My name is Becca, and I’m a compare-aholic.
It takes many forms. Somedays I try to delude myself and call it “looking for inspiration.” (You know that embarassing, guilty pleasure thing where we torment ourselves by sifting through social media and comparing every aspect from our bodies, our jobs, our wardrobes to our vacations?)
It’s all harmless right?
Maybe not. According to Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
“Comparison is a refuge for the cowardly who don’t dare to belive there is something more.” -Lisa Bevere
When You Feel You Don’t Measure Up
Growing up with ever-fluctuating weight, kinky curly hair and a shy personality, I’ve struggled with that feeling. Maybe you know the one? That ugly, nagging feeling that I don’t quite measure up to everyone else. After a few tips (extracted from what should have been a cautionary tale), I developed an eating disorder at the age of 11. And, for the next ten years (until the birth of my first daughter) it was a daily struggle.
In the years that followed I took one blow after another. Abandoned with a small child. A lengthy divorce. Multiple miscarriages. Homelessness. Abused in every way. So deep in a pit of depression and just enduring one heartbreaking disappointment after another.
Once again I found myself in the throes of comparison.
I always believed that God had an amazing plan for my life. But deep in depression–as I weighed the state of my own life against the gorgeous pictures that portrayed these perfect, amazing lives of the happy families in my social media feeds–I became bitter, angry and beyond frustrated.
“God why would you allow all of this? I thought you had a plan for me?” This bitterness took root in my heart. As if, somehow, the challenges, tragedies, and heartbreak were the result of me simply not being good enough. Yet again. Comparison rears its ugly head.
Looking Beyond Ourselves
Going back and forth between despair (because of the grim circumstances in my own life) and envy (because of the amazing lives of everyone else around me), I plunged deeper into misery. When we become so focused on our own despair it becomes nearly impossible to look outward, beyond ourselves.
Instead of feeling happy for others in their success, I felt slighted. The way I looked at the successes and personal happiness of those around me only seemed to highlight how wrong my life was going.
Before tangible, lasting change can happen something deep within has to change. And, that is what happened for me.
After a particularly brutal day (as I played the comparison game of my life vs. hers on Instagram), it hit me just how ridiculous I can be. In that moment, an obvious truth (that once wasn’t so obvious) hit me at the core of my heart and soul. That moment taught me that nothing good will ever come of comparing my lowest days to someone else’s brightest. Nothing productive will EVER happen when I measure any aspect of my life against someone else’s.
I resolved that day to stop and take all of my shortcomings and lay them down in prayer. Some things we were never meant to carry. All the hurt, the bitterness, those feelings of being second rate. That was never mine to haul around.
True self worth, truly knowing your value, will never come from matching someone else’s success.
Value isn’t in a number on the scale or a size on a tag.
Take it from a girl who struggled with 10 years of Bullimia to being plus size, to every size in between. There isn’t a magic measurement to reach that will bring you the confidence you long for.
There isn’t a list of accomplishments to achieve that will make you understand your value. Five minutes in the presence of the one who created you reveals the best in you–who he created you to be, in a way that a lifetime of searching everywhere else never could. Because when you know whose you are, you discover who you were meant to be all along.
I’m in Recovery
So maybe I should say I’m a recovering compare-aholic. Every day is a choice to compare or not to compare--to choose to seek my worth in what matters versus a standard set by man.
For my daughters, for myself, with God’s help I will continue to choose to stop comparing. And, remember that, more often than not, what I see on social media is a series of someone’s best of moments and not the standard I should compare my life to.
Can I challenge you to make this the year you stop comparing. Make this year one about forgetting the secret envy of someone else’s body, wardrobe, or heck even someone else’s life. Maybe in all that comparison you’ve lost just how fabulously loved you already are. Shift the focus to the amazing life and plan God has uniquely tailored to you. I invite you to liberate yourself from all that you were never meant to carry, too.
Becca Fee-Carter is a wife and mother of 2 amazing daughters. She lives in Kentucky where she enjoys obsessively reading, running 5Ks with her daughters and bargain shopping. She loves Jesus, discovering (daily) new facets of God’s grace, and the fact that she’s so far from perfect and that is just fine. Read Becca’s posts here.