Lately, I have noticed how I would often see myself as a bit better than other people who might not be as smart as I am, do things differently or don’t see the things the way I see them. Some people may compare themselves to other people and develop inferiority complexes – where they feel less worthy than those around them. But I have noticed in myself that when I compare myself to others, I often end up with a superiority complex – thinking I am better than those around me.
Competing with others “who have everything”
I have noticed this even with the small things in life. For example, I do not keep up with fashion. Even though I like having new clothes, it is not that important for me and so I usually just end up wearing clothes that might have been in fashion a few years ago. But there are others who often have new things, they have a bigger house or a better car.
Looking at people who have more than I do, can make me feel inferior or sorry for myself. Trying to keep up with them can cause me to stress and worry and have demands, as well as being unhappy at not being able to compete with these mothers who ”have everything”.
But I have also felt the other side of it, which is feeling superior, feeling a bit better than them. Some of the thoughts that came up are, “How in the world does she have time for that,” or “I’m not as vain, because I don’t care if I wear the same thing over and over to church,” or “What are they trying to prove by posting that on Instagram?” The list goes on and on.
The result of jealousy
To criticise others, even if it is only in my thoughts, is the same as thinking I am better than the others. Even though I only realise it afterwards, these thoughts are often because I am jealous. And it is important to see that and admit that to myself. I have experienced that these thoughts of jealousy are very much like an infectious disease, creating unrest in my life which also spreads to the lives of those I am closest to.
It is written in James 3:16 (NCV), “Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.” Jealousy causes me to compare what I have with someone else and secretly wish that I had what they had, or even wish that I had something better than them so that they would be jealous of me.
As crazy as it is, feeling that I don’t have what someone else has can even cause me to look down on that person. I can think, “Why would they spend money on that?” when actually, if I had the money, I would have loved to buy that same thing. As it is written in God’s Word, jealousy creates confusion (restlessness), and it is tied to every evil thing.
Keeping my heart pure
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV).
The things I allow into my heart and mind can either create peace and warmth, or a lot of restless, unhappy thoughts and worry. By doing God’s Word, and knowingly choosing to disagree with these negative thoughts, I can keep my heart pure. Then I am no longer influenced and ruled by the opinions, thoughts, and feelings that come up in me, and I can see others in a good and blessed light.
“Don't do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (CEB).
If I do just as this verse says, it will save me from having a high opinion of myself and looking down on others. Instead of always looking at the outside, what others have and do, and judging according to those things, I can have a heart that is warm and open. I can learn to bless others and make it as good as possible for them.