We rarely know what someone else’s journey is in life - how they got that career, dream home, car, relationship, and the list can go on and on and so forth. Idolizing and coveting someone’s life and all that it entails is a precursor for your own unhappiness. Although it’s perfectly healthy to be inspired by someone, there is a vast difference when envy and jealousy are the feelings experienced.
Social media doesn’t seem to help. With the World Wide Web being available to nearly every soul’s fingertips, we have the power and the ability to share and access what we want on our respective social media outlets. People can post and share the content of their choosing when picking out the perfect selfie after taking several photos. We can share the glamorous parts of ourselves and lives, such as our relationships, marriages, traveling adventures, girl’s or guy’s night out, material possessions, accolades, etc. Sometimes this can enable some to portray a façade of what life is like on one side of the computer screen or smartphone.
However, there are many other sides that may not be shared so liberally. Some may share their “relationship goals” photos with their partner while hiding that they are in an unhealthy relationship, or that their partner is a cheater. Some may choose not to share the intimate details of their relationship, which can be misread as being single or unhappy. Some may share their costly material possessions while hiding the debt they’ve accumulated to obtain those possessions. Some may even choose not to share what they own or possess. This can give off the vibe that they don’t have much. Some may share their dream chasing endeavors, while hiding their unbalanced life and how they neglect their loved ones at a cost. Some may not share that they lose sleep because they are trying to maintain some sort of balance in both their relationships with their loved ones and their ambitious endeavors while neglecting their own self-care. The bottom line is that we never truly know the other side of a picture, post, or what someone decides to share in person or on social media. The internal, day-to-day struggle the next person has to endure is often unknown to most.
While on the outside looking in, it may appear to be the picture perfect life you want, you may also be extremely disappointed and discouraged when you discover one’s struggles are a packaged deal with all of the visible glitz and glamor. Comparing your life to someone else’s is a sign that you may not be grateful for your own journey and unhappy with yourself and/or life.
Sure, you may be single and desire a healthy and loving relationship with someone. But aren’t you glad you have this single time to continue to grow and evolve as an individual so that you can be whole and fully ready for your God-sent mate when they arrive? Sure, you may desire a bigger home or even a luxury vehicle. But aren’t you glad your bills are paid, you have less space in your home to have to clean, you don’t have a car note, and you’re able to save more by living more modestly? Sure, you may even desire to have a more lucrative career, but have you learned how to responsibly manage your current finances in order to handle a financial increase? (“To whom much is given, much is required.” Luke 12:48) We often admire what we can see visibly, but rarely know what it takes behind the scenes to achieve or maintain what was seen. People tend to want what they don’t have, while not realizing there’s a price to pay for everything.
I know I’ve been guilty of comparing myself to others in the past as well. There were times I compared my Chapter 1 humble beginnings in my journey, to someone else’s Chapter 20. How unfair is that to myself? I realized that everyone has a different process that they have to experience in life. Each process is unique to the knowledge and wisdom we must gain by learning from our mistakes while applying the lessons learned to our lives. By comparing myself to others, I was constantly feeling defeated, less than, and was not developing my own happiness. Once I let the comparison bug go, I was able to see and appreciate who I am, my blessings, and my life in general.
By working on yourself, being grateful for where you are in life and your own journey, you can ensure your own happiness. Besides, you never know who is looking in your backyard, or social media posts, and admiring you from a distance. Watching others too closely and becoming overly envious of them will rob you of your own joy, which can disable you from recognizing your own blessings.
Below are 5 ways to stop comparing yourself to others, and start living your own darn life – HAPPILY!
1) Practicing gratitude should not just be a once-a-year act that you only engage in on a designated holiday (ie: Thanksgiving Day). It should be a part of your daily life to ensure you never take for granted what you have and where you are in your life. It could always be worse! Try writing down 5 things you are grateful for right now!
2) When you do catch yourself viewing other’s lives, remind yourself that you are only getting a one-dimensional preview. Don’t be bamboozled by your own eyes and deceived into thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Water your own grass and yours will be just as green and vibrant!
3) If you are truly unhappy with an area in your life, then change it! Whether if it’s your weight, career, location, or relationship, you have the power within yourself to make positive changes!
4) Learn to embrace your own journey. We all have our own lessons in this lifetime to learn. Just as some have commended me on facing my painful past and healing, I too have commended others who have had different struggles and bravely overcame. Learn to admire your own strength and growth, and then you won’t become so envious of someone else’s struggle wrapped up in strength!
5) Stop being so overly critical and hard on yourself! We can be our own worst enemies at times. However, we can also be our own best friends! Choose wisely. You only get one moment at a time to cherish and one life to live!