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By: Madelyn Stout

It’s the essential question we all face: Who am I?

We’ve all been there. Scrolling through our social media feeds, we see picture after picture of what seem to be perfect lives. Whether it be a glamorous influencer or a thriving former classmate or friend, we’ve all seen it. One second you feel gratification, the next envy. You look in the mirror and nitpick every aspect of yourself. 

I know I have. I’m guilty of comparing myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and academically to others. There have been times where Satan’s mantra of You’re not enough. You’re not perfect.” has rung through my head. I’ve stood there in front of a mirror wondering why I can’t be pretty. I’ve considered myself stupid for not getting that A+ paper. I’ve called myself a bad Christian for not having the perfect faith life. I’ve let him get to me. I’ve let Satan’s words fill my head with nonsense so that I can ignore God’s good and gracious words. I’ve let jealousy course through my veins and warp the way I see myself. 

Yet, I’ve come to realize that the comparison trap I let myself fall into can be broken out of. Our vision only sees the outside, not the inside. Christ sees all of it – He sees what we cannot. He knows our hearts and minds because He made us in His image. Who does He say I am? Who does He say you are? Do you evaluate yourself based on His answer? We fall into the comparison trap because we believe our worth is found in what people can see – in the image we let them see. Moreover, the prevalent use of social media reinforces the lie that society tells us. 

So, what can we do to overcome this trap? Here are some practical steps to take to live as the beautiful woman God created you to be:

  1. Limit Social Media

While fun at times, social media enables the comparison trap. If you feel jealous when liking photos and watching reels, put the phone down and quit scrolling for a bit. Remind yourself that your favorite celebrity could be altering their pictures. Your favorite influencer could be posing to take the “perfect” casual picture. If you find you’re tempted to resent yourself after viewing such posed content, put your phone down!

  1. Approach With Gratitude

Try to start replacing jealousy with gratitude. While it may be easier said than done, cultivating this sentiment can help you break—and stay—out of the comparison trap. Look at your own life; what are your gifts? What has God given you? Be thankful for what you have instead of desiring the gifts God has given to others. He made each of us, uniquely crafting our femininity and person. Take a look in the mirror and see the truth—that you were wonderfully made and are loved as you are. Relish in that feeling!

  1. Outside is Not Inside

Remember, in the game of comparisons, most people consider only the external. Social media shows curated versions of a person’s life. The truth is, no one is perfect—no matter how much makeup, photoshop, or lighting they use. Are there things about your life that you wish to change? If so, start recognizing moments where you believe change is possible. What is possible for others can also be possible for you. Becoming a kinder and healthier version of yourself is key to staying out of the comparison trap. 

How does comparison affect you? What are some additional ways you can take to overcome it?

Madelyn is a current student at the University of Notre Dame. Pursuing a double major in Political Science and English, she loves to debate, discuss, and write on a variety of topics. When she isn’t reading a book, drinking coffee, or passionately talking about the latest news, you can find this southern girl enjoying the warm sunshine on the quad – or staying inside for some quality time with friends when the weather gets cold and the skies turn gray.