Romans 12:2 says:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Unless you live under a rock, you probably have regular contact with the outside world. Not just your friends and family but also outside of that. People who are different from you, maybe some of them seem to be doing a lot better, maybe you feel like you have it all together in comparison to others. There are a lot of beliefs out there that may influence how you see and evaluate yourself.
It’s good to be part of the world, to interact with different people and to impact your community. However inevitably we are also affected by our world. Whether it be individuals, the culture, or experiences we have. Sometimes things we go through, people in our lives or society in general can cause us to believe things about ourselves that aren’t true. For example, you see a smiling couple on Instagram and suddenly you feel lonely, a model on a TV ad makes you feel insecure, your friend’s A on a paper makes you feel inadequate.
In the moment these doubts and feelings seem perfectly rational and tangibly real, that’s why we should know that they aren’t true. These are lies that the world tells us:
You will be happy when you are in a relationship:
We see smiling, radiant couples and it is easy to convince ourselves that when we meet someone all of our problems will disappear. How can you possibly be unhappy with a cute guy by your side? While it can be a exciting and fun, a healthy relationship also brings all our personals struggles to the surface. It is important to understand that happiness isn’t found in someone else, it is found in God. And your value is independent of your relationship status.
If you don’t have it all figured out you won’t be successful:
Graduate from high school, pick a major, stick to it, graduate from college (Summa Cum Laude) and then go get your dream job. That is the formula we know and compare our journey to. We see friends, (whether it be our close friends or ‘friends’ on social media). appearing to follow this pattern and flourish while maybe you don’t know exactly what you want your career to be. Discernment is important, it can be frustrating when you don’t have exciting things to tell your family or friends or Instagram followers but it is also better than choosing a path that feels wrong instead of taking some time to try things out. If you look at the story of Steve Jobs, or J.K. Rowling or even Pope Francis (he was a bouncer at one point), you’ll find that they lived very unique lives that led to their success in an unconventional way. None of them graduated from high school and followed a carefully laid out plan.
So and so’s life is better than yours:
I think that is one of the greatest dangers of social media: comparison. With Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter we all share the edited highlights of what is going on our lives and there are many times when it seems that someone else’s life is more fun/interesting/exciting/lavish than ours. The truth is that that picture, status or tweet isn’t necessarily an accurate representative of their life as a whole but just part of the persona they are trying to create. Not to say everything on social media is a lie, just to keep in mind that it isn’t the whole story. We all have problems and struggles that we don’t necessarily want to share with others.
Having said all this I just want to encourage you guys to know that what you come across whether it be in social media or other encounters you have isn’t always the whole truth. It isn’t good to compare ourselves period; but especially not to unrealistic standards. To battle these feelings and doubts always make sure you take time to renew your mind in prayer, self-care and genuine interactions with real people who love you.