Christmas music is playing throughout your house. You’ve got your Tupperware bins of holiday decor strewn across your living room. Sparkly ornaments, garland, big red bows, silver sparkles and twinkling lights are littered across the floor. You take a step back to look at your tree and smile. “It looks really good,” you think to yourself.
And then… You take a step away from the tree and pick up your phone sitting on the counter. You tap onto your Instagram or your Facebook and start your mindless scroll. You see a dozen more Christmas trees in your feed… “They have better ornaments,” you start to think to yourself, “their tree is fuller – mine is too narrow…” “They placed their ribbon better than I did, ugh, and their ribbon is just better….” As you continue to analyze their pictures you turn back to your own tree and your heart kind of sinks. “Mine isn’t as good as theirs,” you whisper to yourself.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED…?
Only minutes prior you were happy. You were content. You were proud of yourself and your beautiful decor. And in an instant. In a click and a swipe you allowed it all to be taken away…
The COMPARISON GAME.
The feeling of “not good enough.” If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a dozen times, “comparison is the thief of joy.” And friends, that is the honest to goodness truth. And we MUST BREAK THAT CYCLE – we must find a way to stop doing this to ourselves. And yes, this can happen all throughout the year… But for some reason, it happens even more often during the holidays…
Your kids wrote out their Christmas Lists and you have them tucked away in your purse as you head out Black Friday shopping. You grab a bunch of the items on their list, and while not all, you felt proud of yourself for snagging some great deals and getting your kids some of the items from their beloved Dear Santa list. As you head back to your car with a shopping cart full of your purchases, content with what you’d just accomplished, you pull out your phone while sitting in your car in the parking lot. You click into your Facebook and pop into your local moms group where different ladies are raving about how many gifts they got their children. “I got Johnny EVERYTHING on this list,” one mom exclaims, “and I even added some bonus things he didn’t ask for! He’s going to be so excited!” Another mom chimes in, “We got everything from my kids’ list too AND we decided to bring them to Hawaii for a bonus surprise!” As you read through this thread you take a glance at your backseat and immediately your heart starts to sink. You didn’t have the money to get your kids everything on their list… You certainly don’t have the money to bring them to Hawaii… All of a sudden, all of the gifts you carefully selected for your kids, feel like just not enough.
WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?
Why do we allow others to alter our feelings of self-worth. Why do we allow what others say or do change how we feel about what we’ve done or what we’ve accomplished?
In our current society social media plays such a large role in our lives, even if we don’t want it to. Everywhere we turn we have the ability to get wrapped up in the life of someone else. To see the places they go. Where they live. Their home. Their clothes. Their possessions. Their life… We allow these things to make what we have, feel less. To leave us feeling like we need to have more, to be more. However… I think it’s safe to say no one is exempt from this feeling. The richest person in the world is out there coveting something someone else has. I think it’s important we know that happiness doesn’t depend on the “if only I could make more money,” or “if only I could have that,” because that mentality will truly never leave you feeling content and it will definitely never leave you happy. No. The key to happiness and the key to feeling content is to be grateful. To be thankful. For what we DO have and NOT comparing that to what we don’t.
…Listen, I’m not perfect either, friends. I fall into the trap from time to time myself. I’ll be content with something I have until the moment I see what someone else may have and then I find myself questioning myself, too.
I have learned how to combat it. I’ve learned to recognize the feeling as soon as it starts to happen. To address it. To shake it off and tell myself to KNOCK IT OFF. To remind myself to take a step back. To look around at the many blessings in my life and not for a moment feel an ounce less appreciative and thankful for those things. That’s the key, friends. When you feel that churning feeling in your stomach when looking at what someone else has, or what someone else does – STOP YOURSELF. What do YOU have to be thankful for? Because I can almost guarantee you, there’s something in YOUR life that someone else is wishing they had – while you’re sitting there taking it for granted.
So as you look around at your house… With your stockings hung with your families’ names stitched in red at the top, the twinkling of the lights bouncing off your tree, the Santa Claus statute holding hands with Mrs. Claus on your entryway table… Smile to yourself. Feel that joy. And as you peek into the hall closet where you’ve carefully tucked away the gifts for your kids’ on Christmas morning… Allow your mouth to curve into a grin. Feel content. Think of their faces on Christmas morning when they tear into those gifts you carefully chose for them. Soak that feeling up. Hold onto it. And the next time you’re sitting there – mindlessly scrolling through your social media – and you begin to compare what you have to what someone else is sharing – remind yourself of the joy you felt. Remind yourself how thankful you are for what you have. And just tell yourself to release everything else. To let go of the comparison. Let go of the feeling of “not enough” and just allow yourself to be content in what you have. Right now.