Why We’re Running An Imaginary Race + The Impacts It Has On Us

The other day, I was talking with one of my friends about a topic that seems to keep rearing its ugly head: comparisons. This wasn’t just any type of the beast though, we talked specifically about when you compare your life to someone else’s. To me, this is danger on another level, because it can put your whole life in question.

It’s so easy to take a glance at a part of someone else’s life and wonder why you’re not where they are. From the outside, their achievement/place in life seems awesome and you can’t help but ask why you’re not there.

I’d even dare to say that this happens when we compare ourselves to our own life. For example, I recently found a picture of myself from freshman year of college and wondered why I wasn’t as trim as I was then. I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture of the reasons why, but it didn’t matter to me. All I wanted was to be that weight again. (Okay also; how many of you all are saying, “crap” because you realize you’ve done the same thing!?)

Comparisons to others, though, happen so much more frequently for me. Personally, I do it most often when I’m blogging, working out, and scrolling through social media. I’ll see someone’s life that just looks fantastic, and wonder what they did to get there that I couldn’t figure out. I tell myself that if I was where they are, I’d be content and never ask for another thing.  (Which, let’s be honest, is the biggest lie out there.)

It’s that imaginary race that exists in my mind (and in the mind of so many other women) that keeps me from being happy sometimes.

It's that imaginary race that exists in my mind that keeps me from being happy sometimes. Click To Tweet

 

IF IT’S SUCH A BAD THING TO BE DOING, WHY IS IT SO ADDICTING?

Most of the time, I’d argue we don’t even necessarily realize we’re brewing toxic thoughts. It’s something that’s become so second-nature to us, because we’ve been trained to think this way.

We might even say that comparisons on this level are healthy, because they always keeps us working hard. That might be true to some extent, but can you really be doing your best when all you’re accomplishing is being a copycat of someone else? Clones don’t exist for a reason.

can U be doing UR best when all you're accomplishing is being a copycat of someone else? Click To Tweet

It’s also insanely addicting because it’s shoved in our faces everyday. We see it all over the social medias we scroll through, and it’s near impossible to get away from it. There’s always someone who’s doing a little better than us in some area and someone whose life we just straight-up wish we had.

When an image is plastered on social media, we don’t get the chance to see the entire context. That’s dangerous, because there’s no full picture. Because of that, everyone always seems to be doing better than us.

When an image is plastered on social media, we don't get the chance to see the entire context. Click To Tweet

I’d even go as far as to say that we’ve wired ourselves to sin in that way. We’ve grown up gossiping about how pretty another girl looked that day at school or what the newest gadget was that so-and-so had or the insane thing this other person accomplished yesterday. Instead of learning to praise the person for who they are, we learned to ask ourselves why we aren’t just like them (maybe just in different words).

Instead of praising the person for who they are, we learned to ask Y we aren't just like them Click To Tweet

 

WHAT’S THE IMPACT THIS HAS ON US?

Personally, I think there’s way more to it than we’d ever be willing to admit. Even though comparisons often feel simple and harmless, they do way more than we think.

The number-one thing I’ve seen this create in women is jealousy. For example, I find myself angry and wondering why I’m not as good as that girl, or why she reached that milestone and I’m sitting here stuck. I’m not taking into account any context, and so it builds dangerous feelings in me. And truth be told: I’ve never seen anything good or productive come from those thoughts.

I’ve also seen more dramatic things happen like the loss of a friend. Sometimes, it just becomes too hard for one girl to deal with another’s life changes. They’re in two totally different places in life, and it can be the cause of huge rifts whether we want it to or not. I think this stems directly back to jealousy.

The most noticeable thing comparison creates, though, is a pause. It stops us from growing and remembering the good things we have in our own lives. When we’re completely focused on those around us, we can’t possibly hope to become a better version of ourselves. If we aren’t careful, that pause could completely derail whatever it is you’re working toward in life.

 

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

Friends: we need to stop and remember something. When we compare lives, we’re not looking at the entire picture. We’ve got no idea what it took for that person to get where they are, or what journey God has got them on. He called that person to that specific point in life because they were ready for it, and because it’s exactly where they’re supposed to be at this point in life.

When we compare lives, we're not looking at the entire picture. Click To Tweet

We don’t know the circumstances around it, or if it’s even all it seems to be. What seems perfect never is, because only God is perfect in this world.

What seems perfect never is, because only God is perfect in this world. Click To Tweet

Be thankful for your life, because God worked a long time to craft it exactly the way it is. I can’t imagine how much it breaks His heart when He sees we aren’t happy with what He created for us. Or worse, when He sees our eyes wandering to someone else’s gifts with envy.

When we do those things, we have no idea how much we’re losing. Each of us has something unique going for us that no other person has. It would be a shame to never find out what that is and use it. Furthermore, figure it out and use it on your own personal journey in life.

I swear that if you can fix your wandering eyes, you’re going to realize how much you’re actually being blessed in this moment. You might not have everything you think you want, but God knows better than us. Maybe He’s making us wait, or maybe He’s trying to show us there’s something way better out there anyway.

You’re exactly where you are for a very specific and very beautiful reason (or many hundreds of reasons). Don’t throw that out the window just to be like someone else.

 

Love,

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