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Raising Girls - Comparison Is Stealing Your Joy


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#1 Jonathon

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:00 AM

Five practical tips to fight back

There are so many cautionary tales in the Bible about comparison—beginning with the very beginning. The serpent in the garden suggests to Eve that she compare herself to God. If only she will eat fruit from this one tree, it tells her, she could be like God in her knowledge of good and evil. The stories of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Saul and David, and so many more illustrate the extremes of what can happen when people compare themselves to others, falling prey to jealousy and envy. Even the disciples were not immune, jockeying for positions at Jesus’ right and left hand. And Peter’s last recorded words to Jesus in the Gospel of John are, “Lord, what about him?” after hearing an unsettling word about his own future.

Of course, all of the comparisons we read about in Scripture happened in real time. Imagine if King Saul had been able to scroll through David’s Instagram feed—each perfectly staged, tagged, and filtered photo more infuriating than the last. Think of Peter wondering why John posted so many selfies with Jesus, all hash-tagged #beloveddisciple. Envision Martha glancing between the vivid, mouth-watering image at the top of a pinned Pinterest recipe and the not-so-picturesque dish she was about to serve her honored guest.

The internet and social media are wonderful in many respects, connecting us in unparalleled ways. But studies have shown we are growing less content with our own lives as we consume a near constant stream of images, status updates, articles, recipes, party decor suggestions, how-to videos, and self-improvement tips from others. Comparison is one of the signature elements of our fallen humanity—social media didn’t create ...

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#2 BigAl

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 10:20 AM

Great read, Jonathan! "View full article" hyperlink is broken but "Continue reading..." works fine.

 

I had been a victim of comparison for many years and I always came up short in the comparison. When I realized and accepted that I am a child of God, and God makes no junk (in spite of my own self-perceptions), acceptance of myself began to get easier. It's really quite simple... if I compare myself to others as a means of self-deprecation, I am judging God's handy work and therefore think I know better than God. Quite the recipe for perpetual misery.

 

That is different than comparing oneself to another in the interest of self-improvement. For example I could compare myself to Pastor Jonathan (ha ha couldn't resist) and say "I wish I had his outlook on people and things". Well golly gee, maybe the lesson is if I want what Pastor Jonathan has, then I need to to what Pastor Jonathan does. Or I might compare myself to another dude who is more athletic. Okay, then eat better and work out at the gym, that's what he did.

 

Envy and jealousy are probably the biggest character defects around and cause a lot of self-made misery. Even today I catch myself upon entering retirement comparing my financial assets to those of others. Instead, I need to be grateful for what the Lord provided for me and learn to work with what I have. So today I still can get caught up in the comparison trap. But the difference is it is relatively short-lived and I don't wallow in self-pity over it.

 

Social media is indeed a big radiating antenna of "gee, look at me" and adolescents in that tough self-awareness phase of their lives are tuned to receive that information. IMO how they use it depends on the foundation they have been given as children by their parents. A path to self-acceptance begins with how we as adults interact with our children or those children around us. A child's self-esteem can be tied directly to how we respond to their need for attention.



#3 Papa

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 01:56 AM

It depends on how you use comparisons.  I can compare myself to Big Al, Whetstone, Jack and some of the other older males on the forum.  (albeit, none of them are actually my age.)  there are few older women on the forum, so I tend to look at the younger women as daughters or granddaughters.  But I am, basically, myself, shaped by the factors of my age and experience.  I was born and raised into a paternalistic society, so as an elderly male, i tend to see myself as something of a patriarch.  That can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances. But it is the role I have in my real-life family and it sometimes bleeds over into my postings. 




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