Dealing With Comparison As A Man
Calling all MEN… do you struggle with comparison? Even if you do not like to admit it. If you were truly honest in answering this question, “How do you compare yourself?” Would you answer it with “this does not apply to me” or have no response?
I have some shocking news for you. We all compare ourselves in some sort of way; it is just not talked about that often. Let us be honest with ourselves here MEN. Most of the time, the topic of comparison is heavily talked about among women while men discuss sports or their careers.
My goal in writing this post is to help break the ice of comparison among MEN by talking about it and take away the fear of admitting that we all deal with comparison. Comparison among men can affect us on a regular basis, but we can overcome it!
There are top two main categories of how comparing affects each of us as men.
- When you compare yourself it can damage your feelings of self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence.
- When you compare yourself, it can lead to discontent.
SELF WORTH, SELF-ESTEEM, & SELF-CONFIDENCE
I want to take a moment to break down each one of these categories with real life examples that some, if not all, will relate to.
How many times have you compared yourself to another person and have been let down?
How much comparison can you take until you begin to feel worthless, small, or incompetent?
How often do you doubt yourself or others and feel uncertain about the past, present or future?
These questions are very difficult to write about, talk about or think about even for me. Why? Because I struggle thinking about all three of the questions. My natural manly instinct is to brush the thoughts aside and not let it affect me. But deep down, comparison can affect us in all three of these ways and more.
There are thousands of examples to share that can relate to this category, and it is hard to pick which one to write about. I think the most impactful example to dive into is dealing with comparison when it comes to our weight, looks and style. As men, we get bombarded with this on a daily basis.
Either we do not weigh enough, or we weigh too much. Either we look too fat or too skinny. Either our style is horrible or we are too stylish in expressing ourselves. We all struggle with this so much whether we want to or not. For most of us, we have encountered this horrible way of comparison before at least once in our lifetimes.
I want to share a very personal story with you all that I have discussed with very few family members only and that is it. This story I am about to share really ties in all three areas of how comparison can damage your self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence through style. So here it goes.
During the last few years of college, I was in a relationship with a girl I had known since high school. We reconnected again when I was off at school and started to seriously talk. It was fun at the time, to be talking to an old friend from high school. I had a few thoughts to myself that maybe our future was going to be bright. In the beginning of the relationship, it was good. We had fun getting to know each other and learning about one another.
After two years, it all slowly changed. I discovered that her heart was hardened by her past, and it crept up slowly into our relationship affecting me greatly. I did not realize it at first, until my friends and family had to tell me that they did not recognize me and I was not the same person. I would reassure them that I was fine, and that nothing was going on. However, there was a lot going on behind closed doors. Over several few months, she had been telling me that she did not like my sense of style. I quickly pushed aside her negative comments.
But, one day, I came home, and she had bagged up most all of my clothes in trash bags and was loading them up in her car to donate it. While I was standing there in shock of what was going on, she was justifying her actions by telling me that I was out of style and was needing a complete wardrobe change. I was still speechless and disoriented that this was really happening.
My self-worth, self-esteem and confidence sank so fast at the sight of all my clothes in trash bags. I loved my style because it was simple and comfortable, but then she made me feel like it was all trash. It took a toll on me and my bank account because I had to buy all new clothes that I absolutely hated because it was not me. I had never been the type of guy to follow the trends and keep up with society. However, I was being forced into the mentality, and the comparison and it started to wear me down.
The reason I am sharing this story in this post is that she was comparing my style to other men’s styles on social media, or by her friends’ boyfriends and telling her all about what they were wearing. Her comparison mentality started to corrupt my mind, and I started to think like that as well. For years, because of what she said and did, I thought my style was awful, and I believed the lies of comparison that I had to change myself to make her happy.
Later on, after we broke up, I had to ask the Lord to help me forgive her and finally accept me for me, my style and all. Later on in life, my comparison with style started to fade away, and I went back to my simple and comfortable ways, not comparing my style anymore. The comparison mentality takes a toll on one’s life through many different ways and avenues. My one story I shared is only one example of how comparison warped my mind and made me miserable and without understanding.
This verse below really helped me understand how to deal with comparison and how to overcome it.
2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
The definition of discontent is “lack of satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation : lack of contentment.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary
There are several key conversation starters for men and one of the huge ones is, “What do you do for a living/career?” Or “How is work going?” I usually get asked this question once, if not multiple times a day. If I am meeting someone new, at a coffee shop, or even talking to old friends or family members, I hear this question floating through the air. This is a huge topic that is always on the tips of men’s tongues. Why is this? Either we are intentionally interested in hearing about what the other does for a living or we are looking to compare ourselves by coming off as “being intentional” or just flat out not.
Most of us will have our automatic response ready to toss at whoever is asking. We know that when we walk into a room of people, we will be asked that question. Then, after answering the question with an automatic statement, we usually follow the automatic response with the same exact question ready to listen and compare ourselves to whoever we are talking to. At first, it sometimes may come off as honest and genuine interest, but deep down, most of us want to “one up” the other with what we do for a living, career, or the title that we hold.
How can this example relate to discontent?
You may have the best career, highest pay, the best hours, or the best benefits and when someone you encounter has it better than you, it makes you think twice about what you have and what it would be like if we had their career.
We all want to provide the very best for our families, loved ones, and friends by bringing home the most bacon we can get for a day’s work. However, when we start to compare what we do for a living, we sometimes begin to feel the discontent coming over us. We get feelings of discouragement, competitiveness or uneasiness. It can discourage you to give up and throw in the towel in your career or work.
Also, it is okay to have healthy competition to work harder each and everyday to be able to get to where you want to be, not the person is you are comparing yourself to. Because that can still lead to uneasiness, that we are not providing enough to make ourselves and our families happy and content. This is only one example that came to the top of my mind of how comparing can lead to discontent.
We all struggle with discontent in our lives whether it is through our work or another area in your life. I have struggled and still do struggle with the topic. How do we win this constant battle of discontent?
- Count your blessings on a daily basis and thank God for the opportunities that you have
- Never take anyone or anything for granted.
- Being thankful for everything you have
These are all ways that will help to kick start you in the right direction for the ongoing battle of discontent through comparison.
Thank you for reading,