Let’s Be Honest…

A few weeks ago the following topic reached it’s breaking point for me and I knew I needed to write something. So let’s be honest for a second, or a few minutes here. This is important and I need your attention. We as women (some men, but I’m really strongly speaking to the women) are really doing ourselves a real disservice. Also I’m preaching to myself here, this is a real problem with me. Literally my thoughts scrolling through instagram tonight are as follows:

– “what kind of camera is that? What can I sell to get a nice camera? what even kind of blogger am I without a camera.”

– “Oh of course he’s in Asia, he’s always traveling! Jealloussss”

– “She’s so gorgeous even without makeup, I could never pull that off”

– ” Man! Did every freaking blogger go buy fresh flowers tonight… maybe I should be buying fresh flowers more often and instagramming them, people really seem to like it.”

– “Love that dress, cant afford it.”

– “Seriously quit posting the same picture of your child (or dog, or food, etc)

-“LAUREN CONRAD CAN I JUST BE YOU”

We have become a culture obsessed with comparison intentional or not. What’s worse is we’re comparing off a single image, not even a real person, life, or soul. Just an image.

In our heads we imagine the lavish life, the happy life, the carefree life, the healthy life, that these people must live based on a moment, a snapshot. This is not reality. This is not life. This is not truth.

The reality is that life is messy, real humans with real lives have backstories, have history, have really hard times. The reality is that the image that you are comparing yourself to is ( I would venture to say) 85% meticulously thought out. The clever caption and even location stewed on for minutes on end. This is more than likely the 15th selfie (guilty) and edited to the perfect light only using your favorite vsco or other filters. You have to step back and realize there’s no way that all 100 bloggers you follow can all spill out their purses so perfectly.

The pictures aren’t the problem though, and I’m definitely not suggesting that every photo has a backstory. A lot of the time the photos are artistic and sometimes inspirational and I can dig it. It’s the comparing. If you can look at another person’s photo and use that as inspiration, then that’s awesome! I applaud you, because I often cannot seem to make the jump from self doubt to genuinely happy for someone.

Comparison brings out jealousy, it brings out my low self-confidence and lowers it even more. You were each fearfully and wonderfully made by a God that doesn’t mess around. Be confident in that.

Sometimes though we compare ourselves in another way as to put down so that we can build ourselves up. Well this is so messed up and backwards. We need to be building each other up, be really happy for friends’ and strangers’ successes, but also be happy for what you have too.

My sister-in-law told me that in prep for this article I should read an article about comparison that John Acuff wrote and he had an excellent quote:

” Comparing yourself to someone else’s journey is the best way to miss the one you’re actually on.”

In addition, the Bible has some interesting things to say about comparison. These were some of my favorites just purely based on a google search of “What the Bible says about comparison.”

– Galatians 1:10- Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ

-Philippians 2:3- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourself.

Then I came across 2 Corinthians 10:12 -We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

So it all made perfect sense.

Just kidding I had to look up what this meant. So this group of men who were constantly comparing themselves and admiring themselves and setting their own standard for greatness are not wise. Some versions say “are without understanding.” Another commentary mentioned that they “missed out,” and “they lose.”

So I am in no way a Biblical scholar so forgive me if I’ve totally missed the mark, but what I take away is that we are without understanding, we “lose” when we are constantly comparing, especially when we are looking to admire our own self.

I know that God leads me to these verses personally, so I can see the resemblance and know that the Bible is still relevant and absolutely pertains to our life now.

So here’s the deal. I am going to prove to you that what I am saying is real. Transparency is the name of the game so I have been asking my friends for the last couple weeks to send me photos of times where it looks like their posts were on point, but there was more to the story. I know that it is a long post but I can promise you that each of their stories are worth your while.

I commend each of these women all so much for being so beautiful, and sharing their real truth behind these photos.

