Five Tips For When You’re Struggling With Comparison

For about as long as I can remember, I have struggled with comparison. For every stage of life that I have been through, there were always people who seemed to be doing a better job at <fill in the blank> than I was.

The truth is that I am not alone. There are a lot of people who have trouble with comparing themselves to others. There are countless blog posts and articles out there that focus on this topic. Out of curiosity, I did a quick, informal survey of those who follow me on Instagram about struggling with comparison. About 20 people responded – all of them admitting this was something they struggled with, too. Sometimes it is helpful to acknowledge that we are not alone in our struggles, and I believe every person will struggle with comparison at some point in life.

When I get caught up in comparison, I tend to put myself down a lot. I will be scrolling through Facebook or Instagram thinking things like, “Wow! This mom made a healthy dinner completely from scratch tonight. My kid is eating dinosaur chicken nuggets for the third night in a row. I need to get it together.” or “Look at that super engaging activity this children’s minister is doing with her kids! I am never going to be that creative.”

If you’ve had thoughts similar to these before (and I’m willing to bet you have), I want to encourage you today. I want you to know that you are not alone and that you are doing a great job. I want to encourage you to stop comparing yourself to others. The following five points are some of the things that God has been speaking to my heart when I find myself comparing myself to others. They have helped me, and it is my prayer that they might help you, too.

  1. Know who you are in Christ. Know who God says you are. 
    In his letter to the churches in Galatia, Paul tells Christians, “for through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). Friends, if you are a Christian, God tells us that you are His son or daughter. You are a child of the almighty Creator of the universe. When Jesus died for you, He paid a price and your life has value. No matter how talented, put-together, or professional you may or may not be does not change the fact that Jesus died for you. We can find comfort knowing God doesn’t look at our abilities or social status to determine whether or not we are worthy of love. He loves you simply because you are His child and His creation.
  1. Social media isn’t giving you the whole picture.
    Understand that what you see on social media is that person’s highlight reel. You are only seeing the best parts of their life – not the messy outtakes that they don’t want others see. When you are comparing yourself to someone else based on what they put up on their profiles, it’s an unfair comparison. You’re looking at all of you and only part of them.
    I try to be real on social media, but oftentimes I fall short here. There have been many times when I have posted a picture of my daughter sweetly playing, coloring, or reading a book. Based off of pictures like those, you’d probably think that my home is always peaceful, clean, and happy. But what you don’t see are the tantrums and fits that my girl can throw. You don’t see my living room after it looks like a tornado blew through. I don’t take pictures of my kid watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for three hours straight (bless that mouse – it happens sometimes!).
    I’m not saying it’s right, but there is a need to put only our best and most polished selves out there on social media. Next time you see someone’s highlight reel and start to compare yourself to them, remember that there are a lot of messy outtakes in there, too. Nobody is perfect and has it all together all the time, so let’s give each other a little more grace and try to be a little more real. 

  2. Take a social media break.
    It is no secret that social media platforms play a huge role in how we view ourselves and others. When we start to be upset with how we measure up to others, removing ourselves from social media, even for a day or two, can help a lot.
    I did an experiment on myself recently. I found that I was spending too much time on my phone on Facebook and Instagram. If I got a notification from those apps, I would find myself stopping what I was doing to check them. I would then spend the next several minutes scrolling through my timeline, when I wouldn’t have been looking at the apps if my phone hadn’t gone off in the first place. I realized my problem, so I simply decided to turn off my notifications. Now my phone does not alert me when I have any kind of social media notifications. If I am expecting something, I just know to check for it. This way, I am not distracted when I am working on something or playing with my daughter. It has been a breath of fresh air to not feel like I am constantly being called away. I spend less time worrying about what other people are doing, and more time focusing on the things and people right in front of me.
    If you find yourself feeling down every time you check your social media accounts, it might be time to take a break from them. 
  1. Celebrate yourself.
    It’s okay to acknowledge the things you do well. Don’t be prideful about it, but appreciate the talents and gifts God has given you that make you unique. God has gifted us all differently (Rom. 12:6), and we need to be careful about viewing our gifts as lesser than someone else’s.
    We should always be striving to be better and challenging ourselves to be more and more of who God is calling us to be, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop and appreciate where we are at the moment. You can desire improvement in yourself while simultaneously celebrating where you are. Don’t settle when you know you can be better – but don’t miss the beauty of who you are right now. 

  2. Stay in your lane and focus on Jesus.
    When we are worried about the performance of others and how it compares to our own, we spend too much time looking to the left or the right. We neglect our lane and can lose sight of our goals. Keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t make life a competition with other people. Keep your heart and mind focused on Jesus.
    Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Friends, who are you trying to please? If you call yourself a servant of Christ, you have to measure yourself up to God’s standards – not the world’s. Staying in your lane and focusing on Jesus helps you to do this. 

The next time that you catch yourself comparing your life to someone else, I pray that these five ideas and tips will provide some comfort to you. Don’t fall into the trap of comparison. Find joy in all that God made YOU to be.

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