I didn’t expect it to happen. I thought I would just watch casually and I wouldn’t care. But I was wrong. I got sucked in and it consumed me. I’m talking about the royal wedding. I hadn’t followed their relationship and didn’t know her story but it was a unique event, so I thought I would watch it just to see what happens. I think the most compelling aspect was the fact that she had a background so many could relate to. That also, unfortunately, leads to a lot of comparisons.
Comparing ourselves or our lives to someone else is pretty much human nature. These comparisons can be useful sometimes, but usually I use them to see what someone else has that I don’t have. It is usually one small aspect of the other’s life that is compared, and not the life as a whole. As we micro-focus on that one tiny aspect, we distort our vision and lose sight of the big picture.
I am currently reading “Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl” by Lysa Terkeurst, and there was a perfectly-timed chapter this week titled “But I Want What She Has”. It was a great way to break that cycle of comparison, not just to the beautiful bride in the wedding but comparison in general.
As Lysa says, it’s strange how we assume that the thing they have that is missing from my life somehow makes their life complete. Because it’s like the one last piece of a puzzle for me, it is assumed that they lack for nothing in this world. The problem with comparisons here is that it blinds me to all the wonderful things I have-it’s possible to even resent my life even though it is a great one.
The other incorrect assumption is that the other person’s life is just fantastic because it has that one puzzle piece. But, what if that one piece is all they have? I have so many wonderful pieces already, so would I honestly trade in all of these for just that one? Why would I be less thankful for my many in envy of their one?
I learned at an early age that nobody’s life is perfect. Not even a princess’ life. Maybe, especially not hers. Would I really want to be followed by paparazzi for the rest of my life? I wouldn’t want my appearance and every action exposed and cruelly judged. So, what I think is most envied is the pomp and circumstance of a beautiful wedding. Those were beautiful, touching moments, but they weren’t daily life. Nobody’s life is perfect, but it’s a package deal. I have to be willing to be happy for others as I watch their beautiful moments and realize that is their moment, not mine. Mine has its own unique beauty that brings a lot of joy. And both have frustrations, pain, and less-than-perfect moments.
Comparisons can be part of the good around me only if I use them wisely. Not in a way that helps me to see that someone has something I want and causes me to feel envy. Or I have something someone else wants and causes me to feel pride. What if I used my comparisons to see where others don’t have the basic necessities-I have a safe, well-built roof over my head, more food than I need, and the love and support of my friends and family. What if I look for those who are lacking those basic needs and reach out to help them have these things, too? If we are going to make comparisons, let’s do it in a way that makes the world around us a little better.