Freedom From Perfection, Part 10: More Decimating The Comparison Trap
Oh baby, this is what I intend to do, with God’s help, to The Comparison Trap in my life. No mercy. I want it gone. For-like-EVER.
Why am I being so hard on The Comparison Trap, you ask? I mean, really, must I be so harsh? Is it really that big of a deal?
For me, it is. The Comparison Trap is probably the single most significant contributor to my on-going struggle with Perfectionism. Early childhood experiences may have planted it there, but The Comparison Trap keeps it alive and well.
See, I tend to look around at other people, observe (sometimes inaccurately) what they do or who they are, use this as a standard of measurement for what I do or what I am, judge myself, and then strive to attain this standard.
Over and over and over and over. Day in and day out. It’s totally warped.
Funny, cuz if, prior to doing this series, you would have ever asked me if I had a problem with comparing myself to others, I would have completely denied it. I had no clue how much this one thing consumed my thought life and my behavior until God revealed it to me through this series.
And I’m just thinking that maybe if it’s an issue for me, it may be an issue for some of you, too. And I’m just thinking that maybe if God wants to set me free from The Comparison Trap, maybe He wants to set you free, too.
I’m so ready to decimate this thing, aren’t you? Let’s Go!
I explained in Part 9 two things I’m doing to decimate The Comparison Trap
1. Realize She Ain’t Actually Perfect
2. Realize She Ain’t Me
If you haven’t internalized those two truths, you must do it, or you will never be free. I’m still working through them. But I can feel the weights falling off me as the days go by.
Here are a few more practical steps I’m taking on my road to freedom.
3. I am becoming more aware of what I’m putting before my eyes. I don’t watch much television, so that’s not an issue for me. But, pictures of air-brushed, computer-enhanced celebrities on the cover of magazines make me feel fat and ugly. FYI, I am neither fat nor am I ugly and I know that. But when I look at pictures on magazines—which essentially amount to cartoons, once they’re all manipulated—I look very imperfect. Therefore, I choose not to look at those images.
Not only do I choose not to purchase those magazines, but when I’m standing in the grocery store line and all the air-brushed perfection is staring me in the face, I just look away. It messes with my psyche. And for me, it’s just not worth it. (Don’t even get me started on those stupid magazines that put pictures of everyone’s cellulite on the cover…grrr.)
Maybe for you it isn’t the models that mess with your psyche, but it’s the decorating magazines or the cooking magazines or the fitness magazine. What produces in you an anxiety that’s been flying just under your radar? Maybe it’s time to obliterate that thing.
4. Recently, I realized that even blogs to which I subscribed were having a negative effect on my Perfectionism. Rather than inspiring me to live more frugally or become a better writer, the blogs produced a feeling of guilt inside me for not being able to pull it off. They sucked the life right out of me. I’ve only got a limited amount of time to read blogs. So I’m breaking up with the ones that are life-suckers and only reading the ones that are life-givers. Sorry blogs…it’s not you, it’s me.
What sucks the life out of you? Is it a blog, a relationship or a bad habit? I challenge you to get rid of it, if you can.
5. I must keep God’s will for me in the forefront of my mind. Always. This is one of the many benefits of going through the painstaking process of praying over and setting my annual goals. After reading a stellar bio about a homeschooling mom who is writing and speaking and travelling the world, I can look back to my goals and see clearly that God has NOT called me to that. At least not for this season. He has been very clear about my goals. And these goals are what I must keep before me.
As you think and pray about The Comparison Trap, what is God leading you to do to facilitate your freedom?
my life has been leaps and bounds better since my husband & I moved and didn't install cable. no more makeover shows telling me my wardrobe needs updating, no more house shows telling me my house is inadequate.
Excellent, excellent. I never thought about the possible affect blogs could have on people if all they promote is "doing more" in the kingdom, growing, etc. B/c the fact is, none of us can do that all the time. We fail. And we need to know we are still loved by God. I will try to work that into more articles. Good post for thinking …
Just so you know, your article is getting lots of reads, way more than is indicated by the number responding. I average about 60 hits a day, and yesterday was about 85. I put it on FB and so did Amanda (a new follower of yours. She liked your article a lot – you can see the comment. And you would like her blog a lot, too, I think). wb
I'm sure you got my email last night and you must surely know how much I needed this today. Actually, yesterday I kept having this image of myself getting my arm or leg or head obliterated because I was so stuck in the comparison trap. For real.
I have stopped all the things you mentioned and more because I used to live inside a cage called the comparison trap! At times I get so fooled I start to walk back inside and that's when the arm, leg or head gets snapped off!!
Ummm, I've even read the Bible and felt this way before… Not that I would ever stop but it shows the great lengths the enemy will go to in order to ambush God's girls.
I also felt this way when I showed houses for a living or had to help clients get theirs ready to sell when my own was imploding from neglect! I hated it!! And since I couldn't quit my job…
I have decided the only way to stop.the.trap.forever is to have God's Word before me at all times. My new mantra, recited a million times a day is Hebrews 10:39 "But we're not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We'll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way." (The Msg)
I love you Sandy Cooper and your truth-speaking self.
You. Are. Amazing.
That is all.
(Oh, and like Lisa said, I love you too, Sandy Cooper!)
I was just thinking while reading your post…Comparison creates a space in between us and them. And whenever we aren't one with eachother… we aren't one with God. The two go hand in hand. Oh if we were one with eachother and one with God… life would be…. Heaven.
Were we separated at birth? Our stories are very similar! I found you from Warren Baldwin's blog. For years perfectionism crippled my relationships with people and with God. I, too, have tossed out those fashion magazines and guard the movies and TV we watch.
I'm about to do a writing on Isaiah 53:2…"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him." Amazing that our perfect Savior was "average" in His human form. This encourages me to work on my inner beauty first, as it will reflect outwardly.
People were drawn to Jesus because His love of the Father shown in His eyes, His words, and His actions. I pray to be a beauty like that even in my flawed state. Keep writing! P.S. My husband's name in Jon too!
Through a series of blog hopping I came across your blog today. What a story you have! Blessings to you!