A year ago, when my life was seemingly perfect, I was struggling with the societal trap of comparison. The comparison trap refers to a continuous state of comparison in which one seeks to uplift themselves by putting others down or to find worth through comparisons. The comparison trap produces negative emotions such as jealousy, deceit, envy, sadness, and depression. When one falls into the mindset of uplifting themselves by putting others down, they also get into the cycle of putting down themselves when others are perceived to be better than them. If someone thinks that what they have is better than what someone else may have then it is a high chance that they will be jealous when they think someone has something better than what they have. This is problematic because everyone is at different stages in their lives and that which is perceived is not always accurate. Yeah, you might look at someone who has a lot of money and seems to be happy but that does not mean that they actually are. Just because you don’t have something that someone else has doesn’t mean that they are happier or extremely better off than you are. To think such a thing is extremely toxic and misleading. You could be in poverty and be happier than someone who is rich. You could be single and happier than someone who is in a relationship that is perceived to be #RelationshipGoals. It took me a while to come to terms with everything that I have said so far because it is not easy to reflect on your life and be honest with yourself. But when I was honest with myself, I realized that I was stuck in the comparison trap and that it was eating me up. When I acknowledge that I was in a dilemma, it was the first step of my recovery because I realized that I couldn’t heal what I refused to acknowledge.
One of the main things that I have learned throughout this journey is that the perception of things cannot be taken at face value. The perception of a thing should never be taken as its true value because we live in a society where everyone highlights the good aspects of their lives. We live in a society where individuals go bankrupt to paint a successful or desirable perception of themselves. We live in an era of social media flexing where everyone is competing against misleading and unrealistic perceptions of each other. You shouldn’t compare yourself to what you see on social media because you don’t know if what you perceive is real or fake. You shouldn’t get jealous of what others have because that which is yours cannot belong to someone else.
At one point in my life, social media flexing was very influential in how I saw myself. If I’m being honest, I wanted to be a lot of people instead of myself. I thought that their lives were so much better than mine. I didn’t realize the implications of those beliefs though because to assert such a claim is to invalidate everything that makes you who you are. You may just be envying one aspect of an individual’s life but to want their life is to not want your own life. To not want your life is to refute the claim that you are beautifully and wonderfully made by a loving God. To not want your own life is to not want your experiences, dreams, goals, relationships and everything else that makes you who you are. The craziest thing about such a dilemma is that we seek the lives of others without knowing the inner workings of them. So, in reality, we are seeking that which we are not even completely sure because it seems to be better than our own. It wasn’t until I really sat down and thought about the implications of such beliefs that I realized how illogical and toxic that they really were. I also realized that I am my own individual with my own experiences, goals, dreams, and values. I implore you all not to insult your very being by comparing yourself against that which is nonexistent. Don’t fall into the comparison trap and get infected with jealousy.
The deception produced by the comparison trap is the main reason why the topic of ‘fakeness’ is so relevant. The topic is so relevant because so many individuals in society are stuck in a cycle of comparison and jealousy. If an individual is stuck within a cycle of comparison and has been infected with the poison of jealousy, then such an individual is also more likely to deceive others and pretend to be something that they are not. They are more likely to deceive and to be considered as ‘fake’ because the lack a sense of self. The phrase ‘sense of self’ refers to one’s own perception of themselves. If someone lacks or has a poor sense of self, then they have nothing to be true to. They do not know who they are, so they would not be able to genuinely support others. Whatever one cannot do for themselves, they cannot do for anyone else so if someone is always negative towards themselves then you shouldn’t expect them to be positive towards you. If someone talks about their personal business to everyone then you can’t expect them to keep your business to themselves. If someone is unaware of their ethical values and morals, then you can’t expect that person to be trustworthy.
Having a sense of self is important because one pours out whatever is in their cup. Having a strong sense of self is also important because I have realized that insecurities are the main reason why someone would find it hard to be happy or excited for someone else. If one has a strong sense of self, then they will not be bothered by the success and achievements of others because they know who they are. If someone’s cup is filled with insecurities, negativity, and pessimism then that is what shall be poured out of their cup and into their relationships. This simple fact is the reason why it is so important to be intentional about the people that you surround yourself because the people who are in close proximity to you are the people that are pouring into your cup. Everyone should seek to protect their energy by protecting the people that help to fill your cup. A big difference in my life over the last year has been the people that I allow to pour into my cup. I use the word ‘allow’ to emphasize the fact that we have the power to choose how our cup is filled. Over the last year, I have chosen to fill my cup with the words of God and through individuals that reflect who I strive to be in life. Individuals who remind me of my self – worth and of my core values. Individuals who remind me of my dreams and goals instead of individuals who perpetuate a cycle of comparison and jealousy.
In order to strengthen your sense of self, you need to ask yourself those tough questions and be honest with your answers. In order to get in tune with myself, I had to go on a journey of self -discovery, and isolation. While your journey to knowing yourself might look different from mine, it does not matter as long as you arrive at your intended destination. If you find yourself being jealous of the achievements of others and especially your loved ones, then I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. You should just acknowledge that you need to discover yourself more so that those feelings no longer bother you. If you find yourself uplifting yourself as a result of comparing yourself to others, then you need to reevaluate the source of your confidence because life is a race in which everyone can cross the finish line together. If you find yourself putting yourself down because of others, then you need to acknowledge the uniqueness and awesomeness of your very being as you seek to know yourself more. I may not be an expert on this topic nor do I claim to know what is best for your life, but I do know the importance of self-discovery and acknowledging one’s self-worth. It is my hope that you know the importance of yourself as we all strive to navigate a society that is based on comparisons, jealousy, greed, and envy.
Blog Verse: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not have all the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” – Romans 12: 6 (NIV)
Significance: The heart cannot do the job of the lungs nor can the mouth do the job of the feet. Similarly, an individual cannot be like another because we were all created for a specific and God – Given purpose in life. We each have different gifts so the underlying concept of the comparison must be invalid since we have each been called to a different purpose and there cannot be a comparison if there is no correlation. Even though we are a part of one body or one society, there is no correlation between our purposes because they are so specific and divine. We were created to work together in acknowledgment of our own gifts and not to envy the gifts others. We also work best when everyone is fulfilling their purpose just as the human body is healthy when every part performs its function.
Until next time,