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.

10 comments

  1. You're definitely right! I've heard this a lot too, and it's always annoying. You should be happy you have someone that wants to make you happy and happy that others have it to. Not comparing it, at least not in public or to someone's face, that's never necessary.

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  2. Amen, sister! My small group actually went through a video series called The Comparison Trap. Have you seen it? I learned so much from it.

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    1. I hadn't heard of it but as soon as I saw your comment I went and looked it up. It looks awesome! I think I'll suggest going through this with my small group as well. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

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  3. this is well put. i definitely put only the highly edited pieces of my life on the internet. (i think we all do to an extent.) i think it's important to keep your motivations in check when doing this because while we can't control how other will react to our vacation recap photos (or whatever it may be), we can be more aware of how we portray ourselves online. thanks!

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    1. "i think it's important to keep your motivations in check..."<-- That's such a good point. Have you read this article? http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/tech/5-questions-ask-posting-social-media I confess that so often my motivation is one of those five things... :/

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  4. You are very wise to recognize this! I didn't think I'd really noticed this before, but when you were citing examples, they all sounded very familiar! It is sad when we can't praise something without turning it into a diss on something else. I can take joy in the way my husband loves me, and there shouldn't be any comparison, because I'm different, and he's different from anyone else in the world.

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    1. Thank you Rachel! And as I said, it's something I've totally been guilty of. It can be so easy to say something with good intentions without stopping to really think about the implications of what we are communicating.

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  5. You are so spot on here. When I see people overly flaunting something, it sends a red flag. It's silly to compare yourself to others anyway, so why encourage it. Oh well, I hope they all find true happiness! Happy Valentine's Day! :)

    xo Megan, Lush to Blush

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    1. Agreed- the comparison trap is an easy one to fall into but it always leads to bad things. Thanks for stopping by!

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