Love Without Comparison
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Recently I've begun to recognize a certain attitude in people who are in romantic relationships. It's not a new trend, and it's certainly something I've been guilty of. It's a way of talking about one's significant other in a way that is intended to lift that person up by shooting other people down:
"Some husbands take their wives out to a boring dinner for Valentine's day... but MINE took me to a rooftop picnic!"
"Did YOUR fiance propose to you at the grand canyon?? Because mine did!"
"Boyfriend got me a new watch for my birthday. Be jealous."
I totally understand the desire to affirm your significant other publicly (the attention-hungry side of me secretly loves when Tyler says something sweet about me on Facebook) And I think it's okay to declare your love or appreciation for someone on a public platform, especially in a culture that tends to focus heavily on the negative side of marriage and committed relationships. But there is a line that is crossed when affirmation turns to bragging and I think that line is comparison. We aren't satisfied just saying that our boyfriends are sweet; they have to be sweeter than everyone else's. We can't just say our girlfriends are beautiful; they have to be the most beautiful. The problem isn't public appreciation of another person; the problem comes when that appreciation turns into a competition and in turn belittles everyone else.
The internet is already a breeding ground of comparison. Everyone is putting forth their highlight reels in hopes that their lives will come across as better than their peers'. We are all trying desperately to convince the rest of the world that we are doing well and thriving and it seems we are unable to do that unless we convince others (and perhaps ourselves as well) that our lives our better than theirs.
In reality, I think this tactic has the opposite effect. The more focused we are on convincing other people that our lives are awesome the less focused we are on actually living our awesome lives. The more we try to "outdo" others the more jealous we will become when they "outdo" us. And the more we try to use our significant others as bragging tools to fuel our own egos the less we appreciate the real flesh and blood people that have been put in our lives.
So this Friday when much of the world is publicly declaring their love let's make a commitment to do so without competition. Let's celebrate the love we've been given, be it romantic or platonic, without putting others down. Let's stop the comparing.