Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Comparison Trap



Whoa.
I mean.
Whoa.

I wrote two weeks ago about being content. I guess maybe learning to be content and at peace with where God has me right now is something I am in the process of learning at this current point in time.

Most of the time these days, the primary reason that I lose my feelings of joy and contentment is that I have fallen into the comparison trap.

Ugh.

Constantly comparing myself to others.

What an ugly place to be.

In fact, I fell asleep praying about it last night because I hate that I do it! I am ashamed to admit how often.

Most times, the catalyst for these feelings is social media.

Double ugh.

So when I logged on to Facebook this morning, I loved seeing this post by Glennon Doyle Melton of the popular blog Momastery titled "5 Reasons Social Media is Dangerous for Me".

This paragraph in her post felt like she was reading my thoughts exactly:

Like I once heard an Olympic swimmer say: “I swim best when I mentally stay in my own lane.” No matter how satisfied I am with my stroke and my pace before I log on- Facebook shoves me right out of my own lane and back into the ridiculous hunch that I’m not good enough, that I’m missing something important, that I don’t have enough peace and success and that everyone else is living a more fulfilling, fabulous life than I am. If Facebook has this effect on us, we can forgive ourselves. Because all we’re doing is using it exactly the way it was intended to be used. Facebook was designed by college boys to decide how “hot” one woman was compared to another, and now we use it to decide how hot one woman’s life is compared to another’s. Sometimes. 

Glennon- we are soul sisters! Thank goodness I am not the only one who feels this way.

Have you ever logged on to Facebook (or any other form of social media for that matter), only to log off feeling like something is missing in your life? Like somehow everyone else out there is living a life far more exciting and worthwhile than your own? I know I have. Too many times.

And really it says more about the condition of my own heart and thought life that I could let something like social media change my attitude in that way. But its a daily struggle for me.

Because everyone's life looks perfect on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest doesn't it?

We don't always see the messiness of life posted for all to observe do we?

I log out and find myself thinking that everyone else has more well behaved children, a nicer house/wardrobe/car, a more romantic and wonderful husband than I do, more excitement in their life, a deeper walk with Christ, etc. etc. etc!

Even typing that out and seeing it written is kind of embarrassing. I am sure I am not the only one that has fallen prey to these thoughts- am I?

I know that there are so many wonderful benefits to social media, but lately for me, I am learning I need to use them with caution and a prayerful heart.

I have been praying about how I can limit my usage and metaphorically "log out" in order to be more of participant in what is going on around me. To connect with my family and friends in a more meaningful way.

I am still figuring out changes that I need to make, but here is what I am thinking so far:

1. Be Still.

Psalm 46:10 (AMP)
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.

Enough said right? I need to stop comparing, planning, worrying, and controlling and take more time to BE STILL. To rest in Jesus and take the time to enjoy his presence and cultivate a heart of gratitude.


2. Do the Work.

One of my favorite blogs is Hollywood Housewife. Laura recently wrote a post titled "Do the Work".
It got me thinking that I need to quit browsing, planning, and being envious of others and do the work I have set out before me.
I have a long list of house projects/blog posts/diy ideas that I have yet to start. For goodness sake, I still haven't framed any of our family pictures or pictures of my beautiful baby girl!
I just need to step away from social media for a minute and get started on what I have before me.
I will keep you updated on how that goes.

3. Step away from the phone.

I have decided to eliminate social media apps from my phone. Its the biggest part of my problem! Those dang Facebook alerts have me trained to look at them right away. Or I am tempted to post every adorable picture of my sweet baby instead of just BEING with my sweet baby. So enough is enough.
The phone is going to remain in my bag where I can hear it ring and thats it!



That's all I have so far. As I make these small changes I will update you on how it goes. I am confident that I will become better at not falling into the comparison trap as often if I can make these changes.

My prayer is that it will reset my thinking. Restore my joy. That I will use my time more effectively to do things that matter. To be more present and focus more on my relationship with my family and strengthening my faith. 

