I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that comparing ourselves to one another has been around since the beginning of human existence. It happened with Adam and Eve in the garden when the serpent used his crafty line, “Did God really say not to eat from this tree? It’s just because He doesn’t want you to have all the wisdom and great knowledge that He has.” (My paraphrase of Genesis 3)
And just like that, Eve found herself wanting to be like God. Comparing herself to the Almighty and realizing that she didn’t quite match up, but my goodness, did she ever want to! So, she took that fruit and crunched, shared with Adam. . . and here I am today writing about the comparison dilemma. Eve and I are not the only ones. It happens again and again in the Bible. Cain and Abel. Jacob and Esau. All of Joseph’s brothers. Even Satan is working from a jealous place. He wants to be God. This whole mess stems from that.
What’s Causing Us To Compare?
Years ago, I felt it in a serious way. See, I love magazines. All magazines! I love the process of flipping through the pages, seeing the beauty in all of it; the layout, design, the colour schemes. The furniture or art or that perfect living room wall colour. I love seeing the new trends coming for spring. The beautiful dresses, perfect jeans and the boots, sandals or all the shoes really! I study all of the models’ gorgeous faces carefully noticing the colour on her eyelids, her perfectly glossed lip or just exactly where we are supposed to part our hair this year.
It all woo’s me. It beckons my heart to come and see and enjoy; while I’m in the moment I feel like this is a perfect activity. An amazing way to spend a sunny day on the deck or a rainy day cuddled up by the fire. But the moment I put those magazines down, I find myself in a bit of a funk.
I get up and look around my living room and feel like my mantel isn’t decorated quite right. Or I notice that my couch is looking kind of old and the dishes in my cupboard don’t quite scream ‘perfect dinner party!’
Walking to my closet makes it even worse. Nothing there ever looks quite new or crisp enough. It all feels last season, last year or 10 years ago! I notice my clothes don’t hug my body the way those models’ clothes do, and speaking of body, time for some crunches!
Looking in the mirror is probably the worst part of all. I’m short. My skin is marked. My eyes aren’t doe-like. My lips could certainly use some plumping. Never mind this whole hair fiasco.
I realize, this activity of flipping through magazines brings me to a desperate low. I compare every aspect of my life with perfect lighting and new everything and on-point eyebrows.
Comparison nestled itself way down deep in my life, so deep I didn’t even see it. For a time I thought I was fine, but I wasn’t. Magazines were simply the tool that I used to compare my life to a perfectly scripted world. I knew, like any addict does, I had to quit.
I went completely cold turkey, boxing up every magazine lying around the house and vowing never to buy another one. I’m happy to report that this very active step in deleting the tool of comparison from my life really did work for me.
The bottom line:
- Remove that which is tempting us
- Run away from it
- Don’t give in to its magnetism
With distance from negatives in our lives, we can begin to find clarity, peace and start to be okay with exactly who we are.
Comparison: Social Media
Because I know my weakness in comparison, I’ve had to be increasingly careful with social media as it has grown to become a huge part of our lives. I knew from the get-go that it wouldn’t be wise for me to hop onto Pinterest for the same reasons I couldn’t pick up decor magazines anymore.
I know many of us find the same thing with other sites like instagram or Facebook. We taunt ourselves with other people’s moments of perfection. Their vacations or their shopping trips or even the seemingly hip place they go for coffee. The current hypotheses is that Instagram is making us a depressed culture and a lonely people. That other people’s photos are constantly triggering our ickiest states:
I have to check my heart constantly on this and I would encourage all of us to! Take note, if it’s making us less than lovely people we may need to reevaluate how we’re using it. The last thing we need are more things in our life that cause us to sin. Life is complicated enough without daily log-ins to places that bring out our worst.
Read more related topics here:
Where Do I Find My Worth?
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