She’s happily married with a higher education than myself. She’s started her own thriving business, alongside pursuing her vocational career. She’s healthy, happy, and her life is perfectly falling into beautiful place. Comparison says…
I am so behind.
She is doing better than me; she is better than me.
I am a failure in pretty much everything.
This hole can get really deep and ghostly quickly.
Have you ever been down it? It doesn’t end in passionate motivation but in the desolate demotion of yourself and your life.
Jealousy doesn’t end in passionate motivation but in the desolate demotion of yourself and your life.
The Dangers of Comparison
Comparison can kill–our hope, motivation, enthusiasm, and desire to move forward and pursue our dreams. I know because I find myself caught up in comparison more than I would like. I see people who are far ahead of me in every aspect of their life: education and career, pursuing their passions; relationships and marriage, having a wonderful family life; finances and overall enjoyment, traveling the world and having a grand ole time doing it.
And though I see most of these things happening through Instagram, social media isn’t the one to blame. Instagram is simply a platform that allows people to share information. We are the ones who get to decide how to use that information in our own lives.
Instagram is simply a platform that allows people to share information. We are the ones who get to decide how to use that information in our own lives.
Are we going to use it to compare our own information to that which has been posted by others? Or are we going to use it to challenge ourselves, push ourselves, and encourage ourselves? Will it help us change our lives and pursue our desires? Might we become the person we want to be, living the life we want to live?
Doing the latter is much easier said than done. Because of this, I want to give you a tip, a reminder, and a challenge to help you choose encouragement over comparison when you look at other people’s lives and feel oh so behind.
When You Feel Comparison Creeping Up
Tip: Social Media is Selective
We all have heard it a million times, but for some reason, when we are going through their feed, we forget it. So much more is happening in their life than what they are posting. They could be going through even more awesome times than what they share. Or, they could be going through harder, sadder, more trying, challenging, ugly times than what they show on their feed. You cannot base someone’s entire life off the pictures, videos, and captions they put on Instagram. To think you do would be foolish. We don’t see the whole picture or the entire story.
Here’s the tip: if you’re so curious about their life and how they got to be where they are, doing what they’re doing, ask about it. It’s the only way you will truly know the ins-and-outs of someone’s life. You may learn something new or take back valuable advice or useful information. Or, you may realize they too have many areas of struggle and find a new way you can pray for them. Or both.
Reminder: God’s Timing is Perfect and Right
Even if you don’t like it or agree. So be patient, and learn to embrace and find gratefulness in your current season, for all the things you have that God has given you today. Be faithful, and walk in God’s will for your life, intentionally everyday. Remember that He is the one who matters above any type of earthly happiness, success, or experience. And be steadfast in your identity as a child of the one true King, the everlasting God, our good, good Father. You are not a failure, disappointment, or any of the other lies that bombard you daily. You are chosen, loved, and worthy–so live that way.
Challenge: Allow Other’s Success to Encourage Rather than Discourage
We have a choice. We can choose comparison, or we can choose challenge. We can choose to be motivated by other’s pursuits and successes, or we can choose to be filled with feelings of failure and disappointment.
When we choose comparison, we look at how great everyone else’s lives are. Then we feel discouraged, ungrateful, and even angry when we look at our own. This discouragement does not rally us toward change. Instead, It keeps us paralyzed where we are, feeling unable or unworthy of the things they have.
When we choose challenge, however, other people’s success pushes us with renewed energy and determination to do what needs to be done to change our current situation and pursue different things in life.
It isn’t a challenge to be better than anyone. It is simply a challenge to turn away from fear and start living the life you truly desire for yourself, using your God-given passions, desires, and skills to pursue your dreams and create the abundant life that is yours.