3 Ways To Not Let Comparison Kill You
There is a girl on Instagram I wish I could be so badly that I can’t even follow her.
I wish I could roll my body like a Play-Doh snake to be as skinny as hers. I wish I could have a huge flock of followers like hers. I wish I could sew sentences together like her. I wish my life could live up to her level of earth-toned atheistic.
Feel free to laugh at the fact that I have legitimately followed and unfollowed this girl four times because I just can’t deal with her pure perfection randomly projecting on my feed, reminding me of the imperfections I had forced myself to forget about.
But did you know that the sandgrouse soaks up water in their feathers? (It’ll make sense, I promise).
The show Planet Earth was on one evening, and my roommates and I were captivated by the close up, slow motion shots of foreign animals and the deep British voice narrating it, which was also pretty foreign to three very American girls.
In this particular episode, smooth drone shots scanned a desert somewhere in Africa.
Suddenly, there wasn’t just sand. Animals of all kinds circled a watering hole, probably the only one within a myriad of miles (The British narrator probably said the number of miles, but I obviously wasn’t paying attention that closely).
Licking up the water were striped zebras, solid antelopes, massive elephants, and tiny birds, like the sandgrouse. Except the sandgrouse didn’t drink the water—it stored it in its feathers. We watched this bird flutter in the water, expanding like a water balloon. The British narrator explained that the sandgrouse does this to bring water back for its babies to drink. I had never seen anything like it, and I thought it was incredible.
But comparison makes us think that we need to be a zebra instead of a sandgrouse. We start wondering if the way we are living is good enough. Can I drink water like this or do I just look stupid fluttering in this puddle?
From the sandgrouse, I learned three survival tips, and I wanted to share them with you before it’s too late and comparison kills you (cause it can if you’re not careful).
1. We can all drink from the same watering hole.
As I watched the different sized species drink, I thought it was not only remarkable the animals were all together, but they could care less about it. I feel this longing to be like them and not care who’s next to me. Not judge them. Not judge myself. Just find joy in living in the watering hole of life together. I want to remind you that we can share this social space. She can have success without sabotaging yours. Just because her story sounds “so inspiring!” doesn’t mean yours shouldn’t be shared. When you convince yourself you’re not welcome at the waterhole because someone better is already there, you are choosing struggle instead of survival. Same goes if you take it the opposite way and start competing with her there. You’re choosing struggle. It’s hard being next to someone you compare yourself with, but being at the water together is better than being alone in the desert.
2. She is a different animal.
Sure, elephants have a thick trunk and zebras use tiny tongues, but they aren’t the swirling sandgrouse you are! Remember, she is a different animal than you. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, but if every animal was a dog I probably wouldn’t appreciate them as much. Differences bring out beauty better.
Therefore, beauty does not mean sameness. Equal amounts of beauty can be found in the way the elephants tusks reflect the sunlight as in a lions untamed mane. Tusks and untamed manes are not similar, except in the way that there is beauty in both.
I have no doubt there is beauty in you too. It will be different, yet still equivalent. And I’m not just talking about beauty in the physical sense, though that matters too. But beauty in the way you post online or how you talk with people. Beauty in the way you smile at people in the grocery store or the form you mastered in yoga. Beauty in the words you write, what you laugh at, and the way you work hard.
3. Do what you do or die.
If the sandgrouse chose to go to the watering hole, compared itself to the elephant, and instead of filling it’s feathers with water started pretending to drink with a trunk, he would die there in the desert.
And more tragic still, his babies would die too.
You were made to do something specific. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but have you thought about how maybe what you do is not just for you? What you were made to do with your life brings life to other people!
On the other side, if you live doing something someone else is supposed to do, you truly feel dead inside. Your dreams die. Your joy dies. Your energy dies. And like the sandgrouse’s babies, generations will be effected.
Yes. You are going to effect the next generation.
So, don’t let your dreams die in the desert. Do what you were made to do.
Much of this is easier to say than do. To be honest, I still can’t follow this girl on Instagram. She was even featured on a podcast I’m subscribed to, and I’ve been avoiding the episode ever since. I imagine we’re at opposite ends of the watering hole. It’s easier and less complicated to do my thing without being so close to her doing hers.
Maybe one day I’ll be ready to get closer instead of compare.
Sigh. I am a very stubborn sandgrouse.
Are you ready to let go of the self-doubt and insecurity and step into confidence and courage? Download ‘The Self-Love Revolution’ cheatsheet full of strategies that will help you kick-start your self-love journey TODAY!
Molly Marko is a mess most of the time. Molly is a part-time photographer, sometimes vlogger, insecure Instagramer, random writer, disorganized host of The Laundry Chat podcast, and a one hundred percent enneagram four with a three wing. At 22 years old, she still struggles with self-image, and unsuccessfully tries to stay sane by sipping on too much coffee. Small town Wisconsin was where Molly learned to love Jesus at the age of six and has been trying to look like him ever since. Still uncertain about what God is calling her to do with her life, Molly is currently learning to listen while simultaneously trying to clean up a little.