Comparison is truly the death of joy. I deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps from phone a few weeks ago because of this.
One of my best friends is someone of which other women could easily be jealous. She’s accomplished, highly successful, crazy-smart, and athletic. Then, of course, let’s throw in that she’s drop-dead gorgeous. She’s the girl in college who could go out and party and then come home and whip out a paper at 2 a.m. and get a 100% on it (while the rest of us were at home reading Scripture). She did all of this while paying 100% for her college education AND thriving as a student-athlete.
And yes, if you know my best friends, I just described one of about 12 women. For the sake of this particular blog post, though, I’m discussing Kimberly Epperson Whitefield.
Kimberly grew up in Topeka, where I currently live, so naturally we tried to get together while she was in town recently. I had not competed in a race since May, and I really needed to see if I was making progress. (I have a slight addiction to fitness apps.) The original plan was that I would pick Kimberly up after I ran and we would have breakfast together. However, she said she “wanted to get a workout in,” so I invited her to join me for my race. I knew that she was much faster than me, so our “quality time” would have to be on the drive there and then on the drive back to her mom’s house.
So in typical fashion, Kimberly shows up (after going out the night before, of course) and runs a sub-30 minute 5K and WINS our age group. Unbelievable. I could have easily been crazy-jealous of her. After all, if she hadn’t shown up, I would have won that precious gold medal. I took second place in the race.
One thing that running teaches you is to run your own race. My goal going in wasn’t to beat Kim. It was to beat my own time and run at the pace on which I had been working. It is SO easy to get on social media and make comparisons to what everyone else is accomplishing and doing. Did you know that people only post 5% of their life on social media? Do you think it’s the “bad 5%”? Heck, no! We all know that intellectually, but it’s very easy to forget.
If comparison is killing your joy right now, here is my advice:
1. Delete social media apps from your phone—Not only is it a complete waste of time, but it will also steal your joy by sucking you into a cycle of comparing your life to others.
2. “Raise the bar” in your life—I believe you become like the five people you hang out with the most. If your “five” aren’t accomplishing anything or aren’t the best influences, then perhaps you should find some friends who can “raise the bar” for you.
3. This one might be the most important: Run YOUR race. Set YOUR goals and focus on those. I was much more excited that I set a new personal record during the race and hit the paces I wanted, as opposed to winning my silver medal.
Stop comparing! Instead, start enjoying life more with each passing day.