Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't Compare or The Kettle

A lady came to my house and saw my kettle. To the naked eye it looks like a regular ordinary kettle, nothing spectacular, but to the lady who was doing the looking she thought it was better than hers and wanted one just like it. I was  perplexed. How did she get there? Were we looking at the same thing?

What she did with the kettle we too often do with each other. We only see the outside, and use that as the basis for our perceptions which then feeds our inadequacies, most of the time. Sometimes it has the opposite effect.

The reality is that kettle was quite tarnished on the inside; as the water boiled metal chips would get in to the water and sometimes in to a cup of tea. It was on its last leg just before being tossed (but I was holding on, because I'm cheap). Because of the polished exterior, she wanted what I had.

Don't we do that all the time? We take a snapshot of someones' life at an instant in time and say that's what we want. We don't see the metal chipping - the sickness, sadness, disagreements, worry, fear, failure - we only see what we want to see because it's in a pretty package. The mind is dangerous because at this point we then say, "Why can't I have what they have? Why isn't my marriage as happy as theirs? Why aren't my children as successful as hers? How come she got the good job and I didn't?"

The opposite effect can happen also, though this did not happen with the kettle. It's not far fetched to think that someone could say, "I'm so glad I don't have that kettle, mine is so much better." Replace kettle with position (for example) and you would be like the Pharisee mentioned in this parable.

There is a danger in comparing; instead accept who you are, accept your circumstances and work from there. When we accept we let go of the burden of comparison.

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. Galatians 6:4

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11

Do you find yourself inadvertently comparing yourself to others? Do you think it's more prevalent in the age of social media? How do you prevent yourself from becoming envious or bigheaded? Have you figured out how to be content?

1 comment:

  1. What a great analogy!

    I think knowing that nothing is as it appears has helped me in that regard. It's so easy to compare, nature of the man. But I think remembering and knowing that helps a lot.


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