Comparing lives through social media has been an ongoing issue. One thing I can say is that I get it! I’ve experienced thinking I wasn’t good enough because I’d see someone else’s”perfect life” in those squared photos. At least that’s what I thought. We do this on social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. People are admitting to comparing things like body image, parenting, homes and something one may have in common with another person, such as; baking, cooking, writing, photography skills, etc.
When I was dealing with this I had to do a lot of talking it out with God. By his grace and a reality check I ended up overcoming struggles and assumptions. What’s interesting is how we will even compare our lives to others we barely know. I don’t share this out of being annoyed, but out of concern. I’m here to be real with you and talk about a few things I’ve learned.
What I want you to know:
- It’s just a picture. Before I go on, in no way am I saying pictures don’t matter. What I mean is, that’s all you’re seeing. A picture. There may even be a caption to go along with it that you also use to compare yourself to. Maybe they wrote something creative or shared how far along they’ve come in their fitness journey and now you feel more inadequate. You see that photo but you don’t see the other things going on in their life. There’s a good chance you don’t even know their background, full story or personally struggles they face.
2. You may have the same talent as someone else or think too many people are already doing what you do. That may intimidate you at times, so you feel like going for it is pointless or a need of doing more more more to up yourself. That’s never the mind set you want to end up in because it keeps you from staying in your own lane. By no means are we to look like anyone else. Work what you do in the unique way nobody else can. Other people’s succeeding doesn’t mean we are failing.
Christine Cane once said: ” My concern is that our generation will miss its destiny because they are too busy scrolling through everyone else’s”
3. Our self-worth doesn’t come from a perception of how people see us, but how God sees us. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the social media comparisons. Those distractions are things that don’t even truly matter. The truth is: you’re a purposed, beautiful, and deeply loved child of God. Looking at someone else through a screen should have no part in defining you.
4. I believe people can get selfish. What I mean is the focus can turn into “all about me” that takes away from being truly happy for others. I saw a quote the other day that said: “Cheer for people. There is enough sun for everyone.” But sometimes jealously doesn’t like the sun shining on others who are succeeding in the same thing they are. You aren’t stopping anyone else’s destiny, so why not choose to: uplift, support and clap for them. Maybe you even want to be happy for him or her and it feels too hard. I’ve experienced jealousy and the feeling isn’t pretty. That was one of the hardest things I had to admit to God. It was also the first step of overcoming that specific issue.
5. There is a circle of social media envy that stems from comparison. If you envy a person online I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was doing the same thing when they look at you. It’s said that we are usually our own worst critics, so you may have a hard time seeing the awesomeness others see in you .While you’re envying Nancy, Nancy is envying Sally and Sally is envying Carol while Carol is envying Nancy and Nancy is also envying you back. I’ve seen posts written up and I’ve talked to different people about this issue that has brought the cycle of envy to my attention. If this is something you’ve had a hard time shaking off, then maybe it would be best to unfollow anyone you envy or remove yourself from social media for the time needed. Why? Because envy makes the heart sick. Jealousy is cancer to the bones. You’re heart matters, so it needs to be protected from having negative thoughts of others and even yourself. We aren’t made to wish what others have, but to be thankful and find our identity in Christ.
In a world full of billions of people who have existed there is only one you. That matters. It’s a pretty big deal actually. You were born at the time you were for a reason. We can’t miss the mark here. That talent you carry is meant to be used for God’s glory. When we put Jesus before us our perspective changes. We don’t see others as threats or the use our gift as being pointless, we just use it. We do what God asks us to do with it because we see the bigger picture. Comparison is proof that we make it about us and not Him. We are to be building up His kingdom, not our own kingdom.