The Comparison Trap

Your neighbor is driving the car of your dreams. Your friends are always conveniently sharing the latest restaurants they have dined in. Your coworker is yet again taking a week vacation to visit the next island on her bucket list. Wow! These pictures of these beautiful people on social media looking so fabulous and ecstatic in their relationships can leave you dissatisfied with your own reality.

You do not care for facts, that has been proven with countless research, but you have to realize that the perceived social media reality: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler, you name it…social media… is conveying distinctly one’s hallucinations about who she wants to portray to her circle of influence and the world. There is no way you can account for the truth in these portrayals. Nor should you care.

Why You Compare

What is it with you…feeling better about yourself and your situation only when you can find those who are doing worse than you. Take this, real estate professionals suggest that people seek an expensive community and buy the smallest house there because it will appreciate tremendously faster than the biggest house on the block. But, that does not make people feel good, so, they buy the biggest house in a less expensive and downward neighborhood because it makes them feel good and happy.

You like to compare down because you want to feel as if you are doing something right. When you compare up with someone who you think is doing better than you or looking at a more upscale community than your own, you tend to feel unhappy and dissatisfied. You might believe that these people who seem better than you are keeping a secret from you. How come they have more money than you. Why do they wear better clothes? How can they afford this or that? You work harder than they do.

Unrealized Goals

You compare yourself with others because what they remind you of the unrealized goals in your life. You had a plan three years ago to upgrade from renting an apartment to buying a house. Life happens, so you are still renting while all your friends seem to be buying beautiful houses right before your eyes. So, you may think that the universe is on their sides and not yours. Perhaps, they have better jobs and more money than you. You let these things get you down not understanding that your are projecting…you are overestimating what people may have and underestimating what you can do to realize your goals.

Flawed Perception

Another reason why comparing yourself with others is not positively productive is because you have a flawed perception. You assume too much. You assume that your neighbor can afford your dream car because he has more more money than you. He may be eating can beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to be able to afford the payments for that car. Maybe his car is the only thing in his life that makes him feel significant for the moment. So, keep in mind that all of these things you assume about the person who might be doing better than you is a concoction of your imagination to justify why you are not in a better situation or have more expensive things. Know this, your assumption is not the truth.

Lack of Gratitude

Dissatisfaction in life can be a good thing; it can help you get motivated to take action towards changing your life. It is an energy that can be utilized to create the life you want. It becomes negative energy when it is derived from comparing yourself with others. You have more than you can ever use in this life. Why don’t you count your blessings when you feel like taking a turn at comparison road. Say out loud what you are thankful for. Write a list of things that makes you smile. Keep a gratitude journal and record the things that keep you ground, happy, and joyful. These activities will help you focus on your blessedness not other people’s things.

Finally, research has shown acquiring things only keeps you happy for a moment, because once you achieve a goal, it no longer seems important. The next goal is just around the corner. That is why you should spend more time investing in your growth and development rather than on comparing yourself to others.

Building or Destroying: What’s In It For Me?

BefPower of Words 2ore you let a single word come out of your mouth, you better be real careful; you may not know what you’re getting yourself into.

You see, words are seeds. Words are powerful. They have the tendency to multiply and reproduce according to their likeness.

You have the choice to plant them in grounds that will…

  • BUILD

             OR

  • DESTROY

Power of Words 1

You understand that your tongue, the instrument that facilitate the speaking of words has the power of life and death.

If you’ve ever wanted to be a superhero, this is the ultimate opportunity. It is also the ultimate opportunity to become the greatest villain.

Read this carefully. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” In other words, you reap what you sow.

If you sow words of love, you will get love in return.

If you sow words of hatred, you will harvest hate.

If you inspire, you too will be inspired.

If you belittle and humiliate, what do you think you will get back?

So, what’s in it for you?

The quality of your life. What do you want to get more of?

