Now, I’m not social media bashing when I say this, but it can certainly be blamed (to an extent) for giving us the means to compare ourselves to the world. The shiny happy photos. The new baby announcements. Endless engagements and weddings. Glossy holiday photos on xyz beach somewhere. The ‘look how much weight I have lost’ photos.
While a lot of us will use social media to connect with friends and family, some of us will browse mindlessly, progressively feeling worse about ourselves, our lives and our looks, the longer we are bombarded with images of ‘perfection’.
I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t ever logged onto Facebook to check a message or a tagged photograph and gotten sucked into browsing and 1 hour later, ended up grumpy and feeling down on myself. It’s embarrassing to admit. But I know I’m not alone.
But all we are doing is hurting ourselves in the long run!
How comparisons can affect us
- They make us feel like we aren’t ‘good enough’ and affect our self esteem. (Or make us feel that we are better or superior to others in our achievements. It works both ways)
- They may give us a misguided purpose to our life – to achieve as much as the next person. We may lose focus of our own goals if all we are doing is trying to be ‘as…(insert comparison here)…as’
- We start to be unappreciative of the things that we have as they do not measure up to the standards of others.
Comparisons are not all negative
A Wikipedia article that I came across while reading around the issue of Social comparison theory (a very interesting read), suggested that we use comparisons as a means of self evaluation. It seems that it is human nature to want to define and understand ourselves and we do this by comparing a number of factors about ourselves to those of others we think are most similar to us. Healthy levels of competitiveness in sport (and life in general) are also necessary as they will push an athlete to achieve his goal of winning or excelling in his field.
You are unique
Accept the fact that you are awesome in your own way and that there is no one else in the world like you! (unless of course…you are a twin – even then you are still unique!)
There is no such thing as perfect
It’s all an act for some. There have recently been a couple of models who have shattered the image of social media perfection by openly stating how they posed and glossed up their lives for Instagram/ other sites.
“Deleted over 2,000 photos here today that served no real purpose other than self-promotion. Without realizing, I’ve spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance.” from Today.com
I’m sure there were a few young people looking at this, feeling insecure. See how unnecessary that was? There is no such thing as PERFECT.
Use others’ achievements as a self-motivator/ inspiration
You don’t have to pretend not to notice the great things that others are achieving. Why not use this as an inspiration for yourself and see them as a mentor if possible? Focus on your own journey, rather than others’ journeys. Do things to enrich your own life and soon you will realise that you don’t have the time to look at others. Learn a new skill. Help someone in need. Surround yourself with positive people.
Take a break
Take a break from obsessing over checking your Facebook or Instagram feed for a day or two. See how much better you feel already?
You have more than you realise to be thankful for!