I’ll admit it, I’m an Instagram lover and user. But I have to tell you a secret… my life is a lie. My Instagram life that is.
Yes, the photos are all mine, the kids, the home, the family, the life… But Instagram, with all the angles and cropping and filters, just isn’t real. It’s like those mornings at home where I get up and slide into workout clothes, hair tossed haphazardly in a ponytail, makeupless and water bottle in hand… knowing full well I’m not headed to the gym and most likely won’t even fit in an at-home workout. At least I look like I could have gone or I will be going, and that makes me feel better about running errands in public without actually getting “fixed up” for the day. Oh wait, you’ve never done that? I guess it’s just me then.
I like finding beauty in everyday things and preserving as many of the sweetly special moments I can. I have fun playing with those angles and different ways to crop, and filters? Pic-tap-go with brightside and crispity is my jam! I like taking a simple, regular moment and making something beautiful from it. But do you want to know the truth? For every “leg shot” there are hundred more of the same, some blurry, some weird and unflattering, some with feet cut off… All that didn’t make the cut, because they weren’t the beauty I wanted to see in that moment.
And in scrolling through my Instagram feed of other amazing “grammers” that I follow, I know I m not the only one.
I can be settled and content, truly happy for the happiness and beautiful moments of others I see on Instagram and in real life, because I’ve learned to be content in my own, my own beautifully ordinary moments. I used to think that contentment was a dirty word, one that lacked drive and passion. I viewed contentment and passion, contentment and purpose, as opposites. And since I’m a passionate person, certainly I couldn’t be content, right? Because the two just don’t mix. Contentment isn’t sexy. Or so I thought.
Just being happy where you are in life? Is that even real?
I remember vividly, a moment just a month after that fateful early delivery on the bathroom floor… my last miscarriage, when I was scrolling through the images on social media and came across a friend, beautifully pregnant and enjoying the rounded curve of that baby bump, about as far along as I would have been. “I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be there! I don’t want to start over! I should be welcoming our baby soon!” I cried the words through fits of tears and resentment. Resentment for who I was at the moment. Resentment for where someone else was at the moment. I was tangled in the web of comparison and discontentment. There, I realized that being content didn’t mean that I wouldn’t move on or start the next chapter… it meant that I didn’t have to find my value in how my life stacked up against others’ lives.
Discontentment is a stealer. It will steal from your satisfaction in life, and every day spent in discontentment and comparison is a day lost in realizing and experiencing the value in what you do have.
Here’s the thing, contentment doesn’t mean that we stay where we are, it doesn’t mean that we get lazy and vacation from life and purpose, forgetting to move forward. But what it does mean is that no matter where we are in our journey, in the good and the bad, in the painful places and the mountain tops, we can be settled, we can learn and grow and stretch through it.
So my question to you today is this… Has comparison replaced your purpose? You don’t have to find your value in how you measure up against others. Your life isn’t measured in how many “likes” you get or how many followers you have. You don’t have to strive to be better than someone else. So many people out there need you, the real YOU, where you are in life right now. They need the you that you were created to be. They need your talents, your heart, your voice, your fullest potential… not a life robbed of potential by comparison.
The next time you find your finger habitually swiping away at your phone screen to scroll through Instagram, remember that what you’re seeing are curated moments of someone’s life. Let yourself enjoy them, be inspired by them, but don’t let them devalue or distract you from the beauty in your own.
Today, I want to remind you of this. YOU are enough. Be you, in real life and it will pour out into every area of your life, including social media. Comparison isn’t my purpose, and it isn’t yours either.