How to Overcome Holiday Envy
I was having a fantastic Christmas. I was home for the holidays and I had spent lots of precious time with family and friends. I felt happy and at peace. But then I made the fatal mistake of opening Instagram.
What I saw made all those good feelings flee. What I saw made me forget all about the good times I’d experienced over the last several days and instead, I began to feel insecure about myself. What I saw on IG was an image of my friend in the snow with the perfect makeup, professionally curled hair, a Starbucks red cup in her hand, and a huge smile on her face.
We’ve all been there, yes?
We’re perfectly content with our holiday celebrations until we see someone else who seems to be doing it better. As soon as we see that “someone” we believe is “having more fun” or “living the perfect life,” our thoughts begin to spiral.
We think about everything we should have been doing or creating, so we, too, can post the perfect holiday photos. And, when we allow these thoughts to enter our minds, we begin to feel less than. Next thing we know, our minds are filled with unhealthy thoughts and we begin to feel shame, regret, and despair.
Hear me now, sweet friends – this is not the way life and certainly, the holidays were meant to be! Christmas is not about being or looking perfect. It is not about one-upping or competition. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus—the introduction of hope, light, and peace into this dark world. And who doesn’t need hope and light in their life!
So, I’m sharing five tips to help you overcome holiday envy and encourage you to stay focused on the reason for the season.
1. Be thankful.
It might sound cliché, but gratitude is the most surefire way to combat holiday envy. If we get this down, trust that everything else will naturally fall into place.
Take the time this holiday season to intentionally recognize the gifts all around you. Make a note of your blessings and thank God for them. There is always something to be thankful for but to be thankful we need to let go of our pursuit of the perfect Christmas and comparison. We must operate from a foundation of gratitude, and when we do, we will fully embrace this season with total contentment in what God has already blessed us with.
#1 Be grateful for your life!
2. Meditate on Christ.
The only way to stop ourselves from comparison is to direct our thoughts onto something worthwhile. Philippians 4:8 tells us to “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Friends, we can’t keep repeating the same old scripts in our thoughts and minds and believe we will have a different outcome. We can’t just tell ourselves no over and over again. We have to direct our thoughts to what is true and honorable. We must focus our thoughts on what is pure and lovely. And the best thoughts that are “true, honorable, pure, and lovely” are thoughts on Jesus Christ!
Jesus Christ is the reason for the season! Christmas is all about His birth. The Messiah came into the world, in the humblest of ways, to save you and me. He stepped down from His throne of glory and entered into our brokenness.
There’s no better way to spend the Christmas season than with Jesus. Bring your thoughts to Him. Meditate on His ridiculous love for you, His beauty, and His gospel of peace. Let those thoughts take over your mind and shut down the negative mindset that holds you captive, and always remember you are a daughter of the King!
#2 Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!
3. Do the fun things that you enjoy.
If we’re just sitting around busying ourselves with what everyone else is doing for their holiday or comparing our Christmas tree décor or table settings to their holiday decor, we’ve lost the meaning of Christmas. With thoughts such as these, it’s no wonder our minds begin a downward spiral creating the beliefs that we are not enough, or we are unworthy.
When we compare our life or who we were created to be with others, we are doomed!
That may sound harsh, but it’s true. My dear friend, perhaps the reason we feel so envious of others’ seemingly picture-perfect holiday is because we’re not spending our time doing the things that we enjoy most. So, get out there and do the things you love to do with the people you love to be around!
Grab some friends and go sledding. Or, if you’re in Florida like me, enjoy a movie night complete with popcorn and peppermint hot chocolate. And, who doesn’t get excited over a few Christmas Hallmark movies? Whatever it is that you enjoy, do it! Don’t try to imitate someone’s life on IG – trust me, it’s exhausting. And, yes, I want to ask some accounts I follow if they really do sleep in full makeup with perfectly styled hair because I’ll let you in on a secret, I do not!
#3 Enjoy your Christmas by doing fun things – activities that bring you joy, whatever that means to you!
4. Encourage the ones you’re tempted to compare yourself to.
Hard but true, my sisters! It’s really hard to be jealous of people when we’re encouraging them. The very fact that we’re envious of somebody means that there’s something in that person that we admire. Capitalize on that. Tell her how much you love her hair or her smile. Compliment her beautiful holiday spread and her delicious Christmas cookies. And, when you are sharing compliments, be genuine. No one likes a pretense compliment or false flattery.
By continuously lifting up someone you tend to envy, you’ll start to focus on the real beauty and qualities of the person and not just their external glamour.
When we take the time to genuinely know someone, we begin to see them in a different light. And, it’s hard to be jealous or resentful of someone when you know their true heart.
#4 Encourage those around you and pray for them, build one another up in genuine love!
5. Put down the phone!
The holiday season is all about Jesus – celebrating His birth with those we love. It’s about gathering together in fellowship, and remembering Christ is the greatest gift of all.
But if we’re spending the majority of our time scrolling through IG and FB, we’re going to miss the specialness of the Christmas season. We’re also missing the precious memories of family and friends, and opportunities to serve one another out of love.
And as previously shared, when we are scrolling, we are opening ourselves up to comparison and coveting! As soon as we open social media, we are bombarded with dozens of filtered, planned photos that capture our attention and draw us into their world. And, then, our mind is overtaken by thoughts of comparison and envy.
What’s the solution?
It’s simple – put down your phone! Unplug for the holiday. And, do not, I mean, do not bring your phone to the table! If you want pics of the beautiful table setting or delicious feast, take the pictures before you take your seat at the table. And, be grateful you have a table to sit at surrounded by family and friends.
This Christmas season I dare you (yep I said it), I dare you to spend just one day this Christmas season without your phone constantly glued to your side. Leave it in your purse, on your nightstand, or recharge the battery – whatever it takes to unplug do it. Do it for your memories and to experience the fullness and beauty of the holiday season.#5 Be present and, in that, be genuinely thankful for the blessings right in front of you. Click To Tweet
The comparison trap is all too enticing, especially around the holidays. But with these five tips, you are well on your way to overcoming holiday envy. Give them a try, and you’ll find that you will enjoy your Christmas more than ever before!
Merry Christmas, my dear friend!