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Unhealthy Comparison

Hey friends, It's Sylvia Nwokolo, and I'm glad you have joined me on this journey to enlighten you to thrive and be all that you are purposed to be. Now let's dive in and talk abut Comparison. Comparison is the act of evaluating the differences between people, things or concepts. Today I want us to discuss it in the context of comparing people. When is it healthy and when does it pose an issue? I still remember hearing this common phrase growing up, as a way to dis or criticise, you hear people say - 'Your mates are doing so and so and you are here doing so and so'. Comparing has been engraved in our culture, it can be seen in our schools, our marriages, our work force and generally in life but how do you as a parent educate and talk to your child about comparison; and as an individual how do you see comparison. When is comparison healthy?

I'm sure we have heard the saying Comparison is the thief of Joy. That statement speaks volume on the toxicity involved in comparing people. You might have fallen into the trap of mentally comparing others or even worse being out spoken about it. A mother comparing her children or comparing her child to someone else will rob herself of the joy of discovering each child's uniqueness and purpose, and fall into the trap of thinking all of us should act the same and achieve the same things in life - this is unhealthy - especially for the child involved. It's like putting a yoke or burden on a child that he or she was never meant to carry. A child might loose his or her sense of identity and purpose by pursuing someone else's dream. Instead of comparing your child have you thought to help the child discover his or her unique abilities? That is why while our children are little and still developing, we expose them to all sorts of activities; extra lessons and extracurricular activities just so we can allow each child to explore and discover what they really thrive in. This is when comparison is healthy when you can assess the abilities of the child and compare the child's levels of growth. Why? because we all have the ability to increase and grow from one level of growth to another. In other words, taking stock and moving forward in the direction you know they are capable of going not in the direction you see another child going. Let me use this analogy to explain. Each of us have our unique tree we are climbing which leads us to the top - our fulfilling purpose. Comparison keeps our eyes on other people's tree and without realising it we have moved to the other persons tree to race to the top with that person, only to realise when you get to the top that you were on the wrong tree. With healthy comparison, you start with your unique tree look down at how far you have come and keep climbing and making progress to get to the top of your own tree. That is why we each set goals for ourselves, just make sure that those goals are yours or else you would achieve them and not feel fulfilled in the pursuit of that goal.

Comparison would rob us of the joy of enjoying our marriages - it is the thief of joy. Don't get me wrong there are some non-negotiables you have in your marriage which you noticed in your spouse that made you say yes in the first place. If that slips off I can understand your grief, and you both can work it out yourselves or seek help to work it out. Also there is room for improvement on both sides of the marriage to keep the relationship flourishing. However if you now expect your spouse to be all that you see other people's spouse to be, that would definitely steal your joy cos your spouse is not the same as your friend's spouse. It is always good to take stock of all the good in your spouse and enjoy your marriage without playing that comparison game - remember that there is no perfect human being.

Stephen Covey talked about his son in his book the 7 habits of highly effective people. His son didn't seem to be doing well in sports and academically as other children were and he and his wife found themselves as parents embarrassed for him and shielding him from the attack of others. They had to come to the realisation that they were trying to make him measure up to the society's standard and that they were deriving their value as parents from his behaviour. This they also realised could lead to conditional love where he thinks he has to perform to a certain standard to be accepted and it could eventually lead to their son having a lessened sense of self worth. So Stephen and his wife took a different approach of not trying to change him to suite the society, they instead stood apart from him to sense his identity, individuality, separateness and worth, and they began to see him in terms of his own uniqueness, they saw layers of potentials that would be realised at his own speed and pace. They decided to relax and get out of his way and play the natural role as parents to affirm, enjoy and value him. This eventually led to their son thriving as he felt a quiet confidence, affirmed himself and began to blossom at his pace and speed. His Pace and Speed, I must repeat! The same principle can be applied to every area of life including work and career. Are you climbing up the wrong career tree cos you think that's what society says is best or are you making progress and moving up your chosen career tree? Food for thought my friends.

The bible says, Search your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life. It also says, Each one should take their own actions, then they can take pride in themselves not comparing themselves to someone else. What action are each of us taking to be all that God has called us to be? Have we abandoned our part to chase someone else's part or are we moving in our lane and doing better than our yesterday? Food for thought for all of us, Let's run our own race so we might say like Paul in the bible - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. The fight is worth it cos its your fight, not someone else but yours. That's why I keep reminding you to keep winning, shining and thriving. Until next time my friend, its your host Sylvia Nwokolo.


Sylvia Nwokolo is a Wellbeing Transformation Coach and Author.

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