We live in a world with instant feedback on how we’re living our lives. Comments and likes and shares mold our identity, often without us realizing it. Comparison between friends, coworkers, family—even strangers—has become second nature. Sometimes there’s a healthy competition at work or a friendly weight loss contest, but regularly rating your worth against others damages your soul.
Your inner light is a vital part of your spiritual health. So engaging in constant comparison (like the world invites us to do) only adds wear and tear to your wellness. Take a look at why we’re all so enticed by comparison and how you can reframe your thoughts.
Why Comparison Happens
There’s something called the social comparison theory—you probably haven’t heard of it, but you likely live this theory every day. This theory is seen in the workplace, in our social lives, and even within families. It all revolves around comparison. Your brain naturally compares as a way to protect itself and to understand how the world around you works. Thomas Mussweller, a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School taught: Inevitably, we relate information about others to ourselves. It’s one of the most basic ways we develop an understanding of who we are, what we’re good at, and what we’re not so good at. It happens not only in a strategic manner, but also spontaneously and automatically whenever we are confronted with others.” Comparison is a natural human tendency.
Comparison is rooted in your desire to understand your purpose, to feel like you belong. It’s human nature to turn to social media or to a colleague to “rate” yourself. But the only person you should be comparing yourself to is… you. Engage in regular spiritual habits to find confidence in your identity. Stop looking outward and comparing against others. It will only dim your inner light.
Resentment Weakens Connection
If you’re stuck in the comparison trap, you know the feeling of resentment. Rising anger, festering thoughts, and jealousy unlike anything else. These feelings weaken the connections you have with those around you—and your soul thrives off of connection. To be spiritually healthy, our souls need the light and love from others. If you find yourself full of frustration and resentment, take the steps to forgive this individual. Allow God to help you rekindle this connection and ignite your inner light.
“Bitterness and resentment only hurt one person, and it’s not the person we’re resenting…it’s us” (Saint Augustine). When you compare, resentment not only ruins relationships with others, but damages how you view yourself. Deprecating thoughts beat down on your soul and convince you that you aren’t enough. Comparing pushes away your confidence and invites negative energy to fill your spirit instead. As this connection with yourself weakens from these thoughts, it will be harder to recognize your inner voice. Do yourself a favor and push away those thoughts of comparison. Instead, seek the light within you.
Be Confident in Who You Are
There are approximately 8 billion people dotting the Earth. And every single one of them is different. We are all given different personalities, different physiques, and different likes and dislikes. It’s human nature to look around and compare. But, instead, you should use your time to develop your unique spiritual identity. Take time to reach inward for self-reflection. Have a heart-to-heart with God and ask what you’re doing well—and also where you can improve. Replace the damaging comparison habits with quiet moments of spiritual communication. That’s where you’ll find the confidence and peace you are seeking.
Life coach Tony Robbins shares this insight: “Confidence is not something people are born with—it’s something you must create. Building confidence creates the feeling of certainty that you can accomplish what you set out to do. Confidence is like any other emotion. It is something you feel, and you can train yourself to access it in an instant.” Rather than focusing on comparison and dimming your inner spiritual light, reframe your thoughts. Learn the art of confidence. Practice this skill every day and invite God to help you develop it.
You are needed to play your own unique part. If you are caught up in the comparing that is so easily found in the world, you’ll miss out on the satisfaction and joy that comes from confidence in your unique spiritual identity. So start today. Take pride in what you have to offer the world. And invite your higher power to fill you with inner confidence and light. Stop looking out and look in.