“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
So why do we compare when wisdom tells us that it robs us of joy?
How do we stop?
We don’t expect our fingerprints to be like others. We marvel at the idea that every snowflake that falls is entirely distinct from all the other snowflakes. So why would we want to be like anyone else?
When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, the only people available for me to compare myself to where the ones I came in contact with directly or the ones I saw on television. Now, we can compare ourselves to people around the world. The pool for killer comparison has opened up so vastly that it’s easy to feel small and insignificant.
There are great aspects to social media. We can connect with childhood friends, people we meet while traveling, etc. I’ve even reconnected with my favorite elementary school teacher. We can discover recipes with entertaining videos and find which restaurants are “worth the hype.” All wonderful things, but it can be a double-edged sword.
Our minds were never meant to take in the overload of information that social media provides. And don’t even get me started on Photoshop and all the filters available. We can post photos of ourselves that don’t look anything like us. Forget feeling insecure at the grocery store checkout when you see the magazine covers with beautiful people. The pictures on social media are like those but on steroids. Some are so ultra-enhanced that the people look more alien than human.
And the voice starts to nag at us.
“Look how amazing that picture is. She’s my age and has had three kids. I’ve only had two, and my abs are trash.”
“He makes so much more money than me. I want a car and house like his.”
“Her son is doing so well in school and has all these accomplishments, but mine is struggling.”
“Why can’t my life be more like his/hers?”
If we don’t stop it at the initial whisper, then this toxic internal narrative can become the loudest input we hear.
First, we should realize that each person is running their own race, colored beautifully by a unique genetic makeup and unrepeatable backstory. We don’t know what happens in that person’s life when the camera is off. We don’t see the dull, ordinary in-between stretches of time that are just life. How often do we hear stories about celebrities who have committed suicide or overdosed on drugs? For a lot of them, if you looked at their posts and achievements leading up to the event, you would have thought their lives were going great. It’s a universal thread for all of humanity that we struggle. Some people are better at hiding than others.
Second, take breaks off of social media. I’ve done what I call “social media fasts.” The fast involves removing or deleting the apps off my phone so they aren’t easily accessible to me. Sometimes I do the fast or a week, but the longest I’ve gone is a month. It can be one platform or it can be all of them. With every fast, I was pleasantly surprised by how much my mind was decluttered. My memory improved. My sleep was more restful. I felt less distracted. I was less stressed by my day-to-day tasks. I had more room in my brain to handle what came my way at home and at work. What I do instead with the time I would have used for social media leads me to point number three.
Practice mindful gratitude. I meditate on the things I am grateful for; they can be small or big. A small thing can be how nice it was to have a hot cup of coffee this morning. My mom grew up in poverty, and one of the things she told me as a child was how much she loved a hot cup of coffee in the morning because sometimes it was all she had for the day. A big thing can be how wonderful it will be to finally take the trip that we have been talking about for months. We should remember that not everyone in the world has the luxury or opportunity to take a vacation. If I’m grateful for a friend in my life, I may send that person a text letting them know or giving them a word of encouragement.
“Don’t compare your life with others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” – Anonymous.
So let’s take a moment to appreciate our unique lights. Let’s waste less time comparing two lives, which were never intended to be similar to begin with, and instead, be grateful for and embrace the beauty in our own stories.
Love the life you have because it’s the only one you get.
About “Under the Broom Tree” by Dr. Beena Wilkins
The nurturing of a devoted parent, the kindness of a closest friend, and the loving heart of an often-misunderstood Father…all were the things Elijah, the greatest prophet of the Old Testament, found in his weakest moment when lying under a broom tree. Though he’d performed extraordinary miracles and offered faith-filled prayers, anxiety and depression drove him to a place where he asked God to end his life. Elijah’s story was much like our own because he was an ordinary person, just like you and me.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/e4t5X7E0-sw
- Discover God’s extraordinary, sustaining love that is specifically for you.
- Find the answer to what is at the core of today’s identity issues.
- Conquer difficulty in forgiving others.
- Learn to love the way God uniquely made you, flaws and all.
Written by a board-certified pediatrician with almost 20 years of clinical experience, Under The Broom Tree explores the mental health epidemic of this generation with fearless faith, openhearted honesty, and refreshing transparency.
This book is available in different digital marketplaces which include:
Kharis Publishing: https://kharispublishing.com/kp/product/under-the-broom-tree/
Books a Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/9781637462126
About Kharis Publishing
This Publisher is Accepting Queries! Kharis Publishing, an imprint of Kharis Media LLC and a leading inspirational General Trade Book publisher is currently unsolicited queries for nonfiction (self-help, memoirs, business, Christian, health and wellness) from qualified leaders, professionals, pastors, and ministers) for a limited time. “Write in a book what you see…” There are no guarantees, but it is worth a shot: https://kharispublishing.com/kp/query
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