We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose. – Bob Goff.
In this era of social media, where everyone’s carefully curated lives are so relentlessly on display, comparison can drive you insane.
At the very least, it will probably make you unnaturally depressed and unsatisfied with your life (there’s plenty of scientific data to support that statement).
I’ve written about How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others, showing you how to avoid triggering exposures and in turn handle your negative reactions to other people’s lives-on-display. Now I’d like to go deeper. It’s time to deal with a root cause rather than the surface issues of our social landscape.
A contented, purposeful heart is less likely to be distracted by what others are doing.
The less content and fulfilled you feel with your own life, the more likely you are to be distracted and discontented by what you see other people doing or having. In fact, being distracted by the lives of others might even be a way of avoiding what you should really be doing in your life.
How are things going for you, right now? What do you spend most of your time doing? Where does your mind wander? Are you focused and present in your life, or not?
Is there something you believe that you are called to do in your life, but you’ve been resisting it?
It could be that it’s going to require more of you than you’d like to give. You might have to work harder, put more skin in the game, push yourself more.
Imagine though, if you did. What if you got up every morning, determined to move the needle in this area, or several areas of your life. Instead of scrolling through social media, or aimlessly reading online, or feeling resentful or bitter or frustrated, what if you stop avoiding it and start to DO it?
For some of us (myself included), it’s time to stop messing around and wasting time. It’s time to dedicate or rededicate yourself and your life to a specific, concrete focus or calling.
Alternatively, it could be time to simply be fully, wholeheartedly present in your life, your life as it is today.
If you can’t think of a specific task, project or vocation you are called to (that you haven’t been honoring properly), have a look at your current circumstances.
If you are a parent or spouse, how has your connection been to your family? Have you been fully engaged with them when you are together, or have you been distracted? Have you really made them a priority – not just in terms of your busy schedule, but in terms of the way you think about them, feel about them, and interact with them?
What about your work? If you don’t feel purposeful about it, it may be time to make a change. That’s not always the case, though. I had to do some work I didn’t feel “called” to in the last few years and was amazed by the amount of purpose I was able to find in it when I finally (reluctantly) paid attention, looked closely at what was actually going on and decided to give it my all. Life has different seasons. You don’t always get to do what you want, but you can always find purpose in whatever is at hand. That’s not a cliche, it’s real.
Recommit to your own life. It’s the only one you’ve got.
If you’re feeling distracted and unsatisfied (especially if you find yourself comparing your life to others), recommit to your life. Find purpose in what you have now, fully engage in it, give yourself to your life. What results and experiences you would like to see in your world? Commit to taking the necessary daily actions that will bring that about. Make a list of what they are, and put them in your calendar.
As you start each day, consider how to use your time to get the results you long for in your life. You can be purposeful about so many things—your health, your family, your work, your legacy, your community (big or small), your mental health. When you make you and your life better, stronger, and more purposeful, it benefits everyone around you.
This will take more work, effort and commitment than scrolling through Facebook, but oh it will be worth it. When you are fully immersed and engaged in what matters most in your own life, the trivial details of other people’s lives will literally pale by comparison.