Welcome to the new section of my blog: On My Mind. This is going to be a new weekly ‘column’ sort of area of my blog, where I will just chat about a topic, and I’d love for you to get involved in the comments section, share your thoughts. Whether it be something on the news or just something on my mind – I thought it would be nice to go a little deeper on the blog, talking about things that matter and that can help people (and myself). It won’t be for everyone, and it’s a far cry from my usual fashion posts, but to be honest I’ve found myself getting bored sharing the same old stuff here week in, week out.
This week I’m going to talk about the topic of comparison, because it’s something I have struggled with in the past, it’s something we all have to deal with in the age of social media every day, and it’s something I’ve seen more and more people openly do publicly in the last while. And it needs to stop.
I spent years comparing myself to anyone and everyone. Since I was in school it has just been a normal part of my life, which allowed me to never truly be happy in my successes and at times has distracted me from what I really wanted. I learnt there is a never-ending list of things that you can compare yourself based on (money, jobs, education, family, bodyshape, travels, the list goes on…) and a never-ending list of people to compare with too. It’s a dangerous road to start and be stuck on. Honestly it has a lot to do with not feeling good enough, and thats something I’m always working on. At the end of the day we only have one life, so every new adventure no matter how challenging, should be enjoyed. Any bit of progress you make should be celebrated. We’re all on different paths – our speed and end destination is going to be different. That’s why last year I made the resolution to stop comparing myself to people. To focus on what I’m doing, only compare myself to myself and to have a better understanding of my own journey.
A year on I think I’ve made really good progress, of course I still have the odd day where I will say ‘God I wish I was as good at this as X is’, or ‘They have their life so much more together than mine’ – but I think as humans thats natural, and its something we all go through. I’ve found it can even be inspiring and motivating at times. What we need to understand is that comparison for the most part is not good; it distracts you from your own goals and accomplishments, wastes time and is never accurate or fair. See the list below that highlights the shortcomings of comparing yourself to others, I found it here:
- Comparisons are always unfair. We typically compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others.
- Comparisons, by definition, require metrics. But only a fool believes every good thing can be counted (or measured).
- Comparisons rob us of precious time. We each get 86,400 seconds each day. And using even one to compare yourself or your accomplishments to another is one second too many.
- You are too unique to compare fairly. Your gifts and talents and successes and contributions and value are entirely unique to you and your purpose in this world. They can never be properly compared to anyone else.
- You have nothing to gain, but much to lose. For example: your pride, your dignity, your drive, and your passion.
- There is no end to the possible number of comparisons. The habit can never be overcome by attaining success. There will also be something—or someone—else to focus on.
- Comparison puts focus on the wrong person. You can control one life—yours. But when we constantly compare ourselves to others, we waste precious energy focusing on other peoples’ lives rather than our own.
- Comparisons often result in resentment. Resentment towards others and towards ourselves.
- Comparisons deprive us of joy. They add no value, meaning, or fulfillment to our lives. They only distract from it.
In that article they also give a guide to stop comparing yourself to others which includes the following:
- Become intimately aware of your own successes
- Pursue the greater things in life (love, empathy, generosity, humility, selflessness)
- Compete less. Appreciate and celebrate others more.
- Gratitude for what you already have.
- Remind yourself that nobody is perfect
- Find inspiration without comparison
- If you need to compare, compare with yourself
Comparison in the Age of Social Media
Speaking as someone who works in social media, I spend a lot of time online on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, and for the most part you’ll find people sharing the very best of their day, looking their best, speaking in the most positive voice they might have used all day and usually in a much prettier location than they’ve been all day. I do it myself, and you know what, there is something nice about that – wouldn’t it be worse if we all focused on the bad stuff (and to be fair if I was to throw up a photo of me in my pyjamas on the couch – I guarantee you no one would want to see that haha). It’s nice to be positive and share happy thoughts and photos, but it’s almost like social media should come with a disclaimer: “Not everything is as perfect as you might perceive it to be”. We have all been using social media for years at this stage, so I think we do understand that now but sometimes its nice to be reminded, and I do try and share that message too – anyone who follows me on Snapchat and YouTube will know that.
If you’re having a hard day/week/year it’s hard not to feel put down looking at everyone’s else’s happy moments they are excited to share. Here are some tips for dealing with those kind of days:
- Take a little break from social media, turn of the notifications or even delete the app for a day.
- Remember what you see is not always what you get, real-life is more important.
- If someone online is making you feel particularly bad about yourself, then just unfollow or hide them from your feed. Nobody is perfect and no one should make it out that way. It’s an impossible standard to try and upkeep, not to mind to compare against – but we are not going to do that anymore remember 😉
- Remember that comparing yourself is unfair, not accurate, stealing your joy and distracting
- Stay in your own lane, focus on you! We all have our own time-zones and things happen according to them.
- Last but not least, remember the good sides to social media
On that last point, I think we all give social media a bad name, including myself. It definitely has its down sides. But we have to remember what we use it for: inspiration, keeping up to date with our friends lives, sharing encouragement and support, laughter, organising events, outfit ideas 😉 … the list is endless. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to make a career out of my use of social media, and I know the responsibilities that come with that, which is why I want to talk about things like this more often. In 2018 I’m really going to focus on giving anyone who follows me, reads my blog and watches my video more value for their time. More fashion, more beauty, more thoughtful posts… so keep the ideas coming 🙂
A Note to People Who Openly Compare
As I said, it is something we all struggle with, its s**t, and has a lot to do with not feeling good enough. Lately I’ve seen people comparing both online and in person and in the context of these comparisons they put the other person down to show or say how they are doing better. When people bring comparisons like these into the open, when they share it with others in hopes of their agreement, or in the hopes that they will soon believe it – then there is a real problem.
Nobody should ever put someone else down in the hopes of looking, sounding or feeling better themselves. I think that shows real insecurity (and bad manners).
Strong people understand that we are all on different paths, in different time-zones and things happen according to that. Nobody is anymore successful than anybody else – ever. Because people judge success differently.
Yes, some people can be better at certain things than others, but that really doesn’t matter. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and we’re all just trying to make our way down our own path as best we can.
I really believe people see what they see, not what they’re told to see. Well I hope so anyway.
So relax, appreciate you for you! Be supportive, encouraging, celebrate others victories and let them inspire you!
And sure what would a post like this be without a good quote:
“You are unique, don’t compare yourself to others.
Someone graduated at the age of 22, yet waited 5 years before securing a good job; and there is another who graduated at 27 and secured employment immediately!
Someone became CEO at 25 and died at 50 while another became a CEO at 50 and lived to 90 years.
Everyone works based on their ‘Time Zone’. People can have things worked out only according to their pace.
Work in your “time zone”. Your Colleagues, friends, younger ones might “seem” to go ahead of you. May be some might “seem” behind you. Everyone is in this world running their own race on their own lane in their own time. God has a different plan for everybody. Time is the difference.
I really hope you enjoyed this post, it’s something I feel strongly about and have personally experienced, so hopefully shedding some light on it was useful,
It’s the longest post I have wrote in a long time haha – and it was so nice to write about something new for a change,
Looking forward to getting stuck into more blog posts like this in 2018, let me know if there are any topics in particular you’d like me to cover!