 

“All smiles when I got to hang out with Sadie, but actually what you don’t know from this picture, is that I was overwhelmed, stressed and disheartened because I had recently found out I didn’t get into the grad school I wanted (and needed) to go to. I carried around a bad attitude all weekend because of it and acted awful to the people I love the most. But from this picture my weekend was pretty great” – Katie

 

“This is a picture of my papa and I just a few short days before he passed away. My Papa’s smile is more than genuine because although he was dying of lung cancer, he was truly happy to go meet the Lord…something he strived for his whole life. Me on the other hand…I may be smiling and seem rather happy but I was hurting so deeply on the inside as I watched him struggle for air while we took this picture because he didn’t want his oxygen mask on for the picture. Just a few minutes after this picture was taken, I would kiss him goodbye and tell him I love him for the last time…walk out of his room and break down in the hallway.” – Kristen

 

“In this picture, it looks to be a very special and happy day for my sister and family. Although, I was and still am very happy for my sister and new brother-in-law, this was an extremely difficult day and I was on the verge of breaking down all day (as well as the months leading up to it). As I watched my younger sister get married before me I felt very alone and like I had somehow failed. I felt extremely insecure and almost angry. I also didn’t think I could share my feelings because it was my sister’s special day. Luckily, I held it together to get through the day and all the pictures and smiled as if there was nothing wrong. However, as I was driving home that night, after the reception, I cried the entire way home. To make things worse I got a speeding ticket on the drive home. Luckily, my dad understood what I was going through, paid my ticket and we kept it a secret (Until now obviously).” – Darby

“These pictures are from Australia in 2011. This year was the most difficult year of my life so far. These particular photos represent one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, but internally I was disgusted with myself. Everyone knew that my mom had cancer, had a double mastectomy, and was undergoing chemotherapy, but no one knew the guilt and shame I felt for a month, leaving her behind. Even though I look happy and am in a gorgeous place doing great things, deep down I couldn’t reconcile my heartache. Knowing my mom was back home, struggling, sick to death, and fighting the terrible disease that is cancer was wrecking me. The trip was amazing; I resolved to be positive and strong, but it took me several months, my incredible mom’s love, numerous counseling sessions, and ultimately prayer to forgive myself and deal with the guilt. My mom has been in remission for 4 years now, and looking back, through it all God was refining me and constantly planting peace in my heart while pulling up the weeds.” – Leah

“This picture was taken back in spring of 2010 whenever I traveled to Greece to study abroad for three months. It was taken the day after I had made a very difficult decision to end a three year-long relationship with my ex boyfriend. I had broken up with him the night before and basically cried myself to sleep. I was devastated when I woke up the next day and realized what had happened. This was a scary, yet exciting new chapter in my life, and if you know me well enough, you know I HATE change! However, you would never know any of that by just looking at this picture of me looking happy as can be before loading up on a bus to go to Athens for the day with this amazing group of girls who had been there for me during one of the most difficult times of my life.”- Lauren

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“The picture is me cheerfully holding my name tag that finally says “Therapist” instead of my old un-licensed position. The caption is all excited and thankful, but what is not shown or described is how a “2-3 month” process had dragged out to be a 6 month ordeal. So while I was relieved and thankful that day, there was a lot of bitterness and frustrations that I was still experiencing that I didn’t photograph and share with the world.” – Emily

 