 

7 Simple Keys to Help You Enjoy Work Every Day Part I

Enjoy Work 1

Work is a place the majority of us spend most of our waking hours either loving every minute of it or killing ourselves slowly. It is a place that provides many opportunities to build character, to learn new skills, and to discover the phenomenon of working with others. Above all, that seems to be the hardest part of working.

I don’t know about you but I would rather love every minute of my work than to allow it to ever placidly suck the life out of me. You can begin to incorporate a few simple steps in your daily habits to help you make the most out of work. Here are seven simple keys that can help transform your working life from a boring and insignificant one to an enjoyable and important one.

1. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Colossians 3:23

Being in the present is a great thing, that includes being enthusiastic about the work you are doing right now. So, WHATEVER you do –making a presentation, taking out the garbage, answering phones, writing the needed reports –put your entire heart (100% +) into it.

Every job is a preparation for the next job. It is an opportunity to develop you in ways you may not be aware of. Luke 16:10-12 states, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own.”

Enjoy Work 3

It is helpful to keep in mind that is a test of not only your skills but your attitude as well. Your attitude towards life and your work in particular determines your level of enjoyment. A negative attitude that encourages continuous griping and complaining does not facilitate the creation of joyful moments.

Proverbs 12:24 provides that the “diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” One of the ways to facilitate enjoyment in our work is to determine to add value to the organization, its people, and its daily mission. When you feel that you are making a difference, it does something inside you–it makes you feel needed and significant.

You are needed. You are important. You are significant. That is why your work cannot be haphazardly put together. That is why your work cannot remain undone.

So, let’s show some enthusiasm.

Word of the Day

I sought the Lord

and required Him,

and He heard me,

and delivered me

from all my fears.

Psalm 34:4

POWER…

Power is the faculty or

capacity to act, the

strength and potency

to accomplish

something.

It is the vital

energy to make

choices and decisions.

It also includes

the capacity to

overcome deeply

embedded habits

and to cultivate

higher, more

effective ones.”

—Stephen R. Covey

Waiting Can Be Productive

Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 40:31

I love to read verses like this one. No need for special tools to extrapolate the benefits of waiting. I don’t know about you, but when I read this verse I feel like I can become a super human just by deciding to wait on the Lord and not take matters into my own hands – especially when directed not to.

There are so many things we can learn in this verse that can be very beneficial to us. When we wait on the Lord…

We gain new strength

This is a promise we can hold on to. We may have come to him feeling weak and exhausted from the everyday trials of this life, but he promises that while we wait, he will replace our weakness with strength. Therefore, we will be prepared to respond to whatever he allows for us to experience.

We see the big picture

The verse says that we “will mount up with wings like eagles.” Sometimes it is hard to see and understand what is going on when faced with different circumstances. We may be too close to see clearly. So, God promises we will soar like the eagles when we wait on him, allowing us to gain a fresh perspective on what we currently face.

We get loaded up with energy

How would you like to run and never get tired? Well, when you wait on the Lord, you get loaded up with energy to combat any negative forces that may be in our future. At times, positive experiences may be overwhelming too. Believe that he has given you the strength and energy to handle them properly.

We stay the course

It says “we will run and not become weary.” The Lord reassures our every step letting us know that he is always with us and will give us all necessary ingredients to stay the course and renew our determination to persevere and not to give up.

All this happens while we wait. So waiting is not a waste. It can be a very productive period in our lives. It is a time used by God to give us new strength, a clear perspective, more energy, and the determination to stay the course and not to give up. Let us wait on the Lord, so he can fulfill these promises in our lives.

Fear Is a Bully

Do not allow fear to deter you from taking daily action towards becoming all that God intended you to be. Fear is a bully that stands ready to rob you of your inheritance. I challenge you to face that bully today and put it in the right place –behind you.

Pray Daily

As we immerse ourselves in Scripture, we learn how much we need God as human beings. We learn about the most awesome and powerful God and amazingly we have access to speak to him whenever we want to. We can talk to him about anything.

According to Ephesians 6:18, “we are to pray at times.” Our God is available to hear us and supply all our needs in every season of life. He is not like the friend who disappears in bad times or the family members who turn their backs on you when you needed them most. No, God is here for you in the good, bad, scary, frustrating, and the most disastrous times of your life. He is always there!

