I'm happy to have Mandy Mianecki here today guest posting in the "Comparing Ourselves to Others...and what it does to us" series. Mandy and I "met" last year through the God-sized Dream Team. She is a true encourager with a passion to see others journey from brokenness to wholeness. You can find her blogging at Hearts Undaunted and God-sized Dreams. Please welcome Mandy here today in the comments section. ~ Laura
It takes mere seconds of scrolling through a Facebook news feed for comparison to set in. Status updates driven home with attached photos bombard us because, unless users are complaining, they're usually posting about someone's accomplishment: theirs, their offspring's, their friends' or their family's.
Whether it's the gourmet meal cooked, organic, gluten-free confection baked, top marks in school earned, new job obtained, or pristine family Easter photo taken, it screams: you are less than!
To be fair, it's not actually a Facebook problem—it's a human problem. We see what others are doing, usually at their best, and assume we must perform identically to be worthy. We assume they have it all together and why don't we?
We follow with a list of all the areas in which we are falling short: vegetables not eaten by the kids, house not cleaned, pounds not lost, dollars not made, personal goals not achieved. It's a quick downward spiral toward being overwhelmed by life and feeling worthless.
But I wonder...what if, instead of jumping to all things going wrong, we listed those areas in which we are making progress and excelling? What if we looked at those things we do well and started doing those things more?
What if we stopped looking at life as a competition and instead looked at it as playing for the same team?
St. Paul tells us that we are all parts of the same body, each one with our own gifts:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
What would it look like if we celebrated those gifts instead of judging them? What if we realized that we are together building something beautiful for the glory of God, in a project where all of our different gifts are needed?
I think it's the point at which we embrace the genius God breathed into each of us that we begin to release brilliance into the world. After all, no one can be you like you can.
So, we need you—not you trying to be someone else.
I love how Brené Brown connects the ideas of creativity and comparison in her book The Gifts of Imperfection:
"Letting go of comparison is not a to-do list item. For most of us, it's something that requires constant awareness. It's so easy to take our eyes off our path to check out what others are doing and if they're ahead or behind us. Creativity, which is the expression of our originality, helps us stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared. And, without comparison, concepts like ahead or behind or best or worst lose their meaning."
What is that you're good at and love doing? Is it painting, speaking, writing, connecting, or listening? Do it—and don't worry about what others think about it. We surely need what you have to offer.
And the flip side is also true: refuse to judge or be intimidated by what others do—you surely need what they have to offer!
Someone pretty smart designed it that way.
Photo credit: Dawn (Willis) Manser
Mandy Mianecki is a wife and mom of 4. She’s a coffee-drinker, word-nerd, homeschooling-attempter and contributing writer at God-sized Dreams. She is passionate about encouraging others in their healing journeys from brokenness to wholeness; in uncovering their unique kind of God-breathed brilliance; and in living in the freedom won by Christ.
When she’s not writing, Mandy is still dreaming God-sized dreams, which usually involve making art, wearing turquoise, and eyeing a nearby jar of Nutella. She blogs at Hearts Undaunted, and you can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.