23 Jun 2017

Why Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Too often do I see a post on social media and think to myself if only I was here, or I had this. Completely forgetting about all the incredible things in my own life! Today I want to talk about jealousy and comparison, and how they have affected my life.

Recently I was scrolling through Instagram, and my feed was filled with pictures of friends who were in Hawaii, Mexico, Barcelona, you name it. As I sat on my bed scrolling through these photos, I couldn’t help but feel a tad bit jealous. I missed the excitement of traveling long distances and all I could think about for the next week was how badly I wanted to go to Europe. I spent hours looking for airfare and hotels, but no matter how hard I looked nothing seemed to be working out. My dad had used almost all his airfare miles, and my parents did not want to pay $8000 on a trip, yet alone tickets. They kept telling me “not this summer” but I was determined to go. Last summer I was very lucky and got to go to New York City, Iceland, Norway, and Germany. All of which were incredible and I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to go, but because of my previous experience, I kept comparing last summer to this one. Last summer I was on the other side of My Instagram feed, experiencing the travel, and now I was just looking at it.

In a moment my jealousy took over. My family had planned a week long trip to Palm Beach, which at the time I was very excited about, but upon seeing all those photos on Instagram I wanted to go to Europe and not Florida.  Then the next week our family trip to Florida was cancelled when my grandfather started feeling sick, and my parents didn’t want to leave my grandparents alone for a week (He’s doing much better now). They told my sister and I that instead we would be taking two short 3-4 day trips to Hilton Head Island and Myrtle beach later in the summer. I was angry again, I felt it was unfair that our family trips went from Iceland to Myrtle Beach. Normally I would be ecstatic to go to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, but I allowed my envy to make me ungrateful. I think the Lord used this situation to show me that I need to be more present in my own life instead of the people on my Instagram feed. If my family had gone to Palm Beach I would probably be sitting on the beach in envy of a friend swimming in the Maldives. It also allowed me to realize that this summer was different from last and that I had already been to New York and Tokyo this year! I had already taken incredible trips, just at different times than the people around me. My envy made me forget how lucky I am to even travel at my age, as many people I know have never been out of the country! Although I’m still a little disappointed that we were unable to go To Palm Beach, I am looking forward to our short trips to local beaches in the near future.

This leads me to my next point, comparison. Comparison is truly the thief of joy. It causes us to forget about the blessings in our own lives and envy those in others. I feel like the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” is so true! Whatever your friend has immediately seems ten times better just because it isn’t yours. For example you could be completely content with your order of a slice of simple vanilla cake, but the moment the waiter brings out your friend’s Elaborate chocolate cake, with layers of decadent caramel, all topped with a coat of melting chocolate ganache, suddenly your plain piece of vanilla looks pretty shabby. In no way is the vanilla cake bad, but your envy for the chocolate cake causes you to think so. I notice myself reacting like this in many situations, being extremely content with what I’ve received but as soon as I look over and see someone with something better, that excitement fizzles out. This is what I don’t like about social media, have you ever noticed after you’ve finished checking your social media, you feel worse than you did before? It can cause you to compare what you’re doing to what your friends are doing. I can’t speak for you, but most of the time when I check my social media, I’m bored and have nothing going on, so naturally I begin to compare and envy those doing super interesting and exciting things. I mean think about it, how many people want to post a picture of themselves on the couch? People want to share the fun things in their lives! Recently a close friend of mine who was in Utah doing a nine month fellow program posted a picture of her room filled with boxes and suitcases in her host family’s home. She captioned her post “The past 9 months have been some of the hardest I’ve ever experienced but you sure wouldn’t know it by looking at my Instagram…Even though I’ve witnessed some phenomenal things & moments, only sharing those isn’t giving you a very accurate depiction of my life. Soo friends, I apologize for subconsciously feeding into the false reality of a perfect and wanderlust-filled life that Instagram gives us the opportunity to create sometimes. Here’s a look into my current messy state of transition. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, God has proven that He’s faithful in His time. Reallyy thankful for that 🙌🏼 #canigetanamen.” From looking at her Instagram of gorgeous hikes, ski trips, and cute kids smiling from the school she was working in, you wouldn’t expect her to be stressed or worried, but she was. So remember that social media isn’t real life, you don’t see people’s struggles or boring moments, just their smiles and good days.

The next time you find yourself comparing yourself to others remember These five things…

1.) Stop and think…

Think about all blessings and experiences you’ve had in your life, when I do this I find myself coming back into perspective. Yes there may be people with more than me but, I still have many things to be thankful for.

2.) Everyone’s circumstances are different…

Someone might be taking a vacation while you’re sitting bored on the couch, but a few months earlier it was the opposite way when you went on your vacation, everyone’s schedule is different. Secondly if you’ve just started something (ex: blog, job, business) don’t compare your new project to someone who has been working on theirs for years!

3.) God has a plan…

God places us all in specific places for a reason, His plan for you might not be the same as your neighbors, and that’s okay. Take time to realize the blessings God has put in your life instead of others. And be patient , The best is yet to come.

4.) Your Identity belongs in Christ not your belongings…

Who you are is not represented by your belongings but rather by your faith. Remember, we are made in Christ’s image!!

5.) Remember Proverbs 14:30…
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (ESV)

Has there been a time in your life where your envy or jealousy caused you to take something for granted? Have you also noticed some of social media’s negative impact on our lives? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

 

Posted on June 23, in Faith

2 Comments

  1. Alex Bumgardner wrote:

    You’re incredible and living proof that the Lord can be glorified through our trials and hardships <3. We've all had our joy stolen through the act of comparing but it takes courage and humility to be transparent in that. Thank you for sharing the love of Christ and bringing encouragement to everyone who reads this. Xoxoxo

    Posted on 6.23.17 ·
    • Aw Alex that’s so sweet! Thank you so much for your inspiration and help through everything, I’m so grateful to know you! xo

      Posted on 6.30.17 ·

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