She’s happily married with a higher education than myself, and 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.
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 desolate demotion of yourself and your life.
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 in people’s lives through social media platforms, 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 what we are going to use that information for 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 to change our lives and pursue our desires and become the person we want to be, living the life we want to live?
Doing the latter is much easier said than done, so 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.
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, and they could be going through even more hard, sad, 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 do so would be foolish. We don’t see the whole picture, 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, remembering 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 discouraged.
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, and we feel discouraged, ungrateful, and even angry when we look at our own.
This discouragement does not rally us toward change but instead keeps us paralyzed where we are, feeling unable or unworthy of the things they have.
When we choose challenge, however, we allow ourself to be pushed by other people’s success, 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.