“So this is John and I at the Vatican. Most of you know that we went to Italy for an 8 day trip a month ago, what most of you don’t know is that I ended up having the flu the ENTIRE trip. We woke up the morning before we left and I told John I may be getting a cold but I wasn’t worried about it. After not sleeping for 33 straight hours I realized it was much more than a cold. Our day spent in Rome was one of my worst days. I had slept a total of 6 hours over the previous 4 nights because my fever was so high and apparently Italians don’t believe in Tylenol…or any kind of cold medicine. We went to three different pharmacies that day and eventually found something that had tylenol in it but by that time it was too late. It literally looked like I was crying all day long. My nose and eyes would not stop running. Multiple people asked if I was ok-because they thought I was emotionally unstable while touring the Vatican. I was wearing sunglasses in this photo not because it was sunny-in fact it was pretty cloudy that day-but because my face was so red and I was trying to hide that with my sunglasses. We have zero photos inside that day because I looked so bad. I am not exaggerating when I say that we had to keep finding bathrooms about every hour so that I could steal another tp roll. Let me say that we still had such a great time and I feel very blessed to have been able to even take that trip! However, there were 2-3 days when I couldn’t taste anything, I was exhausted from the lack of sleep and all of the walking and all I wanted was to be back home in my own bed with some tylenol and some gatorade. I never thought that I would be in Italy and wish I was back home and from this picture no one can tell that anything is wrong at all. I was however so thankful to have my awesome husband there to take such great care of me and be so understanding when I didn’t feel like going out at night! Poor John had a couple of nights of eating food from the grocery store alone so that he could come back faster to take care of me” – Sheralee

 

“This is me in Singapore. From what I posted, it was seemingly a great trip where I got to experience a lot of new things! In reality, I hated all the new things. After flying a total of 27 hours by myself to get there, I arrived to find out Henrique would be working 12 hour days while I was there. I think we have a total of 3 pictures together that whole trip – 2 of them are on his job site and one at a work party. I was unhappy, but there was nothing that could be done about it. I explored things by myself, hung out with another wife, and sat in tennis stands by myself. And not to mention, the food did not treat me well. Our flight back to the states was by far the WORST flight I have ever been on – I am still surprised we are here today. I literally thought our plane was going down in the middle of the ocean. I was crying and holding on as tight as I could to Henrique. Well we made it, and I will not be going back to Asia for a long time. Not how I envisioned my trip, but you would never know that from my Instagram feed.” – Gina

“This is a picture of me on Christmas Eve of 2013. From what I posted it looks like I am having a wonderful time enjoying the holidays with my family. What you can’t tell is that the day before this my dog was run over by a car. We were actually spending Christmas Eve with my mom in a condo/hotel. My uncle also had to be put in the nursing home as his health was declining and this was the first Christmas he was unable to spend with us. While it looks like all smiles it was one of the hardest holiday seasons I’ve ever experienced. But you would never know any of that from what I posted.”- Lauren

 

“This is a picture of me and Jared at the Sarah Bareilles concert at Harding senior year. Looks like we were having a great time but I wasn’t quite in the concert mood. I had just switched over student teaching placements and was hating 3rd grade. I was soo tired from my new schedule having to wake up so much earlier than before. I was also sick and had a terrible cough, sore throat, and stuffy nose. To top it off this cold made me sound like a man when I spoke. Even though I desperately just wanted to be back home in bed I did end up enjoying the concert.” – Alyssa

 

“This picture was taken at the beach in Destin last summer. When I posted this picture I wanted everyone to see what a beautiful day it was and that I was enjoying a relaxing, care-free day on the beach. What you don’t know is that just a few days before this was taken, my niece (who was only a year and a half at the time) was so sick that she had to be taken to the ER and from there she was taken to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for the night. We were all very frantic and upset to see Roxie so sick. My dad was in already in Destin at this point because the plan was for him to get there a few days before everyone else to check into our condo and then my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and niece we’re going to drive down the following Monday and Andy and I were flying down early Wednesday morning. Well…my brother, and sister in law decided it would be best just to keep Roxie home even though she was feeling much better after spending the night at the hospital. My mom decided to stay in Searcy and help them out, too. So our “family beach trip” that we all look forward to every summer turned out to be just my dad and then Andy and I for half of the week. (Luckily my aunt, uncle, and cousin were with my dad part of the time!) To top it all off, Andy and I missed our flight Wednesday morning! So we spent over 12 hours in the airport and arrived in Destin around 10 pm when we were originally supposed to be there around noon. It was also the weekend of the 4th of July so the beach was jam packed with people – not my idea of relaxing. We ended up having a good time despite of all the craziness, but it definitely wasn’t as great as it appeared to be on Instagram.” – Cara

