Do you compare yourself to other people? Most likely the answer is “Yes!” Hey, we all belong to the sisterhood of the traveling dissatisfied pants. And if you are male, you are not exempt! Comparisons are easy to make in this saturated media environment in which we live.
Years ago, I wrote a book, “Making Peace with Your Thighs”, based on how difficult it is to be satisfied with your body in today’s culture. Even the healthiest among us have to be vigilant when it comes to loving your body.
It is difficult to look in the mirror and not compare ourselves to the altered images we see splashed everywhere we look. Yes, we know those images are photo shopped, lit beautifully and the result of the work of professional make-up artists. Still those images are burned into our minds. We know they aren’t real, but that doesn’t seem to matter. We don’t look like those people!
We’ve been told over and over, you aren’t what you weigh—your worth is deeper, yet we struggle to believe this. Social media has only fueled the fire of discontent. For example, let me post on Instagram—wait, I need a filter, a ring light, retake that photo as it is not a good angle, crop and edit as so my thighs don’t look so big…you know the drill!
Sadly, we place more emphasis on becoming better versions of ourselves on social media than on being imitators of Christ. We seek the approval of others, yet we know it is God’s approval that matters. I am designed by God, but constantly trying to improve that external design with less emphasis on the internal. The things God says matter the most. Thus, we have to stay mindful of how comparisons impact us if we allow them to imprint our souls.
Comparison breeds jealousy, discontent and constant striving. The body obsession that grips us today distracts us from God and often serves as a false sense of control in our lives. For instance, it is easier to change a hair style than deal with a difficult marriage. Body obsession also serves a purpose. It distracts us from life stress but also distracts us from God.
So, what can we do about it?
- Get your priorities right. Matthew 5 tells us, You are blessed when you are content with who you are, no more, not less. That’s the moment you find yourself proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. What can’t be bought? The things that are of eternal importance. Focus on those things.
- Don’t ignore God. Romans 8: 6-8 clearly tells us, Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self, ignores God and ends up thinking more about themselves than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is going. God isn’t pleased at being ignored. When we put time and energy into our God relationship, our focus shifts and we learn to be content.
- Name and reclaim those parts of your body that cause you to obsess. Either do something constructive about your physical body like exercise, eating better and losing weight in order to improve your health or learn to accept that you will never look like a super model and learn to be grateful for the body you have.
- Be around people who do not obsess on physical appearance. This helps keep your focus on the more important things in life. Stop looking at all the media and magazines and see if you feel better. Get off social media for a week and evaluate if you do better.
- Stop comparing yourself to others as it is foolish and unwise. You are unique. It is true. No one determines your worth but God. He has already decided you are beautiful. Stop striving, enjoy God and your life. And by all means, stop comparing!