PODCAST Ep4: How to Handle Comparison

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It is so easy in this day in age to find ourselves feeling awful about ourselves as we scroll past friends lives that seem so much greater than our own, worse than that internet strangers. Comparison is a hurdle we will all deal with in one way or another if we choose to participate in social media at all, so let’s dig into why we might compare and then some ways we might address it.

The outcome of comparison usually makes us feel bad about ourselves and when that happens in order to protect our own hearts often we begin to judge people to whom we are drawing this comparison. It’s easier to villainize someone we see as yelling at us subconsciously that we are not enough, coming up with all the reasons why we have come to the conclusion they are “better, more successful, etc” than us. They must be bad at…fill in the blank. If we can justify their success is somehow bad, for that moment it relieves us, but ultimately we end up back in square one and have added some resentment into the mix.

No matter how we tackle this issue on the surface it is so vital that we do some digging and ask ourselves what is at the root of this problem? Who are the people who really seem to trigger us? What is it about them? Why do we think that is? Instead of just feeling the feelings and jumping into our coping mechanisms, unearth the pain that comes up and where it may reside in our hearts. What is the belief we have bought about our unworthiness? Has this woman actually intended to make us feel this way, is it really her fault, or is it something I have yet to let Jesus have full access to in my brokenness?

Let me be super honest with where I am at in my life right now, I am struggling with my self worth like I haven’t in a long time, for a very shallow reason, my hair. Back in May I got it done and perhaps the bleach was left on too long, but it is fried and there is no help for it. Yep, I have watched every YouTube tutorial on what to do, what to use, bought so many oil treatments, leave in conditioners and had moisture treatments done at a salon and the only real solution is to let it grow. The last hairdresser I went to told me it would be two years till my hair was back to normal.

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f you know me you know hair has been my thing. I have never been that stylish, never been great at makeup, always have had extra fluff on this old body, but I always have appreciated the resilience of my hair. If I told you the truth, almost any time I get ready to go somewhere that my hair has to look presentable I either cry or just feel awful about myself. My dark roots are growing out and I don’t dare add more color on, and if you are reading this post I will bless you with the reality of this hair below. What is it about the fact that I know that it’s going to be a far fetched dream for me to think I will ever feel pretty between now and 2021 that makes me just want to hide in my bedroom and never come out..

All of the sudden everyone has beautiful, soft, glorious locks and comparison has come to scream at me and mock me while it’s at it. I know it’s “just hair” but in this season of struggle is a new question, “how can I keep showing up, keep loving others, and keep believing God even when feeling so awful about myself?” It’s easy for it to snowball and let insecurity start defining us, rather than God, looking at all we’re not that we wish we were.

We believe somewhere deep down, sometimes greater in one season than another, that we are not acceptable, lovable, worthy. I don’t know about you but I assume people are going to be as mean to me as I am to myself and so building walls , judging other, pushing others away, seems much safer. Like an exposed nerve we react than daring to hold still and saying, “even right now, even in my lack, even when my heart hurts so bad and I don’t feel like I have anything to offer, please help me receive your love.” When we dig to the bottom and we find what is underneath the pain we experience in comparison we find that other people often have little to do with what it is we’re truly struggling with.

Another thought we might struggle with is when we see someone else experiencing or walking in something we want or have been praying for the Enemy comes to lie to us that God somehow loves her more, has accepted her and rejected us. Not true. It is not true that there is only so much love, gifting, blessing and when someone else has it there is none left for us. As many flowers there are on the earth, or hair types, or laughs, is the reflection of a creative God who knows what He is doing in our differences. Comparison means that we believe that who God has made us, the season He has us in, and the life that we’re living is wrong, that He is getting it wrong, that we are, but if we are trusting and following God we can embrace that even when it’s not looking exactly how we might want it to, He is still loving us best.

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The famous quote says, “We are comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s high lite reels.” We know what we are dealing with and how hard it is sometimes, but what if we let God love us in the middle of that? We don’t know what they’re walking through many times either, let’s have grace for ourselves and grace for others.

We may continue to struggle with this, but we can put some things in place to help us fight against it. One thing we can do is learn how to define for ourselves what we call “SUCCESS”. If we think what ever someone else is doing is what we have to do in order to be successful we will always struggle and always feel like we aren’t measuring up but we can re frame our thinking, take our thoughts captive and put on the mind of Christ. Maybe for us, success is that our children are joyful and feel secure? Maybe it’s getting three workouts done in a week? Maybe it’s getting a date night with our husband or spending good, quality time with the Lord in His Word and worshiping Him. Maybe our success is too ambiguous and so we’re always seeming to reach for something, but it’s not even really what we want. What is it that God, not our society defines as successful?

We can also ask ourselves, what is it that is triggering us and what can we do to guard ourselves? If we are in a struggling season or just know what get’s us into a comparison zone, let’s not do the things that bring us those thoughts. For me, it’s not scrolling through social media, sometimes at all. We can torture ourselves in this capacity when we don’t have to. We can put our phones down and run to the Lord and say honestly, “My heart hurts Lord, please help me!”

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In John 21 we see Peter being restored by Jesus and Him prophesying to Peter all the things that He would suffer for Jesus’ sake. We see John saunter up and Peter asks the Lord, “What about him?” Jesus answers him as He answers us, “What is that to you? You must follow me.” The only one we can be responsible for how they followed Jesus, is ourselves. Keep following Him bravely!

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