Is there ever a more appropriate time to warn of the dangers of comparison and envy than the holidays? The most curated, edited versions of our lives are on display for all to see like never before in the history of humankind.
Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing your families, delicious food, presents, trips, and more. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I’m no Scrooge/Grinch.
This time of the year can bring a quiet darkness, though, for many. It’s a darkness I believe is exacerbated by the glossy, personal PR campaigns that provide online, addictive platforms like Facebook and Instagram free content.
My hope is to simply shed a little light and maybe a little hope if that darkness has started to creep into your own heart this holiday season...
Everything we see, everything we think we perceive of another person’s life, is an isolated piece of a whole, a small sample size, yet we make vast generalizations about the supposed state of others’ lives.
We’re all guilty of it, too. I’m more likely to share a photo of me standing on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland than I am a screenshot of the argument I got into with someone close to me.
And that’s okay. I’m not saying we should hang all the dirty laundry up for everyone to see. I am saying, though, if we don’t consume this content our phones are feeding us daily with the proper context, we will let the exterior of another’s life diminish the interior of our own.
Something occurred to me the other day, and I believe it’s a helpful mindset when thinking through this new world of digital lives—You already have what someone else wants.
The married couple that’s been blessed with a healthy child look at the single person who travels all the time and has no obligations, a quarter of the expenses, and complete autonomy over their time.
A single person looks at the beautiful family of two young parents and longs for the companionship of a partner and the joy from having children and raising them.
The list of examples is endless, and the point remains: we all have something another desires, and most of us don’t even realize what we have.
We get so caught up in what isn’t that we miss what is. The blessings of the present are tarnished in light of the position of others or the desire for something to be different.
I am continuously drawn back to the idea that gratitude—a deep contentment in the now—guards us from all sorts of heartache and longing.
Not that you need my permission, but why don’t you intentionally remove one of the windows into other people’s lives for at least a day?
Sit down and write out a list of every present blessing in your life, and you can hold me personally responsible if you don’t feel a little lighter and a little more joyful.