The Comparison Trap Part 1: The Root of Comparison

Friday, March 24, 2017

It seems like the temptation to compare myself to my friends and strangers on the internet is a daily, even hourly struggle. At any given moment I have the ability to see what everyone is doing and not just what they are doing but a filtered version that looks beautiful and lovely. Don't get me wrong, I love looking at the pretty pictures on Instagram and I honestly love trying to create beautiful pictures too. 

But the key word here is: create. 

Sometimes I capture beautiful spontaneous moments and sometimes I rearrange things to be more pleasing to the eye. But you would have no way of knowing which ones those are. You don't know what happened during those pictures if the smile is natural or forced. You can’t know the real me based on tiny squares on the internet. Because you know what’s definitely not pictured there are the times I snap in anger or the pile of dirty dishes in my sink. It’s just not as pretty. Almost everyone is trying to put their best foot forward on social media and we shouldn’t compare their best with our worst. It’s not fair to ourselves. 

Since my New Year’s Reflection, I have been thinking about this issue in my life. 

When I first had the idea to write a post about comparison, I thought it would be a quick one with my ideas of ways that I try to combat it in my own life. As I started to write, I could see that just sharing tips wouldn't be enough. Comparison is multi-faceted. I started thinking about why we compare ourselves, what happens when we do, and how we can fight it.That was too much information for one post that I decided to make it into a series. I am excited to do my first series with you guys and I can't wait to hear your thoughts on comparison as well! 

Let's start at the beginning with Part One in this series, The Comparison Trap. I want to look at the Root of Comparison in our lives.

The Comparison Trap, Part 1: The Root of Comparison

Why do we compare ourselves? 

Maybe it started when we were young and we were compared to a sibling or a friend and we realized that we weren't matching their standard.  Or maybe it’s because we live in a society that puts perfection on a pedestal and we are always trying to keep up with that impossible standard. 

We might compare because we are trying to figure out:

1. Where we fit
2. Who our people are
3. What we are called to be doing

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing because the Bible tells us we are all many parts of one body. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) If we are a nose, knowing that the nose is on the face would be a good thing so that we can function properly. If we look at who we are as the nose and then decide that we aren't as good as the eyes, then that's a problem. A body needs both eyes and a nose. Each part is important to remain whole and function properly. 

In light of this, what does COMPARISON actually mean? 

According to Miriam Webster and, the word COMPARE is a verb. It is an action that examines two items closely to see the similarities and differences between them. 

Seeing the differences and similarities between people is a natural thing to do. BUT we have a choice on how we respond after we gather that information: condemn or celebrate.  Let’s CELEBRATE what we find instead of condemning; condemning ourselves and each other because we are different.  

Why do we condemn and not celebrate? I think it all has to do with our pride.

In my opinion, the root of comparison is pride. 

Pride is more obvious if we are finding ourselves greater and others less, but if we are finding ourselves lesser and others greater that’s pride too! Crazy, huh? 

I’ll never forget when I heard pride being described as “Wow is me” and “Woe is me”  during a sermon at church. (This book even talks about it too!) It has never left me. I thought I was being humble because I wasn't thinking that highly of myself. I was still being prideful because I was focused on me. The common word in those descriptions of pride is ME. 

We need to remove "me" from the equation and instead realize it's about Christ: how he made us and how he created others. His standard is " your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 12:31). We can't do that if we are constantly judging whether or not we are worse or better than them. 

1 Corinthians 13:4 says love “is not proud.” If pride is at the center of our hearts we can't be loving our neighbors or ourselves as God has called us to.

What do you think the root of comparison is in your life? Is it pride or something else? 


  1. This is so good. I've never thought of pride as the root of comparison before. It makes sense. What do think about fear as a root of comparison?

    Thanks for doing this series.

    1. Thank you! I do think fear is a big part of it, I wrote more about what I think about fear and comparison in Part 2 of this series :)

  2. I think this really relates to your contentment challenge! God made each of us different, as you described, and HE is proud of our differences and loves each one of us for those differences. I received a reusable bad with the words "Different is Beautiful" on the front. I think it's so true! I am so grateful you are sharing your beauty through this blog! It is helping me remember to be grateful for who God created me to be and that I am different, not just forgotten, and HE made me exactly how he intended.

  3. Thank you for your kind words! It warms my heart to know you are being encouraged :)


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