“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Social media has made it almost impossible not to live in comparison. It’s everywhere. And as happy as you are to see all the great things happening for your loved ones and mentors, it’s hard to know what to do about the feelings of inadequacy we sometimes have when we see their highlight reels.
In fact, this happened just last week for me. I had to remember that what I was seeing (many times per day) on their feed is just that—the highlights. After all, no one wants to post a picture of a “bad hair day,” much less their worst day. No one wants to post pictures of their tears, struggles, pain, or brokenness. No, that would be too vulnerable, too raw, too—real.
Instead we make every day like a Christmas card update, letting our loved ones and fans know of our accomplishments, and little else. Yes, I see many more people making efforts to be more “real,” but the majority of the messages are still about how much someone has done, or about how we can be better! The intention is good – to be uplifting and encouraging, but when you are already feeling a little tender, a little bruised, or a little fragile, these messages can have a backwards affect. And, it can be exhausting.
I believe our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, choose his words very intentionally when he said “thief.” Comparison does a lot of robbing. It can rob us of our time, emotions, relationships, thoughts, joy, creativity, and even our hope. Comparison takes up valuable heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit real estate that should be housing our dreams, aspirations, and important solution-based strategies for issues around us.
I know I’m not the only one who notices this. So my question is, if we are all sensing this in one way or another, how do we come together to resolve this? I don’t have all the answers, but for what it’s worth here are some ideas that could help. After all, this is your Made For More™ Happy Place!
These are some tips I’ve found to be useful in my own journey to get grounded, to be present, to be content… to be “happy” being me.
Happy Mind – Unplug from the Matrix.
Close the Vanity Fair magazine, shut off the T.V., or even (gasp!) turn off your cell phone for a while and take a walk. Get out into nature. Do something creative. Engage in a hobby. Meditate or pray. Take some time to remember what it is that truly lights you up on the inside, and bring some peace to your spirit. Get unstuck from the electronic loop – the cell phone to the T.V. to the tablet to the laptop… and repeat. Try disconnecting for an afternoon and you’ll soon realize how intense it is to be plugged in all the time. Our minds and our creativity soar when we are unchained, not when it’s obligated or in fear (ie FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out).
Happy Heart – Surround yourself with life-giving friends.
If you have healthy friendships, then allow yourself to be vulnerable in them – share your tough stuff together with your trusted allies – that’s the real stuff where friendships are made and galvanized. If you’re so busy giving all the time, you may forget (as do your friends) that you need a strong shoulder sometimes, too. So, take a look at your friendships and see which ones you want to nurture, and which ones you may need to take a “sabbatical” from (unhealthy, drama, chaos, self-focused “friends”). Have an honest conversation with your true friends and let them know what you need. Your friendships will be sweeter, more authentic, and even truer. Celebrating each other’s victories will be even richer because you know how much you both had to overcome. Do you have any friends like that? If so, that is awesome! If not, come join our Made For More™ Happy Place and find your new amazing friends! Either way, come join us and let’s be Happy Together!
Happy Body – Stay busy giving back.
It’s hard to live in comparison when you’re busy giving back to others. Find something that shifts your perspective from self-serving to serving others. Once you focus your attention onto other people, it’s amazing how much lighter you’ll feel! Find a cause you’re passionate about and volunteer a little time to it. The Bible says “…it’s more blessed to give than receive…” (Acts 20:35) because when you give, you “get” too! Both the giver and the receiver win! When you help someone else, they feel loved, seen, known, valued, and helped. And not only do you boost your own happiness “quotient,” you reduce your own stress, boost your immune system, inspire people to also help others, increase all your “feel good” hormones, and increase joy and creativity (which increases meaning, productivity, and a sense of accomplishment) in your life. When you share your purpose, talents, abilities, strengths, and unique ingenuity and design, you bless others beyond your wildest imagination. You never know who you can touch, and how that can domino into a great movement of “Happy” all over the world!
Happy Spirit – Learn how to forgive.
This is a tough one, and a “practice” I have to do often (sometimes daily)! Did you know that comparison may come from a place of unforgiveness? Someone might have hurt you badly. And there was no justice or resolve to the situation—no apology and no acknowledgement of the hurt they caused. Suddenly, a few months later, you see that person “livin’ the dream!” They might be in a new, exciting relationship, have bought their dream house, got a promotion, or announced they are expecting a child. Whatever it is, your heart cries, “they don’t deserve it!”
Well, here’s the thing – it’s not forgiveness if they deserve it. Forgiveness is to free you, not them. Forgiveness is the key to unlock you from the shackles of comparison so you can move on with your life and do all the really cool things that you want to do – regardless of what they “appear” to be getting, or doing.
This is a whole other conversation altogether, but for now, since the topic is “comparison robs you and me…” don’t let anything, including unforgiveness, rob you of anything else. It’s not worthy of your brilliance, magnificence, or destiny.
Focus on you and what makes you happy, period.
Your cheerleader, fan, and friend –
In JOYful loving service,