We all struggle with feelings of inadequacy, living life to be accepted by others.
One of the biggest ways we make ourselves feel inadequate is by comparing our “normal” life to everyone else’s “highlight reel.” We feel like a loser on a random Tuesday while scrolling through Facebook, because we see someone’s pictures from summer vacation, or someone’s decorations from a baby shower, or maybe highlights from an anniversary dinner. In that moment we feel like “less than” others around us, because their “normal” looks better than our “normal” but it’s not. We just don’t have the right perspective.
In David vs. Goliath, author Malcolm Gladwell has a fascinating story about the contentment and satisfaction of military policemen compared to Military officers. You would think military policemen would feel less accomplished than military officers, but Gladwell makes an incredible observation,
“…we form our expression not globally by placing ourselves in the broadest possible context, but locally-by people in the “same boat as ourselves.” Our sense of how deprived we are is relative… Which do you think, for example, has a higher suicide rate: countries whose citizens declare themselves to be very happy, such as Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, and Canada? Or countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain whose citizens describe themselves as not very happy at all? Answer: the so-called happy countries…. If you are depressed in a place where most people are pretty unhappy, you compare yourself to those around you and don’t feel all that bad. But can you imagine how difficult it must be to be depressed in a country where everyone has a big smile on their face?”
Comparison never lets you win. You only feel good about yourself if you’re able to diminish those around you, and when you aren’t able to do that, you feel inadequate. This is why it’s so important for you to stop comparing yourself to others.
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What would happen if you spent the same amount of time you spend thinking about how others are judging you, thinking about how God feels about you? That has the ability to change your perspective and your day.
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