I compare myself to people a lot. Sometimes I do it to make myself feel better about myself, other times it only makes me feel worse and insecure. Growing up, I knew lots of teens, specifically girls, struggled with self-confidence. They’re generally insecure about how they look, their social status, or with their family life. Until recently, I’ve never even noticed that I am one of those people. Earlier than that, however, I realized that I lack self-confidence in the very person I am. I don’t speak my mind. I’m a people-pleaser. I’d rather ignore issues than dealing with them. I ignore confrontation. I apologize for anything and everything. For some reason, after I realized this, I started to develop more of the stereotypical insecurities, and as a result I began to compare myself to other girls my age. Unfortunately, it got to the point where I started being jealous of them. I’m writing this now to help anyone in a similar situation, but in all honesty, I’m still dealing with it. It’s real and constant, even if it’s “normal.”
I was talking to a friend the other day about this issue and kept going back and forth on how I felt. On the one hand, I recognized that people generally only put the good parts of themselves or their lives on social media and leave out the bad. Their feed does not entirely represent who they are. So why should I compare myself (who I know so well, including my highs and lows) to someone I know is a sinner just like me and whose life I know is far from perfect? On the other hand, I couldn’t help thinking thoughts like “Well, why aren’t my good parts of life as good as that?” Or “How do they have so many followers?” And many other thoughts that I’m still ashamed of, but are very much real. When talking to my friend, I kept coming back to statements such as “But it doesn’t even matter!” Or “Who cares?” In the end, how many likes or comments I got means absolutely nothing. Of course, it’s nice to hear encouraging things from people, but it shouldn’t be one of my main priorities. I know in my mind that being jealous and comparing myself not only doesn’t help anything, but it harms myself. It harms the relationships that I have with other people as doubt and insecurity set in. Why should they care about me while I’m such a mess when that other person clearly has their life together? Do these people love me for who I am, insecurities, flaws, and all?
But you know what? I know they do care. I know they love me. I’ve talked with several people about this issue and it’s helped so much. I first thought it was foolish to think that way and that no one would get it, because shouldn’t I have gone through that phase years ago? But it’s here, it’s real, and everyone I talked to has validated the way they feel. Of course, they wish I didn’t feel that way, but neither do they discount the fact that I am struggling.
As I mentioned in the beginning, people can compare themselves in order to feel better about themselves. I’m also guilty of this. It’s easy to think “Well, I’m better at editing photos than she is.” Or “This is her fifth selfie in a row she’s posted, does she have a life?” I hate thinking that way, but like most things I know it stems from insecurity in myself. What I’m really doing is trying to make myself feel better about myself and feel like I’m a better person. But I’m not. We’re all human. We’re all living, so therefore we all have lives. Part of having a life is developing good habits that improve your overall well-being, and hopefully the well-being of others. These two patterns of thinking that I’ve laid out are clearly destructive habits both to myself and others. It’s my goal over the next week to focus on practicing better habits in this area. I need to not obsess over other people’s lives and not constantly feel the need to prove myself to others. I need to not seek attention to feel like people care about me. I need to focus on Jesus and glorifying Him, and not myself. I need to be encouraging to people I interact with.
One reason I’m so confident in posting this is because I know so many other people struggle with these same mindsets. Like I said, I’m still working on it, but I would love to talk with you about it and offer more individual encouragement or advice. Or if you have any advice to share, feel free to comment or message me!