comparison isn't really a bad thing

Just before Arrow figured out crawling, she made a brand new friend at church.

We were in Relief Society, which is where the women of the church come to sit together and discuss spiritual goodness (and I think for mamas to get a break from their distracting children who are sent to nursery.) Arrow, who was too young for nursery still, sat at my feet, pondering the strange wonders of her favorite stuffed animal. She was deeply lost in thought, staring at this toy. In fact, she was so entranced that she didn't realize that another baby had come over to visit.

The new friend poked Arrow in the back, but that didn't get her attention. Finally I picked my baby up and turned her around. Oh what joy she had at the sight of a new friend! She bounced and giggled and touched the baby's face. The new friend returned the touching-face-favor and then crawled away back to her mother. I was impressed by the other baby's crawl. Clearly she was a couple months older than Arrow, but man she was a fast crawler! Such precision in her small hand and leg coordination!

Arrow wasn't quite finished with their playtime, so she attempted to follow after her in classic duck-dive crawl fashion. It worked, but it was slow going, and took a lot of effort on her part.

I looked at Arrow. Then I looked at the other baby. This was the first time I'd ever seen Arrow "compared" to another person of her age.

We are told that comparison is the thief of all joy. To take that a little further, I think the excessive use of comparison is the theif of all joy. 

Comparison, when used right, isn't a bad thing. Or a good thing. It's just a... thing. Neutral like an electron or Switzerland in World War II. 

Example of bad use:   Lately Taylor and I have moaning on about how we still don't have a toaster, of all things. But Taylor's newly married brother has multiple toasters. And we are totally jealous of their plethora of toasters. They probably eat toast all day long, and we are envious to not be eating it with them. (Okay, in reality, we're not crazy jealous about it. But we have talked about it enough that it could become a bad habit of envying differences in our household compared to others'). 

Example of good use: I used comparison when I was dating. Not in a shallow way of who had the best car (Even if I had tried, it would have been pointless since I was always the driver on dates). I did compare to how different men treated me, and what their priorities were in the future. 

Well, this guy is pretty cute, but I feel like that I always have to dress my best around him. I feel pressured to dress pretty. And I sort of want to be a frump somedays.

This guy is pretty cool, attractive, and loves kids but I don't feel like I'm a priority to him. I like that he's got his own agenda, but he doesn't seem to care to include me in it regularly.

This guy is cute but he does his hair weird on purpose. He makes me feel respected and important. I can tell that his family is his world. Also he gives me free wifi and dinner when I come over. I guess I'll marry him.

Since the last one came with cooking-skills and internet, any single lady living in the 21st century just couldn't say no when he proposed. He was also very nice, good-looking, and really good with kids.

Back to comparison: I think it's similar to this phrase: "Money is the root of all evil." But... it's not. Money can be used for really good things, like funding the disaster relief in Nepal. Money can be used for really bad things. Money is just neutral.

The love of money is the root of all evil.
Jealous or depressed comparison is the thief of all joy.

Does that make sense?

The place where Arrow is going to learn how to be good at comparing is from her parents. Hopefully we'll do a good job at teaching her how to use it well.


  1. Great, thoughtful post! Sometimes comparison can just be noticing similarities and differences. And sometimes it can motivate us to do better, or maybe to even realize that we can do things differently than we're currently doing. I'm going to have to think about this some more...

  2. I really loved this post. I wanted to say something cheesy or funny but... I couldnt come up with anything, Thanks, Chaun!


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