Theodore Roosevelt was spot on when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. In every industry and sphere, it can be hard to find a balance between finding your purpose and identity without falling into the trap of comparison. In this blog, I hope to inspire you to discover your own sense of self and your true purpose.
What is my calling? That is the million-dollar question, right?! What am I supposed to do with my life? How am I supposed to figure that out? You were created ON purpose, WITH a purpose! The Lord has thought out every little detail about you, what you look like, what you are good at, what you enjoy, etc., and with all these details, together, we make up the body of Christ! Psalm 139:13-14; “For You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Social media does a great job of making it easy to compare our wardrobe, our holidays, and our whole lives to other people. After a scroll through social media, sometimes I’m left feeling like my life isn’t good enough. And the natural result of those comparisons is wanting to spend more to keep up. The comparison doesn’t just steal your joy it also steals your paycheck too. I can look at another woman’s Instagram page and appreciate the beauty and order that seems to radiate from her home and family. But very quickly it can become a source of comparison, competition, self-loathing, doubt, or anxiety about my own clothes, home or family. So many times I have fallen prey to believing that my life must look exactly like another person’s; or that I need what someone else has; or even that I am severely lacking simply because what I lack belongs to someone else—whether it be a pristine kitchen or a beautiful outfit. This comparison leaves us empty and we forget about gratitude for our lives and what we do have.
Do you ever feel like a hamster on a wheel running fast and getting nowhere?
Contentment isn’t a place you get to financially, it is a place where we get to emotionally and spiritually. Contentment is the inner determination to be happy and fulfilled wherever you are, with whatever you have. The Apostle Paul put it like this:
“. . . I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything . . .” (Philippians 4:11–12 ).
How can we begin to be content? I believe it begins with gratitude. When your heart is filled with gratitude, there is no room for discontentment. Many times I have found myself grasping for what other women have and abandoning any feeling of gratitude for my own life and beauty. This only leads to emptiness and that feeling of self-doubt.
How can we be content in our unique identity, without been sucked into the spiral of comparison?
Whether or not we want to admit it, comparison is sin. Proverbs 14:30 says:
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
We cannot let our hearts and minds be filled with envious thoughts, this consumption is toxic. YOU ARE ENOUGH. Each of us is called to be a witness of Christ in our lives. We cannot let the culture define us. Jesus speaks about comparison in Galatians 6:4-5 “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.” We can often look to our achievements and how we measure against others to derive our sense of identity. However, this only causes more doubt and more pain.
How comparison affects our brains?
If you don’t know your identity as a daughter or son of God, people will define you. With comparison, we are letting someone else define who we are. We are so busy looking for our identity through the eyes of other people we lose our own sense of who we are. When we try to be like someone else we get a neuro chaos in our brain, it’s like a hurricane in our brain, a fogginess, and chaos. We are living in a media-saturated society that bombards us with what you should look like, the shape you should be, etc. If you are looking at your social media feed and you are desiring that and spending more than 7 mins a day doing that you have wired someone else’s life that you have perceived into your brain. The decision and the choice to recognize, to be honest with yourself, and recognize there is no competition ever, that’s when the change happens. Social media can be good in moderation, but many studies show that the overuse of social media can lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, phantom vibration syndrome, herd mentality, insomnia, and comparison.
Celebrate your achievements be they big or small each day and cultivate gratitude into your life. God wants us to live life to the full and not be caught up on comparing ourselves to others. You are unique, one of a kind, there is nobody else in the world like you. How amazing is that? Remember God wants you to live life to the full.