Opinion: Why do we compare ourselves to others?


Since the beginning of time, men have compared themselves to others. Adam of course did not have this problem because he had no one to compare himself to, but later came Eve. We are such insatiable people - very seldom are we satisfied. When we are young, we want to be older. When we get older, we wish we were young. We gain a little weight, so we starve ourselves and place our home on famine mode to lose it. Once we reach our weight loss goal, we complain that we have to buy new clothing. Will we ever get to the point of being totally satisfied?

Satisfaction is putting an end to a desire, want or need. How amazing would it be if we were satisfied in at least one area of our lives? One piece of gold jewelry ends up being dozens, while one tattoo is followed by six more. Is it even possible for humans to be totally satisfied with anything?

The therapy for satisfaction starts with accepting the fact that God made you exactly the way he wanted you to be: "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well" (Psalm 139:14).

Think about it, you received your first haircut at the age of two because your big brother got his haircut at two years old. If we are truthful, the majority of what we do is based on what other people do. My mother used to tell me as a young boy to "have a mind of your own, son." She was trying to tell me to think for myself, make decisions based on what I want to do in life. Our decisions should not be based on what political party we follow or how we were taught. Decisions should be based on what is right. Do you know the passage of Scripture that is at the very center of the Bible? If not, let me inform you. It is Psalm 118:8, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." So why do we continue to compare ourselves to others when we should just put our trust in God and be satisfied?

Wars are fought because nations compare themselves to the powers of other nations. People go accumulate debt because they want what someone else has. Women have forced retailers to set up shop based on the 80/20 rule in most cases. Eighty percent of the store is marketed for female shoppers, and the remaining 20 percent is for the male shopping experience.

Television ads are based on the fact that if it looks good on them, it will look better on you. Things would be much simpler if we could just shift to satisfaction mode and stay there. We are who we are because God made us that way. The one thing that may be common to all of us is our hair. When we are young, we want long hair. When girls and women get too busy, they want short hair. When we get older, we just thank God for hair!

When bad statistics are examined, the extracted numbers are usually based on perpetrators. People carry out acts that they see, hear or read about what others did. There should be a "how to be yourself" class taught in elementary, middle and high schools. This is not a local, state or national issue; it is a world issue.

Businesses compare themselves to other companies in an exercise called benchmarking. Politicians run a huge part of their campaign comparing their record to that of their opponent. Presidents, once elected, spend a huge part of their presidency telling the nation how terrible the previous administration was compared to their present administration.

Comparing ourselves to others creates endless goals that we will die trying to achieve. Find out your purpose in life, get on board, stay focused, and try not to change your direction based on what others are doing.

The challenge for each of us today is to find something, one thing, that you can't seem to ever be satisfied with and set up a strategy. The strategy should have clear-cut processes for you to once and for all reach contentment in that particular issue. You can do it!

Jeremiah 29:11 reads, "For I know the thoughts I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.