Don't let comparisons on social media rob you of your happiness
Have you ever heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy”? That one is compliments of Mr. Theodore Roosevelt. Smart man. It’s proof that humans have been comparing themselves to others for a long ass time. Although it’s not a new thing, social media sure has exacerbated it. It’s a little surreal that social media is what it is today. It has completely taken over our phones, computers, and thoughts. Each platform has some super positive elements, but some negative ones as well. We all have our personal opinions and could go back and forth about it for months. Trust me, the likelihood of me writing more about it is very high. But for now I want to highlight one piece—comparing ourselves to others on social media. Let’s explore some things we can do so it doesn’t rob you of your happiness.
Imagine this. You’re scrolling through your feed and suddenly you’re confronted with a post that changes your mood in an instant. You’re staring at someone with what seems to be the perfect body, dressed in the best clothes, celebrating a big life win, on a luxurious vacation, with their perfect partner or family, in their fancy house, or at their awesome job. All of a sudden, you’re playing the comparison game. Thoughts quickly rush into your mind. You begin to doubt yourself. You’re thinking what you have isn’t enough or that YOU aren’t enough. Even though you keep scrolling, the thoughts are there. And with every “perfect” looking photo, those thoughts continue to build. We’ve all been there (including myself). Why do we keep doing it? Probably because we’re humans and we’re nosy. Although it can ruin our day, we can’t stop looking at other people’s lives. Dammit! It’s so interesting!
I was falling victim to it on the regular. I ventured out into the sea of public Instagram photos and there I was, carried away with my comparison thoughts. I would get so mad at myself for entertaining such ridiculousness. I mean, I love my life! Why was I suddenly wanting something I never have before? What would I even do with that big ass yacht? And why was I all of a sudden so aware of characteristics I lacked? How are her eyebrows so perfect? Oh yeah, she didn’t go against her Mama’s advice and pluck them all out in the 90’s. I noticed I was becoming super critical of myself and my life. When I became cognizant of this, I was like, “Oh hell no. This is some bullshit and it has to stop right now.” It took some time, but I came up with a game plan. Here is what worked for me.
I changed my perspective. I began to allow these posts to inspire and motivate me. If someone else was doing big things, I became thrilled for them. There is a high probability they earned it by working hard. It made me want to work harder and stay motivated so I could have more of what I wanted. I chose to stop seeing them as a threat and started looking at them as straight inspiration. When you change your perspective from “I wish I had that” to “I’m going to have that”, these posts can have a different influence over your mindset. Don’t hate, let it motivate!
I started practicing gratitude. I was reminding myself to be grateful for what I currently have in my possession. I remembered that I am exactly where I am supposed to be in MY journey. I have so much for which to be grateful. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I began to be happy for what I do have. For example, “That girl has rock hard abs. She most definitely worked her ass off and earned them. Good for her! But I got to eat Jets pizza last night during my cheat meal. So even though I do not have rock hard abs, I am grateful that I got to enjoy the shit out of that delicious pizza.” Or what about, “That house is so big and beautiful! I bet they throw some rad parties. I also bet it costs a lot of time and money to maintain it. I’m thankful I don’t have a bunch of strangers creeping around cleaning and doing maintenance all the time. My house isn’t a mansion, but I’m grateful that it’s a representation of Bobby and me. We spent so much time making it ours.” See where I am going with this? Gratefulness is a daily practice but when used regularly, it can help you become more self aware.
If neither of those worked, I just stopped clicking on an image that even looked like it would send my thoughts spiraling. And if someone I was following gave me a case of the comparison sads, I just stopped following them. Just. Like. That. The thought of this might give some of you heart palpitations. I can hear you now, “But I have to see what so and so is doing!” Ummmmm, no, you don’t. If so and so gives you that undesired feeling, give yourself permission to disconnect. What’s more important? Seeing what so and so is doing or keeping that healthy, happy mindset? Chances are you will forget about them within days. Out of sight, out of mind.
Our social media worlds have the possibility to keep us all smiles. The good news is you get to choose who you allow to influence you on yours. Why wouldn’t you want it to be happy and positive? When these posts sneak up, you also get to choose whether you are going to allow them to inspire you or consume you. The choice is always yours.
Can you think of some posts that sent you into the comparison game? What do you do to negate them?