the Compare!