Sometimes we are our own worst critics. It’s very painful when you’re hard on yourself. Have you known people who talk out loud to themselves and say things like, “That was so stupid!” “How could you have said that?” and so on. I have known those people and probably at times, in my life, have acted the same way – too hard on myself. Why? Because so many of us look around at others and make comparisons between how they look, act, think, and are succeeding and compare that with ourselves. It’s not God’s heart for you to be so hard on yourself. So, we must find the answer to this question, “How do I stop comparing myself to others?”
Become Aware of Comparing Yourself
The first step in any kind of healing is becoming aware that you need to heal. If you are hard on yourself and often scolding yourself, it’s probably because you ARE looking around at others and comparing yourself to them. They seem to have it altogether and so you feel you are far behind.
I know in my work with people in addiction recovery, many of them are in a rush to get the basic requirements of sobriety done and to get back out – get a job, take some courses, find an apartment. What is making them be in such an all-fired rush? Most likely, they are looking around and feeling others are getting things done more quickly and successfully. They’re already angry at themselves for their failures and lost time. Seeing others making progress makes them anxious that they are going too slow. Comparing ourselves to others is full of pain. So, become aware that you are doing it, if you are, and get determined to stop!
Discover How God Sees You Instead
In a post that I wrote a while ago called “How Does God See Me?” I spoke about two verses that are so uplifting. Here they are:
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12 ESV)
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)
If you think God sees you as small or nothing or less than others, when you give your heart and loyalty to Him through Christ, you are mistaken. Just these two verses (and there are plenty more) tell us that He sees you as His son or daughter (part of the family) and as part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation if you have received Christ’s forgiveness..
You didn’t do anything to earn that. You don’t HAVE to do anything to earn that. Just trust Him and take Him at His word. To God, you are a great big SOMEBODY SPECIAL.
Forgive Yourself for the Mistakes
Adding to your hardness on yourself may be the memory of all your past mistakes. Sometimes we look at others and think they are so much better than us – have so many fewer reasons to feel guilty.
But, everyone makes mistakes! The Bible is very clear: “…for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NIV) And, “We like sheep have all gone astray.” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV)
You Will Not Find a Perfect Person
You will not find a perfect person. And people who seem to be relatively more upright may be those struggling with less visible sins – greed or lust, for example. Everyone of us has a “growing edge” for which we need God’s help. Those who have accepted Christ and who are becoming more like Him every day still make mistakes.
In Luke 7:36-50, a story is recorded of a woman who was a notorious sinner. She came to the house of Simon the Pharisee (a religious leader) to anoint the feet of Jesus who was one of the guests there. She knelt at his feet and wept, wiping his feet with fragrant oil and her hair. Jesus took critique because he was kind to this woman. But, he noted that she loved so much more than the seemingly more upright people in the room. Why? Because she had been forgiven so much. Jesus held her in higher honor.
So, don’t compare your mistakes to those of others. Just let yourself be forgiven and believe that you get a clean slate with Jesus, no matter what.
Be Grateful for the Life You Have
And be grateful! It is hard to see your life as being less than that of others, if you are busy giving thanks for it! No matter how hard circumstances may be for you, there is always something about which you can say, “I am so, so grateful for this, God.” Gratitude lifts you up above your troubles.
You are Unique: Don’t Compare Yourself
And, know that there is no one else like you. No one can “do you” like you can! In the book of Jeremiah, God says to this prophet,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV) That is beautiful language and we may think it is only for Jeremiah and people like him. He was a great Old Testament prophet – with a book in the Bible. But, those words are really for each of us. Before we were even formed in the womb, God knew us too. He created us and each one has been created for a purpose. By that, I mean, there is something only you can do in this world.
Compare the Old You Only to the New You
If you’re going to compare anything, compare yourself now to the old you. You’ll be surprised how far you have come, though you may want to go much farther. And if you see progress, even a tiny bit, celebrate! Rejoice and give yourself credit and give God thanks. Don’t you dare be stingy with yourself. If you won’t say it, I will. Great job!
Be Kind to Others: Don’t Compare Them
And finally, we tend to criticize other people when we feel insecure ourselves. So, as you’re working on holding your tongue and not being hard on yourself, work on being gentle on others. We are, hopefully, all growing, all changing. Or, at least, needing to do that. So, go easy on others. Try to find the good in them and praise it.
The Holy Spirit put something in my heart the other day, just this simple thought: “If a kitten scratches, maybe it’s hungry.” And then, I felt the Spirit say, people aren’t much different. Sometimes, on the surface, they are so disagreeable because they are really “hungry” – for love, guidance, resources, a lifting of guilt. There are so many reasons people may be hard to be around. But if we’re kind, we may be the beginning of new life for them.
So, go easy on you, be kind to others. Paul wrote that there were many gifts and the greatest of them is love.1 Corinthians 13:13. Let’s give it to ourselves and to others.
Fifteen Bible Verses About Not Comparing Ourselves to Others
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I love this post! You are so right. When we compare ourselves to others, we have to remember that, “Everyone of us has a “growing edge” for which we need God’s help,” so we have to be gracious in our judgments, always remembering that our true worth and identity are in Christ.
Thank you, Erin. I needed this post as much as anyone. Haha! So important to get our sense of worth and identity from Christ who always loves us even in failures. He never gives up on us. And so, we need to be kind to ourselves too.
