Comparison has always been a thing. A nasty one at that. We are all aware of it, and yet most the time we can’t turn away from it. Sometimes we even choose to lean into it, and depending on our varying stages of life we are impacted in different ways around every turn. It can be hurtful, and can even drive us to “change ourselves” out of damaging motivations.
I turned 30 this year, and something happened in me. A veil was lifted and my world truly felt even brighter. I do have to preface that I had been doing a lot of deep heart + mind work over the past few years anyway, which contributed to my expanding views. But being almost 2 years into motherhood, 6 years into marriage, and months away from closing my second decade, I could have had the potential to crash and burn with comparison at any moment. Instagram. Magazines. Sidewalk envy. Church. Yes…church.
Something shifted in me as I saw my true self, and suddenly as I became more sure of myself and the intricate ways I was created, I wanted to celebrate other people more. I wanted to cheer my friends on more and tell them that they’re amazing. I wanted to witness what made them come alive and push them toward it even more. I wanted to look at my role models and see attributes in them that I wanted to aspire to. As I lifted other people up in my perspective and my heart, the weight of feeling lesser than or “uninvited” left me.
Where I used to compare myself or feel defeated or inadequate in light of, I became grateful and inspired by incredible people. And in turn, I became free.
What a game changer.
And what is even more amazing? My heart was opened to others who experience life and beliefs and stories so much differently than I do. I thought that it was open before, but it wasn’t. It was apprehensive. It didn’t quite know how to act. But as my own questions about God and life and Jesus became bigger and more consistent, so did my heart for learning and knowing about other people—and being inspired by them! The more I think I have all the answers, the more the Holy Spirit reminds me to have a softened and compassionate heart. Only He knows the full depth of every soul and every decision made.
I’m currently sitting at a restaurant in Vancouver, WA where I once had a monumental, journal-writing moment that changed my way of relating to Jesus and, well…everyone. The amusing thing is, I have the same glass of wine and the same two servers checking in on me now that I had 6 months ago when I released 11 years of unspoken pain in the confines of the lines of my journal. In that moment, I was in this restaurant with tears streaming down my face, delivering my thoughts and angry prayers through my pen and onto my paper. I was on the journey to being free of my own overcast sky, but I hadn’t yet broken through. Picture that watery-eyed girl in the booth, eh?
To be honest, I can’t even pinpoint the moment where the breakthrough happened. It was gradual and evident and led by the compassion of the Holy Spirit. It took courage on my end to say YES to the moments that would bring difficult, life-giving conversations. But the veil was lifted; and here, I was able to see others at their very best and I was seeking to be inspired by them.
When you see someone who is doing something lovely, tell them so.
When you witness someone who is doing something impactful, let it be known.
When you experience compassion from someone when you feel you don’t even deserve it, say thank you with a truly grateful heart.
Comparison brings isolation, self-loathing, and an overcast, cloudy mindset. Inspiration brings community, encouragement and gratitude.
Choose the latter my friends, for the Holy Spirit guides us into compassion and love for ourselves and for others. The former is of a darkness that we are not meant to live in.
Let’s be inspired by one another—it’s life changing!
Jamie L. Robison