Things aren’t always as they appear. I know this. However, sometimes I can’t help it and I start playing the comparison game. You know what I mean. “Wow, her child is so well behaved and basically perfect” or “Did you see her house on Instagram? It’s beautiful! If only I had ____(fill in the blank)” or “They just went on the most beautiful vacation. I wish we had more money to travel”
This is a dangerous game to play! It always starts innocently.
“Let me take a break and quickly scroll through Instagram.”
I see something on the internet.
I think “Wow, that’s beautiful” or “That vacation looks amazing.”
Then without realizing it, I start to feel inadequate. I suddenly want more. I feel restless and not fully satisfied.
Before I know it, I take it out on my kids or my husband.
“Why can’t he be more helpful?”
“Why can’t my kids just stop whining!?”
Soon enough I’m down the rabbit hole and no longer appreciating the life I have.
It has to stop. I’m putting an end to playing this comparison game.
“I’m not going to compare myself to others anymore. I can view social media without feeling bad about myself after. My life is great just the way it is.” So that sounds all perfect and maybe a little idealistic. But is it that simple? How do we actually do this!?
Ending my relationship with social media could be an immediate fix. But is this realistic and practical for me? These are questions we need to ask ourselves. Unfortunately as a blogger I can’t completely leave Instagram or Facebook.
Though we could all benefit from some social media intervention. Ask yourself these questions and try your best to honestly answer them:
- How much time are you spending online?
- Do you notice a difference in your mood after spending time on social media? If yes, how so?
- What boundaries do you need to set for yourself when it comes to social media?
- Are you aware of your negative thoughts? How do you typically handle negative self-talk?
- What are your triggers? (List anything that causes a negative self-concept or downward spiral in thoughts)
Don’t be afraid to set firm boundaries for yourself. If that means not looking at Pinterest for wedding ideas, baby nurseries or perfect outdoor spaces that is okay. It may also mean you need to ignore or block certain people and that is okay too. Know your triggers!
So here is the practical way to stop the downward spiral!
When we find ourselves thinking “I wish” or “I want” or “I’m not satisfied with ______” we must stop it as soon as possible.
First, we need to learn to identify when this happens. To do this we must become more aware of our thoughts. The questions above should help you become more aware of your triggers and boundaries. I also suggest taking a few days to consciously think about what you are thinking about.
Another option, ask God to reveal to us the negative things we let our minds meditate on.
After you identify your negative thoughts and triggers…..
After we identify our triggers and negative thoughts we must replace them with truth. Recently I heard this quote and I feel it speaks to the dangers of playing this comparison game:
One reason we struggle with insecurity: we’re comparing our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. Steve Furtick
It’s okay to desire things and for other people to be happy. But I should never sacrifice my happiness or God’s peace by wishing my life away. During these times I have to remind myself of who I really am and who God says I am.
We are daughters of the Most High. He has a plan to prosper us and great purposes for everyone He creates!
You may not have the exact plan, house, body, husband or children as your best friend and guess what, that is okay! Different does not equal bad.
God has divinely created you and when he spoke you into existence in your mother’s womb he knew exactly what he was doing.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
So I’d love to hear from you. How do you stop yourself from playing the comparison game? Was it difficult to find your triggers and set appropriate boundaries? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below and in our Instagram community.