Question: Have you made any changes to your social media habits this year? 

I would love to hear about them!

21 comments:

  1. Hey Meggie! Christine from LifeWithACapitalLblog.com with SITS Tribe! I love your post and struggle with this A LOT! But whenever I start to feel the insecurity creeping back after scrolling through social media, I repeat to myself a quote from Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church - "Stop comparing yourself to everyone's highlight reel." It puts things back into perspective for me and reminds me that people don't post their failures, they only post what they want everyone else to see and respond to.

    Love the blog!

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  3. Good for you Meggie! How is it going with your social apps off your phone? I've debated taking mine off - for the same reasons you list above - but I'm scurred!!! :) What will I do without my comforting little distractions???

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    1. Its been hard Christa! I am not sure it will be permanent....but I like that it has quieted some of the noise and lessened distractions for me for the time being :)

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  4. Do you know!! I have a post in limbo/drafts so similar to this its crazy!!! I love this. Spoke to me in a million ways times a million. Awesome post:)

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    1. forgot to add that your part of my tribe:) So nice to meet you. Can't wait to read more!

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    2. So glad you liked it! I knew I wasn't alone :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I'm also from your SITS tribe. Have to say that I have this problem all the time. As women, I think we always try to be great at everything and when we see others that sometimes look amazing on paper, we can't help but judge ourselves. Ug. My husband keeps telling me I need to be comfortable in my own skin. It's a little like that swimming in your own lane thing. Definitely something I have to take one day at a time. And some days I realize I can't compete and I have myself a daiquiri and all is right with the world. lol. :)

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    1. For me its a glass of wine, a few deep breaths, and a silent prayer and all is right with the world again :)

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  6. Very well written. I struggle with comparing myself with all the "perfect" people I read about. I have had to learn (truthfully am still learning) to keep my eyes on my own tasks - the needs MY family has. I don't have a phone with apps so that's good, but I do try to limit my computer time in the morning until my work is done. It does make a difference. Oh, and I'm stopping in from SITS tribe. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  7. I find I compare myself to some of my other mom friends who seem to have the whole parenting thing figured out....especially being so organized. I'm the complete opposite...but I'm trying my best to mentally stay in my own lane too...it's a work in progress!

    Visiting from the new SITS Tribe :)

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    1. The more I talk and listen to other women the more I realize none of us truly knows what we are doing- we are all just doing the best we can. We are all a work in progress! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  8. GREAT post! stopping by from SITS!
    A good friend once told me that we have this idea of the "perfect" mom but it's a composite of everyone's "best" parts that we see on facebook - there isn't one person that does it all. So we think we all need to be that really crafty, have ironed clothes, be a gourmet chef, start an organic garden... but that isn't one person - it's a bunch of people :)

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  9. Hi Meggie, I am in your SITS Tribe--and so glad. Love this post. I love the idea of Being Still (it feels impossible at times) and doing the work. So many times I get stuck making the lists, sucked into Facebook and I simply stop doing the work. Facebook is amazing--but it has so many traps and pitfalls. Can't wait to read more. xoxo

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    1. Taking time to be still is the hardest for me! But I am learning to be better at it. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  10. Hi Meggie! Stopping by from our SITS tribe! I couldn't agree with you more about how social media can knock you out of your lane. I notice that depending on whether or not I'm already feeling a bit down or stressed, FB can totally make me go from 0-60 in a heartbeat...and it is so silly! I try to tell myself to view it as inspiration and meditation/prayer every morning helps me "stay in my lane". Love the first point about "Be Still". I don't think most of us do that enough!

    I look forward to connecting with you this week!

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  11. Stopping by from our SITS tribe! Looking forward to connecting more :) And TOTALLY I have struggled with comparing myself to others my entire life!! There are times where I just have to unplug completely and focus on being the best ME, and ignore all else!

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    1. Unplugging is definitely a good way to gain back some perspective. I need to do it more often! Thanks for reading :)

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