comparison vs. compassion

David received an award last night in front of his entire 8th grade class. While we waited in the audience for his name to be called, he wiggled and squirmed. He didn’t want to sit with me. Instead he kept trying to get up and walk away or drop to the ground. I could feel eyes on me but I tried to focus on David, his needs and helping him get ready for his moment.

To keep the ceremony from going long, the principal encouraged us to clap once, loudly and in unison, for each name called. So in recognition of each student the crowd gave a loud, singular CLAP that echoed through the auditorium. Then we listened as the student was praised for their achievement, citizenship or perfect attendance.

When David’s name was called we got up and walked toward the stage. The clapping didn’t stop at one clap, instead the applause kept going. My tiny David walked confidently on stage and stood next to his peers who were twice his size.

I could feel my heart beating in my chest.

Compared to his peers he is so small and has so many needs. He can’t speak with words. But, I reminded myself, David speaks volumes with his smile, his heart and his soul.

Compared to his peers he’s way behind. He’s still diapered and spoon fed. But every day David is learning new things things. He is growing and changing.

Compared to his peers he hasn’t accomplished much. But compared to what the doctors predicted at his birth he has moved mountains. He’s a miracle.

chloe and david{David and Chloe, his friend and 8th grade peer}

I do it all the time.
Am I thin enough?
Am I helping my boys reach their full potential?
Is my house clean enough?
Are the meals we eat healthy enough?
I am I generous enough?
Am I stylish enough?

I look around me and compare myself to other moms, other women, other families. I compare my kids to your kids. I compare my house to your house. I compare my good deeds to your good deeds. Sometimes comparison makes me feel good, sometimes it makes me feel like a failure. Comparison comes so naturally it feels like a second skin. But what’s underneath?

Underneath is the nagging question–do I belong?
Am I lovable?
Am I enough?
I feel less than so I try to find a way to prove that I’m enough.
The sad part is, it never works. I’ll never win by comparing myself to others.
If I’m better than you, you lose.
If you’re better than me, I lose.
And all I really want is to connect with you.
All I want is to belong.

All you want is to belong.

What if instead of comparing I focused on compassion?
Compassion for myself. I’m doing the best I can. I am simply me, nothing more, nothing less. It’s enough–in fact, it’s beautiful.

Compassion for you. You are an amazing, unique person. You’re doing the best you can with yourself, your kids, your job. And you know what? You’re doing it wonderfully.

Each of us is remarkable and imperfect.
We are so different in our passions and style we can’t be compared.
We are so similar in our heart of hearts no comparison is necessary.
Comparison is the wall that separates us.

Compassion is the bond that brings us together.

Today when I catch myself comparing, I’ll replace those thoughts with compassion. I am enough and you are enough. Together we are stronger, we shine brighter and we love better.

comparison vs. compassion


  1. Your words about your son are so moving. I have commented before on your posts. I have a brother with severe CP. Dr’s said he would not live a long life- he just turned 44! He has taught me more than anyone I know yet he barely speaks. I am sure Your son has accomplished more than you even know. Blessings-

  2. I could have written this myself and SO needed to hear this today. I’m having this moment in my life. The struggles of being good enough. It’s exhausting. The beauty in your work and words speaks volumes about you. Thank you for lifting the rest of us up. You’re such a blessing.

  3. My granddaughter graduated from high school last year, having never attended public school a day in her life. She was on roll, and received care at home. She, too, cannot speak with words, tube- fed and diapered all her life. We were told she would live to be two years. She is a fighter, and so we have to be also. Pure love, a gift to all her family. We all share in her care, in one way or another. Her mom is a very successful college coach, and her dad travels and works on hospital lab equipment. We are needed. It can be hard. We get the stares. But love and prayers keep you going. I have read and enjoyed reading about your family. Please keep writing, Lisa. Keep going, David!

  4. I too am going to try to practice compassion. I compare, but I am most hardest on myself. I would never be so hard on those that I love, so I shouldn’t be on myself either. What a beautiful post!
    And congratulations to David. He has a momma that loves him so much that I can feel it through the Internet <3

  5. Thank you Lisa. Your post made me tear up. I too have an 8th grader, a girl. Without voiding her privacy, she is struggling in an area in her life and I have begun to compare me and my Mom skills to others and wonder if maybe I went wrong somewhere. she is a bright student, well liked in her circle of friends but yet I have beat myself up from here to Sunday about the issue. I am going to try to be easier on myself and let it be what it will be. I thank you for your kind words and wish you and your family all the best!

  6. This memory is beautiful!!! My son has significant needs too and I remember his 8th grade graduation and it was a very emotional day for me also! It’s nice to know other parents share my thoughts! As with your David, my Sky’s smile can light up a room, no words needed 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Lisa this is one of the most beautiful, honest, and well written words I have ever read. You are so special to so many people. God reaches out to people through you and you share your love and passion for God and life with us. I am inspired by you as are so many others. You are perfect as you are. After all, God made you.

  8. I’m so glad the students at David’s school showed their love for him by clapping for his award. David can teach us all a little something about finding joy in our lives. Gooo David!

  9. Completely heartfelt, I’m reading with tears in my eyes. Clearly you are enough of everything…your love, your parenting, your pride for your sweet sons, and the list goes on and on. You are a beautiful soul and your family is amazing, I’ve been following your blog forever and have had the joy of seeing your sons grow up. Continue to be proud and know that you are the perfect amount of “enough”. God bless you and your sweet family.

  10. Absolutely beautiful. Tears rolled down my face as I read your post….it really hit home. Your son’s smile is infectious. May God bless your family!!

  11. Lisa, thank you for sharing your story, your heart, your struggles, your victories and your incredible love for your family. You are inspiring and your boys are couragous! Your light shines so bright!

  12. I am just So proud of David! He has overcome so much and his smile is infectious. He looks so grown up in these pictures. You
    are an amazing mom Lisa! I just love that David of yours:)

  13. You are a wonderful lady with a heart of gold. May God bless you and your family
    in every way. I love to read your blog because you always lift each of us up everyday!

  14. Thank you for this insight! I also have an 8th grader, daughter. We have MANY talks about mean things kids say to each other and constantly reminding her that she is PERFECT just the way she is. It is a very hard age, and then your post reminded me that we all compare ourselves and judge others, even as adults! Such an important reminder. Thanks again!!!!

  15. I love his smile, I cannot begin to tell you how much I love David’s story and watching your journey and his..your family as a whole. What an amazing day it must have been and wow ..just wow on his accomplishments. Tears of Joy looking at his pictures he is just so precious Lisa.

  16. Every time you write something I am in awe. You are amazing, you are honest, and you are right! I live across the country and found you by your gorgeous jewelry but also now find peace in your words. You say things perfectly and bring me back down to planet earth, on days when I admit my head might get too big, and I fall prey to the crazy part of life. Thank you for letting me hear about your world, your honesty is amazing and I look up to you for everything you and your gorgeous
    family do. I have to say I have tears in my eyes every time I read something you write for so many reasons. Thank you!!!!

  17. Oh, Lisa, this is just beautiful. I’ve got tears in my eyes and I’m nodding along yes. To all of it. Thank you for this real-life, straight-from-the-heart encouragement. xoxo

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