3 Cures for Comparison

3 Cures for Comparison how to stop Facebook envyYesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.

I felt overwhelmed. My week was engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.

I had promised myself that I would accomplish my personal goals for the week. But an upcoming road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of the blues.

So naturally, I did what any of us would do. I mindlessly thumbed through Facebook.

And then I saw her life. You know the one.

The one with endless pictures of perfect children. The marriage-of-bliss anniversary photos. Full of witty posts and comments. And the “watch me change my first diaper” video that got a bazillion likes. Seriously? I imagined her at her (perfectly organized) desk gleefully cranking out posts and baking Whole30 brownies in the oven while her kids play quietly in the background.

Somewhere between her angelic children and Betty Crocker Brownies, I got moody.

I got downright depressed.

In one swooping moment, my thoughts went down the drain, sucking my emotions in with it.

In that moment, I psychoanalyzed my own life and gave myself an F for failure. Suddenly, all my efforts felt in vain. No longer was I good enough, creative enough, fast enough, witty enough, romantic enough, healthy enough or perfect enough.

When someone’s success makes us depressed, there’s a problem.

Instead of being inspired by her success, I felt inferior. Sad. Overwhelmed. Behind.

Times infinity.

Like, maybe I should just cut my losses early and throw in the towel on life. After all, who can keep up with the ever-perfect family with their social media omnipresence and picture-perfect lives?

Truth be told, I had a bad case of the comparison blues.

And if you are breathing, chances are you’ve had them too. I spent hours a whole day prying myself from the comparison trap. Because if I’m not careful, comparison will destroy me.

And it can destroy you too.

A heart at peace gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30

When we compare our flawed lives to the Facebook highlight reel, we’re destined to come up short. When we’re not satisfied with our own yard, we’re tempted to peek over the fence at our virtual neighbors. And what we see either puffs us up with pride or weighs us down with insecurity.

When you feel the urge to compare, here are 3 things that can help:

1. Focus on your own goals (because comparison will distract you)

A horse wears blinders for a reason. It gives him the opportunity to focus on where he is going while tuning out everything else.

Focus on your own path. Never mind that someone spent the summer in the Bahamas or that his house is bigger. Your own life and purpose is separate. God has a specific plan in mind for your life so stay focused on the path He has carved out for you.

2. Set your own pace (because comparison will slow you down)

When you’re running a race, you focus on what’s right in front of you. Looking around at all the other runners while you are running is bound to slow you down and trip you up.

Set your own pace. Trying to run at the same speed as everyone else in life will eventually burn you out.

Just because someone is pregnant doesn’t mean you should have a baby too. Your family life is…well…yours. There’s no such thing as being “left behind” when you are running a one-person race. We get consumed by comparison when we try keeping up with others.

The goal is to run with endurance. Pacing yourself is what will get you to your finish line.

3. Embrace your own story (because comparison will sabotage it)

God has equipped each of us with a specific set of talents, gifts, personalities, and experiences. Each of us have a unique story to tell and a purpose to fulfill.

But when we compare, we essentially tell ourselves that we must be the same as everyone else. In doing so, we undermine our unique story and devalue the work God is doing in our own lives.

Just because someone has a full-time career doesn’t mean you should too. God calls each of us to different kind of work. Your story is not their story and vise versa.

God has something different planned for each one of us. Instead of fitting in or feeling inferior, embrace the story God is writing for you. You can trust that at the right time, He will prepare you and use you to impact the lives of others in a way that only you can do.

When we fall into the comparison trap, our entire view of others becomes tainted. We make frenemies. We develop this love-hate relationship where we admire and envy others at the same time.

Serving others is the ultimate guard against envying them. It’s hard to be jealous of someone you are serving, praying for, or helping become successful. When we stop comparing, it frees us to love those around us. It’s easier to be happy over a friend’s marriage when you’ve poured into it.

When you’re feeling the urge to compare, refocus on your own goals. Set your own pace. Embrace the story God’s writing for you. And most importantly, see others as friends that you can serve and help springboard to success. Choose to partner with those around you instead of competing with them. Learning how to be okay with what you have and the stage you’re currently in will help you enjoy the present and embrace your own purpose, path, and progress.

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