“She’s more athletic.”
“She’s a better mother.”
“She’s so much craftier.”
“She seems to never do anything wrong.”
“Every single guy is in love with her.”
“She’s skinnier and she eats whatever she wants!”
Sometimes I think part of being a woman is to struggle with comparison. And social media has only made it more difficult. I know throughout my life, comparison has definitely been one of my biggest struggles. We want to feel loved and special, and when there’s someone better than us in some way, it can make us feel insignificant.
I still remember when my struggle with comparison began, or at least when it became more apparent to me. When I was younger, I used to dance…tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, modern, you name it. All through elementary school, dance was my LIFE. I danced 6 days a week, and if I wasn’t in class, you could find me practice-tap dancing (in normal shoes) on whatever surface I was standing on…my kitchen floor, 1st base during a T-ball game (no joke), our driveway…you get the point. So obviously, tap was my DOC (dance of choice). But I was definitely not the prima ballerina. At an early age, I started comparing myself to my peers, and although I knew I was really good at tap, I also knew I was nowhere near as good as my friends at ballet and jazz.
Then high school hit. I stopped dancing and started playing sports, so I was still getting a lot of exercise, but you know how high school is. It’s just plain tough. If it’s not your weight, it’s your popularity, or your athleticism, or your grades, etc. And thus continued my lifelong struggle with comparison.
Even as a 27 year old, comparison creeps up in unexpected ways. I may not compare myself to others based on my popularity or dance skills, but now it’s comparing my blog to other blogs. Or comparing how exciting my life is to others (based on the ever-truthful Facebook). Emily P. Freeman speaks directly to this in the book I quote often, A Million Little Ways:
“I read the inspiring words other people write and I get a hole in my stomach. That hole is a drain where inspiration and courage swirl around like dirty water, faster and faster until they disappear forever, leaving me alone and dejected in a land where I am a loser with nothing to say.”
You know what? Comparison sucks. It literally sucks. It sucks the life right out of the one you’re living. It can make you stop living your life, because you feel like your “art” doesn’t matter. Your art isn’t as good. And all of the sudden you believe your art is insignificant.
It’s time for a new yard stick.
What’s the point of blogging when there’s so many better blogs out there? The point is that this blog is MINE. It’s unique. It may not be the most professional-looking, or the most read, or the most eloquent, but that doesn’t matter. I blog because I love sharing my stories with others, and because God has given me a passion for blogging. Same goes for musicians, and party-planners, and accountants, and even dog walkers. Just do it cause you love it.
A few days ago I heard of an app that makes you look skinnier. Literally, you can choose 5, 10 or 15lbs and it’ll take your picture (selfie) and slim your face down to look like you lost that much weight. Like, seriously?!! What is this world coming to. We’re not only comparing ourselves to unreal, photoshopped versions of celebrities, but now we’re going to have unreal, “skinnified” versions of ourselves to compare to.
What happened to just being you?? Authentic, real, human YOU. What are we teaching young people by creating apps that make them prettier and skinnier than they really are with the click of a finger? We’re teaching them that they are NOT.GOOD.ENOUGH.
It’s time to stop looking around and start looking UP. Because when God looks back at me and you, He sees someone so wonderful and so unique, that no one else can compare to ME. Or to YOU. Not in a cocky way, but in a “I’m me, and God loves me, and that’s all that matters” kind of way. We need to stop worrying about what others think of us, and how we compare to them, and start thinking of ways we can be even more uniquely us. Cause there will never be another you, or another me, so why waste that life by wishing we were someone else?
You will never know the impact you can have on the world, if you spend all your time and effort trying to be someone else.
You’re invited to join me in my new mission of looking up instead of looking around, and simply being me.