I spent a lot of this weekend doing something I know is wrong—something I know I hate, something I know makes me feel small every single stinking time.
I spent this weekend scrolling through my Instagram, hitting refresh again and again, trolling other people’s profiles, and wondering why the heck so many more people follow them than follow me.
This is so humbling to admit—so disgusting actually. I’d much rather pretend I’m above this kind of behavior–that I never succumb to the temptation to compare.
But I do, and I did, and I spent the majority of the weekend feeling small as a result—all of the things I don’t have at the front of my mind, center stage.
Have you ever found yourself doing this? I bet you have.
It’s easy to compare our lives on Instagram. A big part of it is that it’s all about the numbers. Just like our weight or our pant size, there’s this number at the top of each of our pages, and hearts on our photos that say how many people like us, how many people care what is going on in our lives, how many people want to see what we have to share.
Sometimes this number sits there peacefully, allowing us to be us, and not taunting us with the fact that we should be more.
But other times, it begins to whine—softly at first, but louder the more we listen to it. The number seems to get smaller and more pathetic under our gaze, and the more we glance over at other people’s profiles to see how many people follow them.
The longer we look at the number, the smaller we feel too, the more significant that small number feels and the more insignificant all of our other dazzling attributes become. So what if I’m a good friend, or a good writer, or a good wife? She has more Instagram followers, nothing else matters.
It’s ridiculous, but if we’re honest, I think most of us have felt this way—our worth and our likability dictated to us by tiny numbers on our touch-screen.
I’m mad that I let myself feel this way—that I let my mind get small and narrow and compare-y like that. I’m mad I spent my whole weekend feeling so small, that all of my accomplishments, relationships, and who I am as a person faded into the background because of an insignificant little number and how it measured up to the number of other women I admire.
I want to tell you that I got over it, or that I found some sort of magic Jesus cure that made me feel better once and for all, but I’d be lying. I found a way to feel better, a way to win the battle, but I know comparison is a war we’ll wage as long as there are people who are better than us at things—or in other words, forever.
So instead of ignoring it, or feeling defeated under the weight of the war comparison wages against us, I started taking little stabs at that pesky comparison, winning over a bit of ground at a time for the good guys.
I started reminding myself why I’m special, what I have, and who I have in my life.
I started thanking God for the people I love, and reminding myself of how much they mean to me and I know I mean to them. I started reminding myself of what I’m good at, and thanking God for how He’s blessed me and skilled me. I started reminding myself that I’m still growing—that I’m in process, not finished, not the final product.
And slowly but surely, the number at the top of my profile started to fade into the background of my life again, back to where it belongs. I’m sure it’ll pop out again when I’m feeling small, or in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. But I’ll do the same thing I did this last time. I’ll take the truth of who I am, and why I matter, and stab at comparison until he goes away—exposed as the little jerk that he is.
Comparison may always try to sneak into our minds and our lives, but we don’t have to let him win.