Galatians 6:4 - Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.
Compare. It’s troubled waters you will sail into when you begin the game of comparisons.
Those who suffer from emotional pain can often find themselves playing the comparison game.
“Why am I so weak, while they appear so strong?”
“How can they even look at me without thinking of me as less of a person when they have it all together?”
“Why can’t I seem to get a hold of my emotions like they do?”
And on it goes. Each time we turn around we find a reason to label ourselves as one who can’t handle stressful situations. Even small stresses can throw us off course. So how do we win at this game anyway? There’s a simple solution, though it’s not an easy one – stop playing.
To help, it might be good to remember that everyone whether they battle emotional pain or not, plays the game too. At some point in our lives we’ve all failed at something and that something then can push us into years of the comparison game. Yes, it’s not just about our game piece on the board. It’s their piece too.
So how do we stop the game?
Find some ideas from tinybuddah.com in their article, "5 Tips to Stop Making Comparisons and Feeling Bad About Yourself," and the article, "A Helpful Guide to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others," on becomingminimalist.com, such as life isn't a fair game and compare you to yourself instead of others.
As the Bible verse above says, remember that we’re to test our own actions, and be proud of our accomplishments without playing the comparison game.
Exodus 4:15 - You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.
For those suffering with emotional pain, conversations with others can be difficult. You may wonder how you will explain yourself. How will you find the right words instead of messing the conversation up, especially with your family?
And so, many times you choose to say nothing.
Let’s take a look at a situation. You know there’s going to be an event coming up; one in which many of your family will be present. From the moment you find out about the event you begin to worry. Will you be able to handle being bombarded with questions? Can you act like you can hold your own in a conversation or will you blow it?
If you’re not suffering from emotional pain, it can be difficult to understand the enormous stress that’s placed upon the one in pain. They want to please others, but it’s like someone else takes over their thoughts and all the sufferer can think of is how yet another event will go down as a complete failure.
Here are some tips from wikiHow.com in their article, “How to Have a Great Conversation,” and those that I’ve used in the past when speaking with others such as how to start the conversation and then hold it.
And remember: you’re not alone in this. There are plenty of people who’ve been afraid to start a conversation.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. Moses had been called by God to be his spokesperson to go to Pharaoh and ask that he let the Israelites go. This was an enormous job and Moses got scared. He thought that when he was ushered in to see Pharaoh that he would mess up the conversation. It is thought that Moses may have had a stutter or some other form of speech impediment. So he asked God to pick someone else. God came up with the plan to have Moses’ brother, Aaron, speak for him. God was going to tell Moses what to say and Moses would tell his brother. God would give them the words they needed.
You may not be called to go to the leader of Egypt, but God will always be gracious to you and help you find the words to say.
Isaiah 42:7 - To open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
On an island, far away on a distant shore, stands a castle. It’s stones are weathered and due to the elements some of the walls around the castle have broken down. But as one takes a closer look they will see this castle is not a castle at all, but a prison with bars on the windows and gates locked in place.
Inside one of the inner rooms, a woman sits in the corner of her cell wishing that someone would rescue her from the dungeon. But no one knows she’s there. So she sits in the darkness.
One would think that she would cry out for help, but no sound escapes her lips. She stopped crying out for help long ago, because after years of pleading for help she’s given up on being set free.
Mental illness is this island. Depression fills the inner dungeon. Fear of rejection are the bars on the windows. While anxiety holds its hand over the one who’s trapped mouth preventing its prisoner from crying out.
When battling emotional pain sometimes we are the ones who placed us inside that prison.
We tire of people expecting a smile on our faces all of the time and laughter escaping our lips. They don’t know how hard it is to try to look like we have a “normal” life. Keeping our disease to ourselves helps no one.
But what are we to do? How can we find help when no one seems to want to listen to us?
The first step is to know the warning signs of mental illness. Mentalhealthamerica.net has an article entitled, “Finding Help: When to Get It and Where to Go,” that discusses the signs such as confused thinking and excessive fears.
The two most common ways to treat mental health issues are with prescription medication and some form of psychotherapy. So the next step is to seek out help from a physician or local mental health agency. Psychiatry.org makes some suggestions in their article, “Warning Signs of Mental Illness.”
In some severe cases a residential impatient mental health center may be needed.
Support groups can often be helpful in realizing that you’re not alone in this and to provide a place where you can talk openly about your issues with others.
Dealing with mental health issues is difficult, but with the right support you can realize that though you may be in a prison, the cell door has been unlocked all along. All you have to do is open the door, and you’ll find the help you need from the One who will always love you and can set your captive heart free.
Deuteronomy 20:3 - He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.”
For those who live with pain every day there’s a battle to wage.
Our enemy doesn’t want us to stand our ground and face them, but to retreat in shame and anger:
So who are the enemies I’m speaking of? They’re not who you think they are.
But other people aren’t our enemies. We are.
It starts in the morning when we have to decide to get up and greet the day, instead of staying in bed. Inside our enemies tell us to not bother; to not even try.
Yet, this battle is here whether we want it or not. You’re going to have to choose. So, what do we do?
Sometimes we sabotage ourselves and just let the battle go on without us. In so doing, we bring about our destruction. Find some of the ways we sabotage our efforts to relieve chronic pain in our back from acibadem.com in their article, “7 Enemies of Your Spine.”
Stand your ground against chronic pain and be mindful of what you do with your body. As the Bible verse above states don’t be fainthearted or afraid or let yourself be filled with fear and panic. Only you can sabotage yourself or win the battle by trusting God for the strength to fight.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.