“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
When I saw this quote for the first time a year or so ago, I practically started clapping. How true is this? And why is it that even though we know it’s true, we all still struggle with it?
When I decided to compete for Miss Mississippi Teen USA (what feels like forever ago, proof this really happened here), my initial reason for competing was that I could meet girls from all over the state. Once I was selected to represent the state at Miss Teen USA, I had a privilege of making friends from all over the country! Ten years later, and I live in the same town with Miss Ohio and North Carolina. I’m even meeting up with Miss New York for coffee in LA this weekend! The experience, if not just for meeting so many ambitious and talented women, was one I’ll value forever.
Amazing as it was, it also introduced a new level of body image, self consciousness and comparison. This is by means no one’s fault nor do I feel pageants are to blame – it was all in my own head. At 18, I was around some of the most beautiful and talented teenage girls in the country, and I would by lying to you if I said I didn’t compare my body and appearance to theirs. Why can’t I change this flaw or be more like her? Why can’t I be more photogenic and more natural in front of the camera? I wish my hair was as pretty as hers or my legs as long and lean as hers. The list goes on.
I’ve felt this way in the blogging world as well. Would I get more comments, followers or likes if I was more like this or that? And when I feel this way, I force myself to unplug. Put the phone in a drawer. Put away the laptop or iPad. Stop for a moment and reflect on the relationships and opportunities I’ve been fortunate to have rather than compare myself to someone else’s success. As Rick Warren says, “You cannot be happy and envious at the same time.” Choose to to be happy. You can’t focus on your purpose and God’s purpose for you while comparing yourself to others. And for me, while the comparison and envy may not disappear, I have to actively stop myself and remind myself to change my perspective.
Never forget that social media (and often blogs) are highlight reels of the best moments. No one is instagramming their flat tire or microwaved frozen curry dinner (trust me, I’ve had both and neither made an appearance on social media… although this did and it still makes me laugh)! I try to actively change the way I look at things, which helps to change my state of mind.
What do you do to prevent yourself from the unhealthy and tempting game of comparison? I’d love to hear. Thanks for reading and sharing! XO –