Gosh, comparison is a topic that has been at the top of my mind for a few months now. It all starts when I open that magic Instagram or Facebook app on my phone. Within the first few scrolls, I don’t even realize it and I am automatically comparing my entire life with a mommy blogger who has 5 kids, a beautiful body, Pinterest perfect house and the most perfect wardrobe. I truly don’t even desire her life, all her kids or her house or want her body, yet I’m still comparing myself. That’s almost mind blowing to me to write.
In high school, I remember walking down the hallways or in the lunch room comparing my insecure self, my hair, my Abercrombie mini skirt, my non-iPhone and my body to others. But definitely not to the extent I have found myself doing on social media. In high school I truly believed I was ugly and did not deeply love the person I was. Even last year when I was subbing, it brought back lots of strange memories. Except, I was seeing it from a completely different perspective. This time walking in the school hallways, even though I was not surrounded by 500 of my peers, I felt confident. I liked the way I dressed, who I was as a person and I didn’t feel the need to measure myself against anyone. Why then, do I feel the need to take a step back in time and compare myself on social media?
I absolutely love social media and all of the friends and relationships I have made on there. Even in my smallish town, it has connected me with people I would have never normally interacted with or met IRL. Except, I have felt myself going down the black hole of social media comparison and it’s a dangerous game to play if you are not careful. There are time where I had to completely step back, stay away from my phone and just “be” because it was making me miserable. If you know me, you truly know I am almost 99% happy, joyous and super personable all.the.time. On days where I got sucked into the black hole, you probably would not have thought so. 😂
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Running this blog is a strange thing. I love it so much, yet I’ve had to take steps back for my own sanity and happiness. I can almost always trace back to the triggers of my unhappiness to comparing myself to someone else. Or even worse, comparing my entire life to a complete stranger or even friends. My blog is run on happiness and sunshine, so if I don’t have any, how am I supposed to give any away!?
This weird thing happens when you are so passionate about something and literally pour your heart and soul into it and it doesn’t grow or develop in the way or timeline you’d like. It turns into these thoughts of, “I’m not good enough and will never succeed”. You start to wonder why she can blog full-time and your struggle bussing. Or why so and so’s Instagram is growing and yours is stagnant. Then the game of comparison starts. I would scroll on Instagram until my eyes bleed and then these awful thoughts would start. “Maybe if I just wear different brands, or pose different, or act different or the worst of all, maybe I should do exactly what she is doing”.
It turns into this constant one-upping game. I am going to beat her no matter what. Expect, it’s not a competition and I’ve just completely lost myself entirely is an industry I love. This comparison also turns into self-hatred. It’s weird to admit but there have been times I started to truly dislike my own wardrobe and even myself. Sometimes it was because I posted an outfit on Instagram I loved and no one responded to it with the same joy I
Maybe those feelings of self-hatred have been there deep down and comparison just stirs them up. I think that’s like 50/50. We are a work in progress and there are always layers and healing and places we can love ourselves well/better. Don’t we all struggle with being the harshest on ourselves? Does anyone remember Myspace Top 8!? I hated that top 8. I clearly remember clicking on my friend’s profiles only to find out I was their #8 or even worse, I wasn’t included at all. Then the Myspace Gods created a top 4 and it was a true miracle. The stress of a top 8 went way. I cared
Comparison is silly! Those moms that I compare myself to could read my blog and think I have the most amazing, stylish and spontaneous life because I am only responsible for me, myself and I. Or that cute newlywed couple on Facebook could be super unhappy or that rich family may be struggling with the keeping up with the Jones lifestyle. We just never know the full story.
My favorite comparison has to be, “Why am I stuck at home all day while those Influencers are jet setting around the world or frolicking through flowers in beautiful Nantucket and here I am…sitting on my couch on a Friday night scrolling through Instagram? This is hilarious to me. I can guarantee that almost 99% of the time, when I post to Instagram …I am sitting my booty on a couch wearing old holey pajamas. Not looking fashion forward as Instagram is telling you at that moment. If we’re all sitting on Instagram scrolling in old pajamas, there’s truly nothing to be jealous of. 😂
What am I doing to end this comparison game?
There have been active steps that I have taken to keep my sanity at bay and truly enjoy the life I have. I want to be happy, even after looking at social media. It’s not a perfect journey and the comparison still has the occasional slip but overall, I am much much happier when I follow these steps to end the comparison game.
- Step away from social media. I should shout that nice and clear through a megaphone. STEP AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA. Nothing could be worse than staying on something that is making you miserable. Put your phone down, go read a book and change the thoughts going through your mind. I truly love talking to all of you on Insta and stories but I am very very careful with how much time I am spending unconsciously scrolling. In fact, I started checking out books at my local library to 1) give my brain something else to think about and 2) it’s fun and I can use my imagination in a good way!
- Get outside or do what you love. This should be pretty simple, right?! Go on a run. Explore a town close to you. Make DIY crafts, try a terrible Pinterest dessert gone wrong, plan a dream vacation, read on your lunch break, whatever you need… do it! For me, I make a big effort to go to the beach a few times a week. It gives me peace and it’s my happy place! There are literally no distractions in nature and I for sure don’t bring my phone to accompany me.
- Develop close IRL relationships. Besides the “put your phone away advice” this is my most favorite step! As much as I love social media and wish I could meet all of you in person one day, I deeply love my friends I interact in person with every week. Seeing people brings me so much joy! The more and more I blog, and dream of working for myself, the more I realize I need to be out and about having real conversations with people. All of the relationships I’ve developed locally from Instagram have become so much more meaningful when we meet face to face. I no longer think of them as just someone I follow. They are a person I truly care about and their Instagram or social page is just a small extension of the person they truly are.
- Find what makes you unique. God designed us all with quirks, unique personalities, skills, desires, interests and so so much more. We are all originals and it’s physically impossible to be exactly like someone else. Unless you watch Botched (#guilty)….you could argue with that ha! I am not supposed to be like someone else because I am supposed to be like me. If you use social media for blogging or business, there are unique things that you can incorporate about yourself to stand out. For me, that’s spreading happiness and bright colorful Florida inspired fashion. I’m also super fun, silly, carefree, hardworking, organized and driven. It’s okay to be unique!!! We are multi faceted humans. We will never just fit into one category. Learn to love those unique things about yourself.
- Practice gratitude. Be happy and excited for what you have! This is almost to easy. If I am truly grateful for my car, my family, my clothes, my followers, my pencils, my future husband, having a job, living by the beach, seeing blue skies and sunshine everyday, I am less likely to covet and be unhappy about so and so’s perfect looking online life. It’s only when I forget what I do have that I begin to covet what other people have. This may be cheesy and overused but it seems to work. Every day, write down 5 things you are grateful for. I can guarantee this works! Some of my happiest and most joyous seasons have been when I really worked on practicing my gratitude.