“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt
Comparison is something I feel strongly compelled to write about because it’s something that I know many people struggle with, myself included. It’s like a fly that just won’t leave you alone. You think it’s finally gone, but then it re-appears again all up in your personal space. Where’s the damn fly swatter? Hah. There was a time before this digital world when it wasn’t as easy to compare your life to others. Sure, I don’t remember much of that world because I was a tiny human in the 90’s/early 2000’s with hair in tight braids that my mom forced upon me and clothes from Limited Too that I thought were the shit (IYKYK). But now we can keep up with others so easily through Instagram and various other platforms. We can see a lot more than we care to know about people and without even realizing it, our mental health can suffer from dealing with thoughts of not being pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, cool enough, etc.
It can be tough at times being a content creator because it’s even easier to compare yourself to people online. When you’re constantly scrolling through your feed, it becomes second nature to compare your content to other bloggers or brands (whether social media is your full time job or just a hobby blog). Maybe someone you follow is growing much faster than you, getting more brand sponsorships, more likes/engagement, etc. And it leaves you questioning whether what you’re putting out there is even good enough in the first place. Ultimately, I think the content you’re creating should make you happy and fulfill a creative need. And if it’s not bringing any positivity to your life, it might be time to question if it’s really worth all of your time and energy.
Someone once told me that they only go on Instagram to post and don’t really consume content that much because it takes such a toll on their mental health. Well that sucks because what happened to Instagram being fun and a way to connect with others? Is it ever going to go back to that even with the removal of ‘likes’? I love creating content because it’s exciting and I get the chance to be super creative and make online friends, but sometimes the ‘comparison game’ lingers in the background ready to burn my fire.
If you’re having one of those days where you’re struggling to feel confident with anything and everything you’re doing, try not to forget:
Social Media Is a Highlight Reel
We are all humans and absolutely no one has the perfect life. We put our best selves forward, it’s no wonder why people are connecting more with IG stories because they’re more real and unfiltered. You don’t know what people are going through personally because often, they only share the highs and none of the lows.
Use Others’ as Motivation
Choose to use comparison as motivation. Use that person or people as a source of inspiration that will help guide you in your own journey. Know that if they accomplished xyz, you can too! It’s simply a mindset shift that can make a big difference. Also know that you have the right to unfollow anyone who ‘triggers’ you. If they aren’t providing any value besides making you feel bad about yourself, then it’s totally okay to say goodbye.
The Only Person You Should Compare Yourself to Is You
Remember that everyone is on their own path, so don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s! Compare yourself to the person you were yesterday, five years ago, ten years ago. You get the gist. Be kind to yourself and know that your success may end up looking differently than someone else’s and that’s perfectly ok.
And lastly, take a break from social media if it’s doing more harm than good. Sometimes I find being more present and putting the phone down for awhile helps me refocus and gain some clarity. Nobody should make you feel inferior, ever. Cliché and you’ve heard it 100 times, but life really is too short. Just do what makes you happy. Best of luck in 2020! Much love, J x