The Dreaded Comparison Game

“Mommy?” (says three year old Faith).  

“Yes, Faith.” (says excited Mommy who loves hearing life through the eyes of her daughter).

“I wish my hair was beautiful like Ariel’s.”

“AHHHHHHHHHHHH!” (screams Mommy with a Macaulay Culkin like scream now resonating through our home).

Just kidding.  I didn’t scream.  But I wanted to!  I couldn’t believe it, the comparison game rearing its ugly head already?  I thought I was safe until at least like age 8 or 9.  But there it was, the “she is prettier than I am” mentality in my sweet, beautiful, and innocent three year old daughter.

Its everywhere, but I refuse to believe it is hopeless to reverse.  So I got to thinking.  What is it in our brains that causes the comparing to take place?  Usually, for me, it starts with a recognition of something beautiful.  I look at someone’s eyes, hair, clothes, body, shape, height, clothes, etc; and I notice that it is wonderful to look at.  An attribute to be praised.  Then, instead of stopping there, my thinking takes a dreaded turn to the tune of “I will never look like that.” or “I wish I…”  The final step usually leads to a, sometimes unhealthy, step to achieve or somehow attempt to become what I identified as beautiful.  Colored contact lenses, dyed hair, crash diet, increased workout regime…the list can go on.  All the while building up passive aggressive resentment towards the once admired beautiful trait.

What if…what if we put a hault to the comparison thinking?  What if we allowed ourselves to see, admire, and even adore someone in all their beautiful traits without then feeling the need to impose them upon ourselves?  God “has made everything beautiful in its time”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and His creation is worth our admiration…including His creation in US.  I say, admire away.  God and His creation deserves it.  But I can recognize it and admire it without dwelling on it.  Afterall, as a wise pastor once said, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can sure stop it from building a nest in your hair!”

To be honest, I was so thankful Faith shared her thoughts with me that day.  It halted me in my steps just enough to be intentional about teaching her about beauty and God’s perfect creation in her.  It was okay for Faith to recognize that she thinks long, red, curly hair is beautiful.  It is.  But it never, even for a second, does it deplete or diminishes her own beauty.

Then…in order to really impact her life and help these truths really stick…I had to start believing that about myself too.  Thank you God for daughters!  Finally, the motivation I needed to start loving myself… for real.

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