“If comparison is the thief of joy, then our culture is being robbed blind.” – John Foreman.
From an outside perspective, my life looks pretty amazing. If you follow me on social media, you’ll see a lot of posts from me. Posts that paint a really pretty picture.
- You’ll see pictures of me on stage with my Anthem Lights brothers, in front of thousands of people..
- You’ll see updates about recording music in amazing looking studios..
- You’ll see countless photos of my gorgeous wife in exotic locations..
You get where I’m going here, don’t you?
My socials represent my “final product”. The best of who I am. The best of my marriage. The best moments of my life. You’re going to see nothing but smiles. See us standing in stunning locations. Being playful and witty with each other. Things that do nothing but say, “look how good we have it”.
What I’m NOT going to do is take a picture as my wife and I are arguing. “Ok I know I was an idiot and you’re really mad. But first… let me take a selfie.” You won’t see a man post about his 15 year anniversary like, “It’s our 15th Anniversary! We are growing so far apart. We are basically two strangers living in the same house. Someone save us.”
That’s not how it works. And rightfully so.
Like millions of others, we post the “highlight reel” of our lives and leave out the crummy, tough times that life is full of.
It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others through social media. I can’t count how many times I see the comment, “Relationship Goals,” under pictures of myself and my wife. Because I get it.. My socials make us look like we are problem free. The perfect marriage. “OH M G I wish I had a guy who took pictures of me like that.”
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Guess what guys? This is going to wreck your mind. I’m FAR from perfect. My marriage is FAR from perfect. And so are the people you follow and are envious of. You are seeing their “highlight reel”. Don’t forget that. It’s very important. It’s very easy to get lost in the “fantasy” of social media. One quick scroll through your feed, and you can find yourself wishing..
- your marriage was as good as so and so’s.
- your husband posted about you every day like so and so’s husband does. (Who’s he trying to convince anyway?)
- you could travel as much as so and so.
- you could be as fit as so and so. (But… mac and cheese.)
- you could be as pretty as so and so. (FaceTune can work some miracles people. Believe me, I’ve used it.)
The comparison train can roll on and on. It can do a lot of damage. And it can happen without you realizing it.
– Comparisons are unfair. Especially when you are scrolling through nothing but social media posts of people at their best all day. We compare the worst of ourselves to the best that we assume about others.
– Comparisons will never end, no matter your success. There will always be someone with a nicer house. A nicer car. Nicer clothes. A better marriage. A better, fitter body. More friends, etc. It will never stop as long as we are on this earth. You will NEVER reach a point of success where you no longer feel the need to compare.
– Comparisons rob us of joy and happiness. There is not a single good thing that comes from the curse of comparison. All it will do is cause sadness and give you the false notion that you are not worthy.
– Comparisons lead to resentment. Very often, comparing yourself to others will lead to resenting them. This is one of those hidden deep down things that you may not even know is taking place. Do you resent someone and are not exactly sure why? Be real and honest with yourself and evaluate why you find yourself disliking certain people. Very often, it starts with comparison.
“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud”. – Shannon L. Alder
- Remind yourself – Nobody’s perfect. We were created as imperfect beings. That includes you. That includes everyone you follow on socials. Yes, that even includes your idols.
- Become intimately aware of your successes. Take a hard look at your successes. In work. Marriage. Friendship. In anything. Recognize the things you are best at. Know the things you have accomplished. Take pride in where you are at in life right now. Did you purchase that 12″ TV with your hard-earned cash? That’s success! Did you make your wife feel loved and cherished today? *Fist bump*. MAJOR success.
- If you must compare, compare yourself to yourself. Over this past year, I trained for my first half marathon. If you know me at all, you know that I’m super competitive. (The amount of monopoly boards I’ve destroyed. Jk. Sort of. Working on it.) One of the best pieces of advice I received in my training was,”You’re not competing against anyone else. Run your own race.” Trying to compete with the Kenyans would have done me NO good. The same lesson can be applied for comparison. Compare yourself to the man in the mirror (Cue Michael Jackson.) RUN YOUR OWN RACE. This is nobody else’s life but your own.
- Gratitude. Some more Gratitude. Keep the Gratitude coming. BE GRATEFUL. Be grateful for what you have. This is a great thing to remind yourself of on a daily basis. A good practice: before you go to bed, instead of scrolling through Facebook, write down what you are grateful for that day.
- Celebrate humanity’s uniqueness. It’s pretty incredible. There are over 7 billion people on Earth. Each created equal, unique, and different from anybody else. That’s an incredible thing. Celebrate your uniqueness and what makes you, you.
- Create a Mantra. Mine is “You are loved”. I have struggled with feeling like I’m unlovable in the past, which can really lead down a road of comparison. I say this mantra to myself every day, particularly when I’m running, or when I find myself in a mentally tough or exhaustive place. What’s your mantra and when is the best time for you to remind yourself of it?
- NO social media at night. The last things you need in your head as you go to bed are the things you’ll see on socials. The comparison that happens during that time is at an all time high. Take that time to soak in a book. Say your mantra. Write down your top tasks for the following day. Anything but technology. Especially socials. Try this even for a week. The difference you will feel as you go to sleep will astound you.
There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Don’t waste a single one of them comparing.