Com·par·i·son – the act of examining things to see if they are similar or different.
After reading the definition of comparison, I find that it isn’t all that “bad” of a word. I think we often use it in a negative way because it is most commonly associated with comparing one person to another to see who is better. In reality, we are constantly comparing things in a way that is okay! For instance; You wake up in the morning to your stomach grumbling…so you walk into the kitchen to find something to eat. You are really craving an apple so that you can start your day off right. But this apple has to be the most delicious apple in the bunch because you are just starving! So you look in the fruit basket and find three apples. You examine and compare each one of them to find which one is best and will be the most satisfying. You pick the one with the least amount of bruises, with no rough spots, and is firm to the touch. So is it a bad thing for you to compare the apples? No.
All that to say that comparison is not always “bad”. We use it to help us make many important decisions other than what apple you should pick. Along with many other things in life though, comparison can be used to tear you down, tear others down, and even cause some serious problems for you and/or others.
If you’re like me, when you scroll through Instagram (or social media) you might think; Man I wish I could take pictures that well. This girl really has it all together. Why doesn’t my hair look like that? Their kids are so well-behaved unlike mine…
So how do we stop this comparison game? How do we look at pictures and instead of thinking those negative thoughts, we get inspired! Inspired to learn how to take better pictures or inspired to show what’s real and hard. How do we become vulnerable in a world that is constantly telling us we need to be a certain way?
First of all, I want you to know that if your life doesn’t look like other people’s “picture perfect” lives then you are not alone! If you portray a life other than the one you are actually living then I encourage you to be vulnerable. More people are struggling than you think.
A couple months ago I remember sitting with a group of some old friends as they asked me questions about my life. At first I was excited about their interest in what I had been up to as a newly married woman, but as the conversation continued I began to feel attacked. If I answered something that wasn’t up to their standards or expectations I would get these looks and questions like “well why wouldn’t you do that?” or “Why would you do that?” As this continued, I slowly began to withdraw myself. For the rest of the time I would not include myself in conversation for fear of being ridiculed because of the way I do things. These people were comparing me to their own expectations of who they thought I should be. Which then led to me comparing myself to what they thought as well. It was a circle of disappointment.
After that experience I learned that I need to let go of this comparison game. On Instagram and in real life as well. I challenged myself to be real and honest no matter how much ridicule I faced for my choices. And you know what? There have been so many amazing things that have come from honesty. I have become a part of a community on social media where people may post these cute photos but have descriptions to tell the truth and honesty about what is “behind the scenes”. Or they post pictures that perfectly depict the hardship they are facing.
So here is my challenge to you: Be vulnerable. Be real.
Nobody has the perfect life and I have found that when I share my struggles, others come alongside me to relate to me and share their journey through the same or a similar situation. As I scroll through my Instagram feed, I choose to appreciate people’s creativity and learn from it instead of focusing on how great their life must be. You all have value and your struggles are meant to be shared. If we show real life and are honest then I believe it will encourage others to do the same as well.