I always need the reminder to see myself as God sees me. And, then I need to dress for the occasion so that others see me in the best possible light as well. It takes some energy and a good mirror.
Yes! I love that, Laura – also dress for the occasion. I remember one time I was going to a difficult meeting – I had some conflict with some people with whom I was doing ministry. I was hurt and struggling to obediently take no offense. The Holy Spirit persuaded me to go with the right heart and then suggested what to wear! Ha! The event turned out so well. I was set free from my negativity.
Such great tips to help us in the moment when we find ourselves comparing. I will be reading this again!
Thank you, Ava. It is an area where so many of us need God’s help. In the “promised land” of our Christian walk, insecurity and harshness towards ourselves should be banished. It is part of the many heavenly blessings we have. But, I am working on it myself!!
Comparison is a joy stealer. All it does is rob us of our authenticity. But to know, and really believe that we are who Christ says we are, well, that is where we find out true identity! Why would we ever need to compare ourselves with others when we know that we who He says we are?
Yes, you are so right. A sure cure for comparisons is to keep going back to Christ and asking Him again, “Who do you say I am?” He, lovingly, reminds us again and again!
I love this! So very encouraging and something we all need to be reminded of now and then. Comparing ourselves with others is such a human failing. But one you have given us very actionable ways to overcome! Thank you for this post!
Thank you, Teresa. So appreciate you stopping by and commenting. I find I haven’t quite overcome every temptation to compare, but I am much farther along than I was!
Thank you for this! It’s been a constant struggle for me because for as long as I can remember I have struggled with my weight. I finally realized that no matter what the scale says I am never happy. I am learning to stop looking at everyone else to feel good about myself, and be happy with who God made me. I am far from perfect, and it’s still a struggle at times, but I am trying!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an honest comment. I totally understand. There’s always something that we think is not good enough compared to others. But, thanks be to God, He keeps working on having us grow and change where we can and accept the rest about ourselves. God bless you so much.
Great suggestions. I find myself falling into the comparison traps often. But, I am taking your advice to heart. Thanks for offering this encouragement.
Thank you, Yvonne. Yes, it’s so easy to fall into evaluating our progress and our worth by looking at someone else farther along. There will always be those! But, to go back to God’s unfailing love for us and our uniqueness in the world is so important. Thanks for stopping by.
The comparison trap is so easy to fall into! But I love all these great tips on how to avoid it and get ourselves out of it. I needed these reminders. Thank you!
Collene, thank you for stopping by. It is an easy trap, but God wants us free from it, I know. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!
Hi, Pam. This is such a beautiful and very helpful post especially when we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to other people’s highlights! Let’s always look to God and how He sees us because from there, peace will reign. Grateful for you, and all that you do! Sending you blessings!
Thank you so much, Sheryl. I love that you said we compare ourselves to other’s highlights. So true! Someone once said, “We only see others’ onstage while we know, only too well, our back stage. God bless you so much also.
I love the analogy of the kitten! Thanks for reminding me that I can’t be too hard on myself and that comparing myself to others will only bring me down. God sees me through Christ and I need to as well!
Thank you, Summer. Yes, I think we get some poor teaching sometimes – that humility is thinking badly about ourselves. All that I read in scripture goes against this. Yes, we need to repent of sins, but the thing that helps us is to drink deeply from the well of God’s steadfast love that endures forever. Thank you for stopping by!!
Forgiving yourself of your own mistakes is a big one in not comparing yourself to others. That is something I work on daily.
I agree, Katie. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves. The Lord forgives us but we won’t agree!
Those are 7 powerful (Truth based) ways to stop comparing myself to others! I am content when I am consistently grateful for all the blessings in my life. I like how you point out to not compare others to others. Thank you for this very encouraging post. I needed it today!
Thank you so much for coming by and reading. Yes, being grateful for what we have helps us so much to not look around at others and feel like less.
What a beautiful post Pam! I don’t know why we compare ourselves so much, but you gave great insight on how to stop. It really does begin with seeing ourselves as God does!
Thank you so much for stopping by! Yes, I would love to leave making comparisons behind for good!!
Ahh forgive yourself for your mistakes! Definitely my hardest one =). Such a great post!
Thank you so much for your comment and for your read!
Thank you for these tips and the reminder that God gives me the right to be a child of God and I am chosen by Him! I am unique and quirky and that is how God made me. I do find it hard not to compare myself to others but I’m learning that maybe God created me to do things in a different way than others do. You have greatly encouraged me with this post!❤️
Oh Karen, God bless you! And thank you for these kind words. There is no one else like you. You are uniquely and wonderfully made and so needed. I feel quirky too. Haha! But the Lord is helping me over many seasons see that what I bring is needed too.
This post hits so close to home! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you, Evangeline!
Comparison is a trap that I have to be mindful I don’t get caught up in. God started showing me that when I compare myself with others and feel like I’m lacking, I am basically telling Him that He didn’t make me right. I need to stop that, I know that hurts His heart …
Donna – Great point! Yes, when we compare ourselves we are critiquing God’s handiwork. I will remember this!
Learning how to not compare ourselves even to our old version is so vital.
So true that wherever there is negative output, it’s just evidence of a need. So gracious of Holy Spirit to speak this to you this way! Great post full of truth!
I love learning and growing in Christ!
Rita, God bless you! I love learning and growing in Christ too! Thank you for stopping by and reading and leaving a comment. So glad to have you here.