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The Comparison Trap

You know those people that have more than you? The people who take vacations, buy new clothes, or have influence? Life seems to come easily to them… Do you feel a subtle wave of envy and discontentment wash over you when you talk to them, see them, or look at their Instagram feed?

Often, when we are faced with people or situations that trigger within us feelings of dissatisfaction or worthlessness we either turn to grumbling and complaining or we rally our energy and spend our time trying to get more too… more money, more stability, more space (aka a bigger house or better car), more followers, more status, more independence… and yet, on the other side of more is just less fulfillment and continued dissatisfaction.

Comparison is the fuel and the vehicle that keeps us on the road of dissatisfaction within our life. This dissatisfaction has nothing to do with the life that we have and everything to do with the lives we are comparing our life to… We find ourselves dissatisfied with our marriage because we see someone else’s marriage, we are dissatisfied with our job because we look at the promotion our coworker just got, we are dissatisfied with our car because we see the new car our friend just bought, and the list can go on.

Crown puts it well by saying that in today’s culture of social media, it is easy to be down on yourself when you are scrolling through your phone, comparing everyone else’s highlights to your blooper reel. These topics of comparison, dissatisfaction, and social media impact every person regardless of gender, but on average, women spend three and a half hours each day on social media. And much of that time is spent within the comparison trap. Not only that, but in a recent survey, 42% of moms reported that they experience stress from trying to compete with (or just keep up with) the things they see online. From these stressed-out moms, 75% of them shared that they also add pressure to themselves.

But be encouraged! There are solutions to this seemingly overwhelming struggle. In my life and in my practice, I see three beautiful antidotes to comparison.

1. Contentment

This is a tricky word that is often used in different contexts but let me explain what I mean by contentment. The definition of contentment I ascribe to comes from Nona Jones who said, “Contentment is the ability to live your life in the moment that you are in while being grateful for it- not because you are waiting on the next thing, but because you have what you have right now.” Living in gratitude brings contentment. And, when we get to that point, we are no longer held captive by the temporary things of this world that fight for our attention and drain our joy. Learning to understand and unlock the power of contentment in our story brings about a freedom and an ability to celebrate the gains of another person without viewing those gains as a threat to our own value.

2. Purpose

Only you possess the exact skills, gifts, and personality in the specific combo that you do. No one else does! You truly bring something exceptional and distinct to the table that no one else can. When we are focused on our passion, our journey, and our unique purpose we find that we no longer have the time or energy to be distracted by comparison.

3. Safety

It is so important and vital to have safety with a few trusted people- people who you do not have a desire to compare your life to, but rather can live authentically with. When we have a few safe people whom we can confide in and who see our value regardless of our performance, we develop the ability to dare greatly, knowing that we have people who will support us, love us, and catch us when we fall.

In addition to these three heart changes, you might want to try a behavioral change as well. Try taking a break from social media by deleting the apps off your phone. Replace the time you would have spent online with a book, a journal, a podcast, a walk, or time with your favorite people!


You bring so much to this world simply by being you. You have value because of who you are, not just because of what you can do. The parts of you that you view as your kryptonite are what actually make you wonderful. Keep going, keep growing, keep showing up with transparency and authenticity. Practice contentment through gratitude, purpose through passion, and safety through connection. We are with you!