The Danger of Comparing Yourself to Others
This past winter, I was laying on my bed severely distressed. I felt insignificant. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Wasn’t accomplishing enough. Was getting left in the dust. Was feeling torn between what was right for me and what was glorified by the world. All of these emotions and concerns came within a span of 5 min from seemingly nowhere.
You may be wondering how all of this hit out of the blue, when it’s just me, my pup and my bed hanging out. But there was another presence in the room…my iPhone.
I was scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed, Instagram feed and checking my blog comments.
I was trying to see how much of an impact I was making, how many “likes’ I was getting and how much I was worth based on other peoples approval or how close I was to achieving the success someone else had.
Now, don’t act like I am all alone here.
Every single one of us does this from time to time.
We obsess over celebrities, over our friends lives, over what our co-workers are up to and compare our lives to theirs.
This theme has been coming up in almost every conversation I have had in the past month and even way past that. I have friends who have had to delete their social media accounts, people who are doing great then set back into deep depression because of how everything one else is ‘seemingly’ living their lives. I say ‘seemingly’ because there is something you need to understand…
The Facebook newsfeed is not a newsfeed at all, it is a highlight reel and a resume of the good moments of your life that you want people to see. @_TiffanyParker_
We try to outdo the next person by showing only our best pictures, our best stories, and are constantly working to maintain a digital facade of what our life is like or how we want to be seen.
This is not just an issue for ladies, I have talked to several men this week alone who struggle with this very thing.
I had to take a serious step back and evaluate where I was finding my worth, why I was pursuing some of the things I was pursuing and who I am in the Lord.
I started to realize that many of the choices I was making in my career at the time was out of a need to be better so that I could be in the running with whoever it was I was comparing myself too.
I could never just be.
I’d see a new idea and be all over it, even when it wasn’t a good fit. I would stress about finding the best pictures to post, making sure I am posting 3 times a day to stay relevant and as an affect being in a constant state of unhappiness.
Thankfully, The Lord showed me the danger of comparing myself to others. It’s referred to in the Bible as coveting, envy, and jelousy, and it has serious consequences for us that fall into it. (which is mostly everybody, by the way).
We want to look like celebrities so we get plastic surgery, go on shopping sprees, buff up at the gym, start a diet and in turn make ourselves miserable.
We want to be liked so we try to post the best content all the time.
We want to be like the 6 figure business owners, so we stop living in our real lives and with loved ones and devote all our time to striving online and ending up getting nowhere.
We see our high school friends and co-workers traveling and having babies and then we wonder to ourselves if we need to have babies and travel the world.
Us sick folks look at people working, dancing, hiking, traveling and eating whatever they want at a restaurant, and find ourselves thinking we are not good enough and being envious of what they are able to do.
Envy is a trap. Jealously is a noose. Comparison is a bottomless pit.
There are 3 issues you will ALWAYS run into when you are comparing yourself to others, and 3 reasons it is NEVER a good idea to give into.
1. Comparison is the quickest way to become miserable and depressed.
Comparing yourself to others is the enemy of contentment. You will never feel like you have enough, like you are enough or that you do enough. When the truth is you are enough.
Theodore Roosevelt – “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
2. Comparison steals away valuable time, and leads nowhere.
That ‘Facebook stalking’ time could have been used to progress your life and to help others. No good comes from going down the comparison games we all have played. Talking about what you want to do all the time but never doing it. Missing out on your potential and the freedom you could have. Choosing to opt-out of comparison is the first step in living an effective and free life.
3. Comparison takes your eyes off of your purpose.
It keeps your focus on the wrong things, rather than your purpose, your contribution or the things that God is trying to do in you. It’s the ultimate distraction tactic from the enemy. As long as you dwell on others lives and your shortcomings, you are too preoccupied to move forward towards your purpose and calling. You can’t be effective and there is nothing the enemy wants more.
Next time you are going into a downward comparison spiral, remember it only robs you of your joy, discourages you and leaves you distressed.
Keep your eyes on counting your own blessings and not dwelling on others. You have things that other people are envying, so focus on those.
You wont be able accomplish the plan God has for you when your eyes are off track.
When I am struggling with this I pull out my Bible to see what God says about me, pray, and take my focus off of my shortcomings and on to Him.
I want to leave you with some of my favorite scriptures to encourage you in this area.
“Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else.” (Galatians 6:4 LB)
James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
Proverbs 14:30 A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
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