Updated: Aug 11, 2022
How to protect yourself from comparison
I have grown up in this transition to our digital world. A constant influx of comparison and inspiration has flooded my mind since social media became the center of our world. Sure there have been beautiful things about it, but along with the beauty also came the thorns.
As I watched the world through a screen I learned of the possibilities in life, who I could be and what aesthetic I could achieve. My yearly vision board went from cut outs of Tiger Beat and Teens Vogue to curated pinterest boards from the most perfect instagram posts. I gave into exactly what they were selling me and looked past the most important thing. Truth.
You see as an overly involved high schooler from good ‘ole Wentzville MO, with an undiagnosed chronic illness, too much on my plate, ignoring depression and anxiety, and desiring to have adventure in the great wide somewhere, that online life I dreamed of was all I longed for. But quickly the seams started to crack. I could no longer manage my activities, I realized my body didn’t look or work like everyone else’s, and my ignorance of the depression allowed it to begin to eat away at me.
Comparison was my hope and my demise.
So how can you navigate an online world to gain knowledge and inspiration while protecting yourself from the steep slope of comparison?
Here are the 5 ways I guard my heart and promote it’s growth:
Your Identity. In order to be firm in who you are and not fall victim to the perfectly planned instagrams, you must learn your true identity. The truth is that the identities we wish to achieve on this earth are fleeting and when it comes down to it, unfulfilling. God created carefully and purposefully. Psalm 139:13 says that God “knit me together in my mother’s womb.” A feat which takes time, patience, and attention. He didn’t make you to be like anyone else or fit into a mold.
Want to learn more about your identity? Check out the Fearless devotional, Exceptionally Made: A Journey to Create Your True Identity in Christ. While this devotional was created with the Fearless Teens in mind, as an adult I have benefitted so much for the truth spoken in those pages.
Listen to the Lord. Don’t get me wrong I still love my vision boards and looking at inspiration for the goals I have, however those goals are no longer shaped by my own desires but by the Lord’s calling. The best way to begin listening to His voice is by getting in His Word. When we begin to read the Bible and take time to sit with Jesus in prayer we can more clearly hear where He is calling us to and what should be on our vision board instead of what Pinterest suggests.
Understand the gifts and uniqueness He has given you. Like the verse in Psalms 139:14 goes on to say, “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” He took the time to create you uniquely. So ask the question, what are those things that He made for me? What are the gifts and talents He has given me? How can I use those gifts and things that set me apart to grow into the places He is calling me, instead of learning to be like everyone else.
Get to know the real you. It’s no secret that I love a good fairytale. Frolicking through the forest in a beautiful dress to pick flowers, swimming with the sea turtles, or getting lost in a good book are things that set my heart ablaze. Yet so often I don’t let myself get caught in those daydreams and feel the need to keep up with the fast paced world. I love this message from our friend Virginia Kerr, on finding the real you. When I allow myself to lead with and indulge in the real pieces of me that don’t fit the perfect instagram molds I have much less anxiety and am able to more easily connect with God and grow.
Be okay with change. I’m not the same 6th grader cutting out posters with the top stars to hang on the collage in my closet and I’m so glad not to be. There are still pieces of her with me. However, if I had held on to that sweet girl I also would have held onto the pain and the desire to let comparison slip me into the ocean of depression. When you choose the apply the points above, God’s plan for your life will shine through and help you evolve into someone you are proud to be. Don’t let the worry of change keep you from the potential of His promises.
Begin to put these plans into action. It will take time, but I’m so excited for you. When we are able to release comparison from our lives, we can take a huge leap towards freedom from anxiety.
Bonus Tip: Sick of being beaten down each time you open your social media feed? If a page or person is no longer uplifting to you, there’s an unfollow button for a reason. Don’t let negativity or simply things you aren’t interested in clutter your mind. Everything we take in has potential to take up space, so be wise. Fill your feed with encouragement!
Get involved with Fearless Unite and join a community free of comparison and full of celebrating your true identity in Christ! Learn more here.