My Self-Destructive Addiction

“She’s just so talented,” I say to my friend beside me. And beautiful, a little voice inside my head echoes. Stunning, actually…and thin. I stare for a few seconds more, and then look away. I smile wide at the group, my voice loud and animated as I joke with my laughing friends.

It’s true. She’s a gifted musician, and very pretty. Godly, popular, and kind. She undoubtedly succeeds in the classroom, among friends and professors, and in the workplace. The perfect package, the sort of person I’ve admired and fiercely wished I could be for as long as I could remember, but couldn’t. I know that my hair is too wiry, my nose is too big, I’m far from thin, and my singing voice is quiet and flat, not the least bit melodious or powerful. I try to be nice, welcoming, loving, and friendly to everybody, but I know that my face will perhaps never radiate with the same gentle sweet disposition that naturally draws people to it.

In that moment, I mentally kick myself in anger. Yes. I just blatantly compared myself to her. And others. This wasn’t just a one-time deal, either. I do this almost every day, perhaps multiple times a day. I look at other people, and put them parallel to myself, my personality, talents, and physical appearance. Doing this has progressed so much that it’s not even a slight inclination anymore, it’s a literal, actual habit. Like a chain-smoker automatically reaches for a pack of Marlboro's, I default to the sickening addiction of comparing myself up with others on a daily basis. It’s become the way I live and function; an integral part of my inner dialogue and thought.

And so, like the smoker diseases their lungs, I’m diseasing my self-worth. I’m literally damaging myself on the inside.

Sometimes, especially at night while I’m lying in bed, I wonder if I will ever be “good” enough for myself… and for God. I know that God hasn’t called us all to be front and center, to be great leaders. I know that there is beauty in a humble calling. I know that the janitor and president are all equal and alike in the sight of the Almighty. I know this, and I believe it with every breath of my being. But there is always a small, creeping part of me that wonders why I was not better gifted, with exceptional beauty, or talent, or personality, or otherwise. Even with my writing, my greatest gift, I feel inadequate. I read blogs, poems, books, and essays, knowing full well that I may never reach the stature of what the author has created.

I know what I’m doing isn’t healthy. But, like the smoker, I continue the habit without fail, despite knowing the full well the effects of what I’m doing to myself. I compare myself and berate myself, drawing myself into a continuous, ceaseless cycle. There are even some days where I absolutely loathe myself. I make mistakes and I wonder if God has any greater purpose for me beyond the four walls of a cubicle. Even after going to Mexico on a mission trip last summer, and in currently preparing for a trip in June 2016 to Nicaragua, I wonder if I am doing the mission field and the Kingdom of God a disservice by attempting to serve people with my mediocre, meager abilities.

I am not telling you all this to put my own struggle on display. After my years of hurt, I am coming to realize that I am not alone. I know that many of you may struggle with this as well. We are all human, and in being so, we are inclined to comparison.

I’m telling you this because you need to know that it’s okay to acknowledge these feelings. It’s okay to wish that you had been called to be big, beautiful, or bright. It’s okay to wonder whether you have anything greater in store than a retail job or a bachelor’s degree in something you’re hardly passionate about. It’s okay to compare yourself to others….not healthy, for certain, but it’s okay. Rest, knowing that others do it, too. That others struggle with it, too.

I cannot conclude this blog post saying that I’ve been forever freed of comparing myself to others. To do so would be a lie. I can conclude this, however, telling you that God is working on this area of my life. I can tell you that it gets better, but only if you give up your thoughts and pain to the Father.


If you ever need prayer about this, or just would like to talk, know that I’m here. E-mail me, text me, message me, or flag me down for a chat. We are all members of a community, the Body of Christ, and a family, the Kingdom of Heaven, and families and communities exist to thrive in companionship with one another. We were made for each other, and for God. We were made not for comparison, but communion. 

1 comments:

  1. Thank you for being honest and transparent with this struggle. Yes, many of us fall into this cycle and some never break from it. As the years have passed, and I have become more at peace with with who God created me to be, I'm reminded that this thinking is insulting to my creator... The Creator of the universe! As if I know better.

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about me


Zoe. 22. Christian. Oregonian at present, Washingtonian at heart.
Always-wanderer, old book-collector, and coffee enthusiast.