“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” — unknown
You know, social media is such a mixed blessing. On one hand, it’s wonderful to stay in touch or reconnect with old (or new) friends. On the other hand, it can be so counterproductive.
Facebook, in particular, can feel like this perpetual highlight reel of our friends’ lives, the best of everything they experience and accomplish. Some people seem to have the most awesome parties, spouses, promotions, kids’ achievements, travels, cars, cleverness, etc. Meanwhile, we see and compare these snippets from our friends to all of the footage from our own lives — this mountain of stuff that isn’t carefully curated. Most of us would be mortified if a lot of our footage ever saw the light of day – our awkwardness, mistakes, insecurities, loneliness, hurts, etc.
Yesterday I posted about a race I did over the weekend — and a finish I felt really great about. I was overjoyed, in fact. I’ve been working so hard and this was the best possible result I could have hoped for.
I didn’t post anything about it on Facebook, but I did notice a lot of my friends ran races that morning, too.
Then it happened. One of my friends ran a different race a few hours from here. Only she ran a longer race. And she ran it at a faster pace. She even won her age group. And while I’ve lost weight during this season, she’s lost more. And she looks better. Then another friend popped up. She, too, had run a race a ways from here. A shorter distance, but she also won her age group. And she was faster than me. Aaaand she’s also skinnier than me. Ugh.
Never before have I experienced the expression, “comparison is the thief of joy” in real-time. Fortunately I was able to catch myself, stop the negative momentum, and put the shine back into my thoughts. Comparing my entire experience to someone else’s highlight is ridiculous. My journey is my own and my best is enough.
But how remarkably unfair are we to ourselves – and to others – when we make these pointless comparisons?? It’s not as if our candles would burn brighter if we could blow someone else’s out. So why not just glow together? I have to believe that if we would all simply encourage each other to shine, we could light one helluva path.