I just read a really great blog post about the importance of NOT caring and how that can help you find contentment. Essentially, the blogger reminded me that the less I care about what other people think, the happier I’ll be. And that’s true. The enemy of contentment isn’t jealousy, it’s simply paying too much attention to other people’s lives. And that’s really, REALLY easy to do with social media. Most people put their best foot forward and only post the happy pictures and the oh-so-great-and-wonderful things that are going on.
Unfortunately, being inundated all the time with super happy people can make you feel pretty DIScontent if you pay too much attention to it.Don't compare yourself to others. It only leads to stress and heartache. Click To Tweet
The Surface Often Isn’t True
The big flaw with feeling discontented based on what you see online is that many, many people aren’t sharing their problems online. I mean, do you? Do you share every fight you have with your spouse, every night you ate a pint of ice cream because you felt down, or every bill you couldn’t pay? If you let yourself get too caught up in what other people are posting, it can make you feel really down, even depressed. Even if you’re going through legitimately tough times, this type of focus can make your tough times even harder.
Some people are pushing for more transparency online, and I think that’s good thing. If you haven’t seen this article about the truth behind one girl’s Instagram photos, it’s hilarious and you should really read it.
And Even if the Surface IS True, Who Cares?
And what IF your friends have perfectly happy marriages while you’re fighting? Or what if someone got a job promotion and you hate yours? Really, the successes of someone else’s life shouldn’t make us feel worse about our own (although sometimes that’s easier said than done!) Just because a friend is making more money doesn’t mean your life is less worthwhile. The truth is, that person may be jealous of something in YOUR life that she doesn’t have. We’re all unique, and there’s always something you’re offering the world that no one else can. Maybe you have a friend who is down and relies on you to help lift them up. Or maybe you’re volunteering at an animal shelter and making a huge difference there. Even if you can’t think of anything while you’re reading this blog post, it doesn’t mean you aren’t contributing something to the world that is uniquely YOU. Sometimes we’re just blind to our own gifts.
Women can be especially bad about this. It’s so easy to compare our looks to another woman’s, our age, our fashion sense… I’m not a mother, but I’ve heard that moms can compare how much they’re accomplishing to other moms and feel like they come up short. But the thing is, we’re doing very arbitrary comparisons based on imaginary, arbitrary scales in our brain. If you’re feeling down, you WILL balance the scale against yourself and think it’s legitimate. That’s just how our brains work. So remember: those scales aren’t very accurate.If you're depressed, you WILL balance your mental scale against yourself. Remember: that scale is… Click To Tweet
Comparison Leads to Gossip – Which You Should Ignore
Here’s the other side of the coin… People will hear about things you’ve done, see posts you’ve made online, and criticize you. Some people won’t be able to STOP making comparisons because that’s just who they are. And sometimes those comparisons will lead to gossip, and you’ll have a hard time not letting it get you down. If someone close to you is doing this, there may be an element of betrayal involved too. Give yourself grace in these situations. Sometimes dealing with this kind of hurt can take time. But try not to let other people’s comparisons about you get you down. Once again, ignore everyone else. 😉 If you focus on yourself and your achievements, making goals that will make YOU happy and not worrying about the gossip around you, you’ll end up happier. If you’re living to please gossipers and criticizers, you’re not really living – right?
A Biblical Thought
If you’re reading this and you’re a Christian, I want to add one more thought… Even Jesus Himself said that we shouldn’t worry about what’s happening in other people’s lives, or compare ourselves and get all worked up about it. In John 21, Peter and Jesus were talking about Peter’s not-so-pleasant future. Peter’s response was to point to John and worry that John was going to have a happier future than he would. Jesus’ response in John 21:22, was pretty simple: “Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'”
That’s the solution in a nutshell. Don’t worry about other people’s success or failures. Just worry about improving your own life and your family’s life, and helping your friends when you can. Don’t get wrapped up in comparisons. There’s no future or happiness in that.
How are you doing on this front? If you have any stories to share, please leave a comment below! 🙂
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