‘One place it happens to me is in a shopping centre. When another woman around the same age as me passes by, I give them a quick up-and-down scan. It’s just a two-second appraisal. And as I look at them, I see that they’re doing the same thing with me– a quick sideways glance.’[1]Sophie De Witt, Compared to Her… (Good Book Company, 2013) p.10

It didn’t take me long to realise that Sophie de Witt’s book ‘Compared to Her’, would be a very relevant read. It had sat on my shelf for a year before I opened it; I had thought it would be light and fluffy and geared toward a teenage audience. But after reading just a few pages I realised why this book has been highly recommended to women of all ages.

‘Compared to Her’ is relevant because it deals with an issue that most people are probably familiar with; and one that most women probably struggle with. Sophie de Witt has labelled it ‘Compulsive Comparison Syndrome’ (CCS).

De Witt addresses what CCS is; fundamentally it is ‘measuring ourselves against others’ (p10). As a result of this we might experience symptoms of ‘looking up’ CCS, such as feelings of inadequacy, envy and guilt. Alternatively we might experience symptoms of ‘looking down’ CCS, such as feelings of pride, superiority and entitlement. Both of these varieties produce insecurity and all sorts of unwanted feelings. De Witt explains that we were made to experience significance, satisfaction and security in God, but because we sinfully put ourselves at the centre of our lives rather than Jesus, we end up searching for these things elsewhere. This means we are forced to compare ourselves to others to discern if we are achieving them the best we can. Thus, CCS is powerful enough to steal our joy, prevent us from loving others, and damage our relationship with God.

In a world where ‘I’ am at the centre instead of God, CCS will be a constant companion. It has to be.[2]p. 51

The treatment for CCS is to let God be God, with Christ at the centre. As we do that we find significance, satisfaction and security…[3]p. 65. Of course this is difficult, but de Witt demonstrates why it is both necessary and liberating; it is only in Jesus that we find true identity, and true contentment.

While Christians are going to make up the majority of her readership, de Witt has written ‘Compared to Her’ in a way that is accessible for those who don’t yet know Jesus; she doesn’t assume that all her readers have a Christian worldview. So it’s worth considering if this book could provide help and relief to a woman you know, or whether you should read it yourself. It is short, direct, and includes numerous stories, so is a good one to take on the train, or on a weekend away, or to discuss in a book club.

Compared to Her…: how to experience true contentment
Sophie De Witt
The Good Book Company
Find it at The Wandering Bookseller

References   [ + ]

1.Sophie De Witt, Compared to Her… (Good Book Company, 2013) p.10
2.p. 51
3.p. 65