Therefore, daily prayer is your lifeline—your constant connection to the one who has our very best interest at heart. First Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to pray without ceasing. That is how we have fellowship with our God. We can pray to him anytime and anywhere. The prayers can be long or short. You can pray silently or aloud. God does not put as many restrictions on us as we put on ourselves, so let’s go and enjoy your God through prayer on a daily basis.

 

Awareness … Part 3

When we meet people, we should never attempt to impose our thoughts into their minds. We cannot know with any certainty what another person is thinking. By imposing our past-focused worldview upon another we do not contribute to a better understanding of life. If anything, we deprive ourselves of any possibility of learning from another person’s experience. We see what we want to see and nothing else.

What happens when you accidentally touch a pan of boiling water? Or when you are walking along the street and out the corner of your eye you catch sight of an object rapidly moving towards you? The majority of people would automatically recoil and try to move away from the danger. Our brains are designed to react quickly against perceived threats. We do not need time to think in either of the described situations. Instead, our brains react to keep our bodies safe. This is an unconscious reaction. An act of self-preservation.

These unconscious reactions serve us well and keep us safe. If we had to process every single piece of information we receive on a daily basis, we would be unable to function. We would become paralyzed and nothing would ever be done. However, sometimes our brains do not act in our best interests. As humans, we operate at a higher cognitive level than other species that can only react to external stimulus. We must exercise good judgment. We must seek the Spirit of God when it comes to becoming aware of our own reality.

 

Awareness … Part 2

How can I make sense of all this?

How can I make sense of all this?

When we become aware of the big impact that the past has on our present, we can fully engage in the present instead of subjecting ourselves to what I call the “invasion.” It is an invasion because it is truly a battle that takes place within our mind; it is warfare and we are poorly equipped to fight it if we do not know the Word of God. When we continuously view things and circumstances from a past-time perspective, we remain stuck in that time frame; our choices and decisions are strongly compromised.

We try to walk on and live our lives, but the past will never stop its intrusion. Maybe we catch a glance from an old acquaintance we randomly encounter in the street; suddenly the past has come back into our lives. We imagine they are looking at us in a criticizing manner and  judging us. Even if we have not seen this person for many years, the inner voice in our head says:  “Oh, look. I bet he/she is talking about me, I bet he/she is thinking about all those past years.

So we start to avoid certain places or groups of people. We want to leave the past behind us, but how is this possible if it continues to rear its head whenever we leave home? Wherever we go, we are continually reminded of these past transgressions or of a period of time in our lives during which we lived a careless life.

If we attempt to turn the corner and walk towards the Lord, then someone will pop up to remind us of some past activity that is not in accordance with our new life and self-image. They may mock us for seeking to shift the blame for our internal flaws onto an external  factor. They may remind us of those times when we mocked the religious for being unthinking sheep who  were unable to take responsibility for their own problems and instead needed to rely  on a mystical world view that had more place in a world of cave dwellers than in a modern society.

Dwelling on the past can become a habit in itself. No matter how painful it is to relive the memories we  frequently seek solace in those times. However, the lens of time has a tendency to distort past events. When we let our memories play on loop in our heads, we may neglect certain details; we can be prone to attribute significance to things which in reality were unrelated.

If we are in a negative place this will tinged our memories. Instead of viewing them objectively and for what they really are, we instead start to blame ourselves. Continually asking the questions: “Did I do something wrong?” “Could I have acted in a way that would have resulted in a different outcome?” It is easy to go through these questions within our mind to live out alternate courses of events. This could even be a useful exercise.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to answer these questions with certainty.  Asking them eventually becomes a self-defeating exercise. We must live in the present and we cannot change what happened in the past. We must though, work on our present so as to walk towards our future, so as to be able to build ourselves a future, instead of remaining tied to our pasts. Whatever did happen took place for a reason, and we must have the good grace to accept this.