“We took this photo on the beach in Gulf Shores during a weekend trip with Zack’s sister and her husband. I like this picture, and I’m sure on social media it came across all “laid back beach trip,” but the truth is we had one of the biggest fights of our marriage the night we left for this trip and continued fighting all weekend. It was really hard to balance time with our sister and brother in law and try to work out what we were going through. It was also our anniversary weekend which made it feel even worse that we were fighting so badly. It was a very emotionally stressful trip.” – Dani

 

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“Two Friday nights ago I totaled our Camry in the pouring rain, Saturday we found out some really disappointing news about a member of our family, Sunday we found out we owe over $5,000 in taxes, as the week unfolded our bill to the insurance company for my accident was growing and one of the vehicles involved in the accident had gone to the doctor 4 days after the wreck and decided they needed some pain killers. I was devastated and disgusted, and incredibly nervous about our finances. This picture was taken at a Noonday jewelry/accessory party my cousin and I hosted last Friday night. I had zero money to spend yet I was hosting it and all I could think about was how much I wanted to crawl in a hole. But I hosted that party like a champ (everyone loved my tres leche cake) and nobody (except my family) was any the wiser about how totally empty/angry felt. All is well now and things have gotten a lot better financially (we no longer owe quite as much in taxes ). ” – Ellen

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“This picture is the day I graduated from grad school. My friends in Little Rock had planned a little party after my graduation. I just had a wonderful weekend with both sets of grandparents, my parents, and little brother. After graduation, my family had to head back home because everyone had ridden together to Little Rock. I remember being so sad that they had to leave right after graduation. It felt kinda lonely realizing school is over, now what am I going to do with my life 2 hours from home. Even though I was so grateful for my friends celebrating with me that night, I was overwhelmed thinking about my future. I didn’t have a job lined up and no real plan. As always, God provides and He has blessed me with a great job, wonderful church family, and loving friends in Little Rock.” – Bethanie

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“This picture was taken during my second law school visit. I had been living in Mobile for almost a year and only saw my parents every other month because my dad was going to Arkansas for cancer treatments. I was working an 8-5, taking care of my house, planning my sister’s wedding, and having severe anxiety. My grandmother had unexpectedly passed the September before and I found her deceased while my whole family was out of town. I made horrible decisions that year. I wasn’t sleeping because I couldn’t and I turned into a huge hypochondriac after my grandmother died. This day was the start of the upswing. My dad came with me to Cumberland. The smile on my face wasn’t real though. He was sick and I knew it. I was so anxious about law school and my sister’s wedding. But going to Cumberland was what I saw as my escape. I was going to get out of Mobile and I couldn’t wait because I associated so many negative things with the city. I knew I wanted to go to Cumberland to chase my dream. I had fun with my dad that weekend and was glad he came with me. I learned so much that despite my anxiety about the future and worries that the Lord had a plan for me and that it was so so good. I’m living that plan now and couldn’t be happier.” – Amanda

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“This picture was two years ago in Nashville for a girls weekend. Although the weekend was so much fun I almost turned my car around and didn’t even go. This was the peak of my anxiety and panic attacks. On my way to Searcy to pick up Alyssa and Emily I was having trouble breathing and my heart rate was over 110. I called Andy and told him I can’t do it. He talked me through it and with the support of my friends I got through the weekend. I was having difficulty breathing all weekend and was constantly feeling anxious. This picture was at dinner one night when I was especially feeling bad. I’m not even sure my friends knew because I was ashamed that I was dealing with this and didn’t understand it. Thank God I’m over the mountain and he continually pulls me through this struggle. This has taught me to trust in the Lord and truly lean on him for full support.”- Kaylee

“It looks like a typical happy outing with my gorgeous sisters but I was feeling so insecure that day. I wasn’t really use to my new short hair and our mom offered to buy us all a little something but I lied and said I didn’t want anything when the reality was nothing I was trying on fit. You wouldn’t know that from my post though.”- Keeley

 

 

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