Or be bitter.
Those are the two options.
And we face this decision every single day.
Take for example, you’re at the grocery store, with an actual list, buying things like kale and arugula! You’re actually feeling good about life and crushing this whole adulthood thing.
And then you jump into the line at the checkout and start checking out Facebook or Instagram, with the glaring AMAZINGNESS of all your friends buying a new BMW, having a new baby, traveling to Istanbul to take pictures for American Express, and suddenly you want to replace your kale with a box of wine.
Obsessive Comparison Disorder has a way of heightening any discontent to “I only want to drink wine from a box” levels.
The Many Layers of Obsessive Comparison Disorder and Bitterness
“Obsessive Comparison Disorder is constantly letting everyone’s “success” smother you like an electric blanket turned up on high in August. It doesn’t work in moderation.” – 25 Lies Twentysomethings Need to Stop Believing
We used to have to go to our ten-year reunion to see who’s doing better than whom. Now, we’re trying to fake our success with every post.
“But sometimes we’re not even comparing our successes. We’re comparing our hardships. Not who has it best, but who has it worst. Who has the biggest challenges? Who has the busiest, hardest, craziest circumstances that deserve the highest sympathies (and social media engagement)?
Or—and this is a strange one—we’re obsessively comparing ourselves with…ourselves. You start scrolling through your own photos from a few years back. Wow, look at how skinny I was! Look at how many friends I used to have! Look at me when I looked happy! Those shimmering eyes that thought they were going to change the world . . .
Or we begin comparing a future image of ourselves that we thought we’d be, against the image we are currently looking at in the mirror. I thought I’d be more successful by now. I thought I’d be married. I thought I’d have my stuff all together. Instead, it feels like my stuff has somehow fallen out of the back of my car and I’m trying to pick it up off the highway as speeding cars barely avoid me.”
The Choice. Bitter or Better?
This really comes down to a mindset habit. To practice. To training ourselves to choose celebration instead of cynicism and criticism.
We can celebrate our friends successes and even let it motivate ourselves to do better work.
Or we can critique our friends success and try to pull them down next to us so we feel better about the stuff we’re sitting in.
We can be confident and content in the place God has us. We can create a vision for our lives and work towards making that vision a reality.
Or we can choose to believe that this is as good as it gets. We can become comfortable with living crappily ever after. Then complain about it to everyone who will listen.
When we get rejected. When we fail. When we don’t get the big thing we were hoping for, we can choose to look honestly at our work and find ways to do it better. We can realize that failure or success is just another small step forward.
Or we can blame the failure on everyone else but ourselves. We can internalize failing and start believing that we are a failure.
We can put our phones down and work on our lives. Or we can keep staring at all the lives of others.
We can choose to forgive or we can keep choking on the dry crusts of unforgiveness.
We can trust the process and keep planting seeds.
Or we can keeping digging holes before anything has had a chance to grow.
Your Future Depends on This
Bitter or better?
Create or complain?
Which one will you choose? Your future work and peace in life depends on this.
The more we move into what we were made to do the less we worry about replicating what someone else was made to do.
This post is adapted from my new book 25 Lies Twentysomethings Need to Stop Believing
I’d love to hear your thoughts below in the comments on whether you struggle with this or not.