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Overcoming Comparison on Social Media

01.03.2024

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I used to think I was immune to the effects social media could have on you. I wasn’t someone who scrolled through Instagram feeling less than because of what I was seeing. I wasn’t comparing myself to the random strangers on my discovery page. But I was wrong. Here is what I’ve come to realize: comparison is not just the feeling of “I am not enough” or “I don’t have enough.” While it is that, it is so much more. Comparison is “a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.”¹

In other words, the moments when I scroll through social media and identify the similarities I have with other people or the things they have that I don’t. Or the places I have the upper hand because I have things they don’t have. It is the moments where I want to be able to feel better about myself, not just the moments I feel worse.

The reality is that I was holding up my life and evaluating it based on the image of other people’s lives. I had a gut-wrenching awareness that I had fallen into the trap of comparison on social media more often than I had even realized.

So, what now? What do I do now that I know this can be something I partake in?

At the end of the day, I do not want it to be true of me that I spend my days considering the similarities or dissimilarities I have with the people I see on a screen. I don’t think you do, either. The starting line for all of us is the humility to admit that apart from the Holy Spirit, at any moment, we can fall into a mindset on the flesh.

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 

Romans 8:6 (NIV)

The mind governed by The Spirit leads to peace. When I get off social media, do I feel peace? Or do I feel jealousy? Resentment? There is a beautiful invitation for us all to slow down before we scroll and ask Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, to govern our minds. In this, we can depend fully on Him to replace our feelings of comparison with feelings of peace. Apart from the Holy Spirit, we can all fall into the temptation of measuring our lives by society’s standards. Society tells us the number of likes, and the blue check mark beside our name indicates we are seen. 

Yet, Scripture tells us in Psalm 33:13 (NIV), 

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind. 

Nothing that is or is not on social media gets to determine whether you and I are on God’s radar.

 There are so many different and untrue feelings that may arise as we scroll through social media. What we must do is take each of these thoughts we may have and hold them up to Scripture to see what the real truth is based on what God says. Here are a few things you may be feeling and how Scripture counters these.

 1. You feel left behind in life in a never-ending season of waiting.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 

Romans 5:6 (NIV)

2. You feel the unhealthy urge to match someone else’s appearance and achievements.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

3. You feel the pangs of lust.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

1 John 2:16 (NIV)

4. You feel despise the things God has given you because you covet what He hasn’t.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 

Psalm 84:11 (NIV)

5. You feel like you should turn to social media for numbness rather than God’s word for nutrients.

The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold, they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

Psalm 119:9-10 (NIV)

6. You feel ashamed to admit your online habits.

Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. 

Isaiah 54:4 (NIV)

7. You feel online is the place to get affirmation instead of from your Holy Father and community.

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 

Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)  

 If comparison is carefully thinking of the similarities or dissimilarities we have with people, then there must be a shift in what we are considering. A shift in what we are thinking about. Comparison is us considering the wrong things.

 We must consider the Gospel.

 Think carefully about the gospel. Think carefully about a God who left heaven, came to earth, gave His life on the cross, and conquered the grave, all so we could be reconciled to Him. When I think carefully about that, I consider that—there is no room for comparison; there is only room for gratitude. The Gospel reminds me that all that I have is already more than I deserve. The gospel reminds me that grace and mercy are the headlines over my life.

 One of the greatest weapons we can have against comparison is to consider the gospel. The action we can all take today is what the writer of Hebrews tells us to do—fix our eyes on Jesus.

 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)


¹Webster Dictionary, s.v. “Comparison,” Accessed September 11, 2023, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comparison

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Scripture References

  • Romans 8:6
  • Psalm 33:13
  • Romans 5:6
  • Psalm 46:10
  • 1 John 2:16
  • Psalm 84:1
  • Psalm 119:9-10
  • Isaiah 54:4
  • Isaiah 43:1
  • Hebrews 12:1-2
Adria King Adria King is an avid workout fanatic, traveler, will wear tennis shoes with any outfit she can, and lover of slow mornings. At a young age, she found her sanctuary in words, making sense of the world, and finding Jesus in the sentences she strung together. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA where she works full time at the Chick-fil-A headquarters.