Imagine for a minute that we were enjoying coffee together. We’ve laughed—a lot. Shared some of our favorite style and food finds. And now we’re at the point where things can stay lighter get a little deep.
You know that point, right? It’s where you decide whether or not to get into the stuff that really matters. The things you keep hidden… just beneath the laughter.
This is that point.
We’re going into the deep, ladies!
Here’s what we want to know.
Have you been looking at your TV at all the beautiful women, dressed in gowns, waiting for the affection of one Bachelor and thought, “I wonder if he would pick me?”
What about scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or even TikToc comparing your life to the lives of people you don’t know and asking yourself, “Why doesn’t my life look this way?”
Do you get even a twinge of jealousy when someone else is promoted or given an award?
We know. This doesn’t happen all the time. But maybe some of the time. Maybe in moments when you’re frustrated and searching for a way to feel more fulfilled in life.
We understand. Social comparison sneaks in when we’re most vulnerable. So…
How is social comparison sabotaging your life?
As we’ve mentored women through changes that build life well, we’ve realized the slippery slope of social comparison is very real and very much a part of their success stories and struggles. On any given day, social comparison is like a preset, only this filters how you see and experience all of your life—not just a photo.
Social comparison alters your confidence, courage and contentment, simply by scrolling through the highlight reel of someone you don’t even know.
The dis-ease caused by filtering life through social comparison is a sure way to frustrate yourself and to stop you from building life well.
It’s real, but it doesn’t have to be your reality.
Let’s talk about how to protect your perspective.
THIS NEVER ENDS WELL.
The problem of social comparison became “official” in 1954 with something called the Social Comparison Theory. In short, the theory states that this type of comparison is a part of life. Everyone compares themselves to people who share similar attributes (e.g. age, gender, financial and social status), and it never turns out well.
We’ve all experienced moments of social comparison. We’ve also experienced the fallout.
People post their curated life on social media. You see their perfect smiles and perfect experiences, all with the perfect preset. As you’re scrolling through, it doesn’t take much to start evaluating your life against one that’s filtered to give you the impression that the highlight reel is the real reel. In the social media world, these filters can be pre-set to give you the same great look every time.
We know that you know not to view someone’s highlight reel as real—especially someone you don’t know. But it happens. Instead of seeing all the reasons to love your life, you end up feeling dissatisfied. You linger on other people’s pictures and posts, looking closely at what you think you lack in looks, luxuries and opportunities. Even the most innocent comparison can cause you to doubt yourself and to believe that you and your life aren’t enough.
At a practical level, social comparison wastes your time. On a mental and spiritual level, the impact can be deep as filtered lives give you every opportunity to compare your life to others… and to always come up short.
The theory was right. This never ends well.
As we’ve had to deal with the impact of social comparison in our own lives and come alongside others doing the same, we’ve worked through many of the recommendations to quell its dizzying effect. There are good practices to emulate, including unfollowing people who bring this out in you, scheduling your social time, using apps that regulate your usage and taking regular time off from social sites. We encourage you to use these as needed.
But we’re also interested in seeing you make choices that bring lasting change.
You need a new preset… a new filter for seeing things.
In the Gospel of John, we find Jesus talking to religious leaders about how to really live life to the fullest. He’s talking to people who hold themselves to the highest standard. This group was prone to comparison. Judgment of themselves and others was their way of life!
Here’s what Jesus said to help them see more clearly—to help guide them into the the life they were created to live:
A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow! (John 10:10 [TPT])
If this verse were a filter for life today (like the filters we use on social media), there would be two presets to choose from. The first, a preset for a life of lack. The second, a preset for a life of abundance.
Here’s the difference between the two.
Social comparison is another way of living in lack. It’s a thief. Nothing about it brings life. It lies about who you are. It steals your peace and your joy. It creates discontentment. It causes you to miss out on what’s good right now. It makes you crave more, so you’re never happy with what you have. It pretends to be clear, but leaves you confused. Social comparison wants you to dream of what could be, but gives you jealousy or envy in return. A life lived through social comparison is always lacking.
A life with Jesus is the way of abundant life. He gives you more than you could have imagined. He is life. He is good (1 Chron. 16:34), and He delivers so fully that you overflow. He never runs out (2 Cor. 9:8). He invites you to dream with Him (1 Cor. 3:9) and then gives you more than you imagined. He cannot lie (Heb. 13:8; Num. 23:19), so He’s always clear. And clarity comes from scripture (2 Tim. 3:16). A life lived through Him is always overflowing; just look at the life of Abraham (Gen. 13:2).
These two options leave you with a choice between two opposing perspectives: Lack or abundance? Jealousy or generosity? Confused or clear?
The presets are distinctly different. When your preset is on comparison, you live in lack. The emphasis is always on what’s missing. When your preset is on abundance, you live in “more than you expect.” It’s always focused on seeing what’s good.
Even as we write this, we wonder: Is there really a choice here?!
YOU CAN PRESET YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
To confront social comparison, you need more than healthy social media habits. These are helpful and should be practiced consistently. But habits without the right perspective will never be enough to keep you strong and stable in a life of filtered feeds.
You need to set your preset to maintain the right perspective. And while choosing between lack or life seems like a no-brainer, it’s not always easy.
The power of this preset comes from choosing it daily.
So as the week unfolds, we encourage you to do this one thing every day: choose to see what’s good in you and your life.
Read and reread John 10:10 to remind yourself that Jesus came to give YOU life that overflows. Things always look better with His perspective.
And remember, engaging in social comparison (really, comparison of any kind), is guaranteed to steal from your life. And just like the theory says, this never ends well.
As you go through your everyday life, celebrate the good moments. Celebrate when you see good things in others. Celebrate when you see goodness around you.
When you choose the right preset every day, you protect your perspective.
You were meant to see the good and to build life well!