Recently, in preparation for a project, I’ve been asking a lot of questions, as well as listening a great deal. I’ve loved everyone’s honesty, vulnerability and authenticity, because without these things, we might as well just pack it all up and go home. It’s ridiculous to waste both our own time, emotional energy and self-respect, as well as that of others, by trying to give polished, rehearsed, or less-than-honest responses. I mean, who wants to listen to that? Uh….no one! All this does is make you feel like crap and make you want to eat a gallon of ice cream (or in my case, about a hundred Reese cups, followed by a bag of salty popcorn).
As a result, I can’t hold back a minute longer from saying… SOCIAL MEDIA IS SCREWING US UP!
Now this probably doesn’t come as any surprise to you, as it certainly didn’t me. However, the truth of this concept must be conveyed and discussed. The outcome of our willingly (and even knowingly) subjecting ourselves to everyone’s polished persona and comparing our lives with their pics (most of which have been altered or filtered), has resulted in nothing less than GRAND THEFT, stealing our confidence, self-respect, uniqueness, healthy body image, focus, and peace. For goodness sake, it’s even taken our money, as we’ve gone out and tried to purchase the life we’ve seen depicted on our phone screens!
I’m seriously sick of it! Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying trash your phone and never look at Facebook or Instagram again. I’m really not. I use social media regularly. I have a great appreciation for it. It helps me stay connected. It is a source of great ideas and inspiration. It can bring encouragement and it can challenge me to both try new things and view others in a different light. It is a main source of my prayer list. It inspires me to encourage others. It can be a source of learning and information, and it even helps me advertise our new business.
BUT THE WAY WE USE IT SETS US UP FOR FAILURE AND DISAPPOINTMENT. Period. Even worse, it paralyzes us from moving forward. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Life is hard enough and the temptation to compare and feel bad about yourself is strong enough, without social media. But add our perceptions of someone’s perfect family, expensive vacation, skinny thighs, powerful career, or flawless skin into the mix…and you’ve got a recipe for nothing short of self-loathing and I-am-nothing-short-of-a-looser disaster.
Why do we do it? Why do we fall for this pathetic trap that comes straight from the pit of hell (I’m so mad, I’m willing to risk sounding all “church lady”!)? Please know, I’m not pointing fingers, because I fall for it too. We all do at some time or another. And if you say you don’t, I’m going to go out on a limb here and ask that you please think about this a bit more. At one time or another, we all do it. But in an effort to leave some room for error, if you don’t, I am sincerely and honestly happy for you.
When I think of a Biblical example of comparison, Rachel and Leah come to mind. You know the story…devoted Jacob loved Rachael and worked seven years in turn for her hand in marriage. But in a last minute twist of events, he was given her sister, Leah, instead (who apparently needed some serious glasses). He was eventually able to acquire Rachel as his wife also. What followed was nothing short of a bad Lifetime Movie. Life-long, ugly, petty, even wasted lives of comparison, insecurity, competition, and straight-up ugliness ensued between these two women, ultimately resulting in a boatload of kids, some of which came about through adulterous means. Most of the time, Rachel was miserable, Leah was miserable, and in turn, Jacob was miserable.
We’re no different. Rachel and Leah obviously didn’t have internet access to exacerbate their need to compare, but when we use social media as a means of comparison, competition, and sometimes even straight-up ugliness, we give birth to a lot of stuff in our lives that make us miserable as well.
It’s time to stop the madness, jump off the train to Crazy Town, and learn to be content with who we are, who we are not, what we have, and what we don’t. It's time to stop comparing. It's time to stop basing our self-worth on how many likes or responses we get. It's time to stop. Simple as that.
Or is it? How do we resist the pull to compare, criticize and measure ourselves against the lives of others? Where does one even begin?
Although I’ll definitely be revisiting this topic in the future, I believe the first step is to BREATHE – breathe in who God created you to be – flaws and all. Ask Him to help you to resist the temptation to compare – even if you have to do it a hundred times a day. Ask Him to help you see the beauty of His creation in you, as imperfect as it might be. Ask Him to help you to relax – relax in who you are, and sometimes even more importantly, who you are not. And finally, give Him thanks for you - even if you don't feel like it.
It’s time to stop. Comparison has robbed us for far too long. It’s a thief and a liar. It’s time to reclaim the beauty of ourselves - dings, bruises, scars, and all.
Love you – really. Let me know what you think, and if you find some truth in these words – please share this post!