These days, it is so easy to compare yourself to others, what with the likes of Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and all kinds of other social media platforms.
However they are far-fetched misconceptions of people’s lives, as people only share the best parts of their lives with the rest of the world, allowing us to believe that their lives are this perfect, bright and shiny 100% of the time. Of course, this leads us to feel like our own lives are dull, mediocre and just pretty ‘ordinary’ – which is most certainly not true. We get so sucked into comparison that we forget how amazing our lives can be, and in fact, are. Research has been extensively carried out on the subject, with a body of experts discovering that Instagram actually has the highest negative impact on young peoples’ perceptions of what a ‘healthy body image’ is, ultimately leading to heightened anxiety and poor self-esteem in those aged between 14 and 24.
As much as I love Instagram, it saddens me that it is able to have such a huge impact on our perceptions of ourselves. You could be the most intelligent, passionate, warm-hearted soul, and yet feel second-rate to some stranger that you follow on Instagram all because they live the ‘high-life’, and their thighs perhaps aren’t quite so ‘thunderish’ as yours. But realistically, why does this matter? Why do we allow ourselves to be so consumed by social media? With competing with people we’ve never even met? It’s so unhealthy, and perhaps without even realising it, it has a bigger impact on us than we first think.
Ready to change your mindset?
Turn comparison into inspiration.
It’s easy to still be comparing yourself to others, but don’t allow it to become unhealthy competition that has a negative impact on your emotional wellbeing. Don’t compete with the ‘icons’ of social media, because then you’re competing with something that isn’t even real, because it is not an accurate representation of their reality. Instead of feeling discouraged and incapable, allow the feeling to drive you into inspiration. Comparison is destructive, and it is actually a huge waste of your time. You could spend hours looking at your social media feeds, stalking people who already seem so accomplished and seem to already have their life together. In reality, this isn’t productive, and it does nothing but spiral you further and further into a negative, debilitating mood.
Instead, use this time to take note of those around you, and their accomplishments and achievements. Rather than wishing you were them, discover the ways that you can become more like them. Remember, we all have to start somewhere. Nobody becomes successful, slim or famous overnight [well, not for the right reasons anyway!] If you compare yourself to fitness gurus, instead of wishing you had abs and the perfect figure, allow it to inspire you to be a bit more fit and healthy, and to eat a better diet. If you compare yourself to someone who is more accomplished in their career than you, allow it to inspire you to work that tiny bit harder, whether it is a little extra reading, researching, or thinking out of the box. Turn the negative into the positive. Life is all about what you make it, and the way you process life can have a huge impact on your levels of happiness. If you want to have a more positive outlook on life, then click here to read about the powers of positive thinking!
“One of the greatest temptations for us as dreamers is to compare the start of our new adventures to the middle of someone else’s.”
Social media detox.
If you can’t turn comparison into inspiration, then take a social media detox! It’s difficult to prevent yourself from comparing at all, and it is most likely something you will need to work on with daily affirmations and positive self-talk! Besides, a detox from social media can only have healthy effects for your emotional and mental wellbeing [although maybe not for your social life!] There’s a whole host of benefits of switching off for a while, other than the fact that you stop comparing to the lives of others. It also allows you to reconnect with the world around you. This has strong links with the concept of mindfulness, which is the art of being completely present with a certain moment, and fully concentrate on the sights, sounds, smells, etc., of where you are. Incorporating mindfulness exercises into your life, combined with a social media detox every now and then, is one way to start to make you wonder why you were ever so interested in competing with other peoples’ lives.
If you can’t cope without any form of social media, then have a detox of the particular accounts that you are following. Instagram as a whole is not unhealthy and demoralising. No form of social media is wholly bad, but it all depends on the parts of it that you choose to follow. Unfollow those accounts who make you feel worthless and shoddy, where you find yourself feeling self-conscious, insecure and simply not good enough, and follow accounts that encourage you to be inspired rather than defeated. As an example, instead of following accounts of heavily successful people, showcasing their fortune, follow accounts of likeminded people, who are at the same stage in life as you. As Michael Hyatt said, don’t compare your beginning to another person’s middle or end. Don’t feel discouraged that someone is so far ahead of you, because they may have started a long time before you. A detox from negative outlooks and perceptions of others’ lives can work wonders for your emotional and mental wellbeing, and have the effect of an increased quality of life. There is more to your life than wondering how good someone else is doing.
The grass is greener on the other side. But is it?
We have all heard of the famous expression, but is there any truth in it, really? We all have moments in life where we feel like we would be so much happier, and our lives would be so much better, ‘if only’ something were different. If only I could be more successful, if only I had more money, if only I looked a certain way. In honesty, feelings such as this are perfectly natural things to feel as human beings, as long as we don’t dwell on them. The other infamous grass quote; ‘the grass is always greener where you water it‘, however, is a far more positive perspective to take account of. Yes, the grass may look greener elsewhere, but it isn’t your grass, so it shouldn’t concern you. Now not so metaphorical, whatever you give your time, energy and love to, is what is going to grow stronger and brighter. If somebody else puts in all of their time, energy, money and love into being thinner, fitter and healthier, then their life is going to look much stronger and brighter than others’. However, by focusing on your own passions, you will soon experience this similar strength in your own life.
They key is to look after yourself, and put yourself first. If you know what you want, why you want it, and what you have to do to get there, then what is stopping you from attaining your perfectly healthy, bright green grass? The only obstacle is yourself. Competition with others is negative, and is the only thing that stands between you and what you want to achieve. If you’re constantly glancing at the successes of others, you’re not pouring all of your effort into your own.
Compete with yourself, not anyone else.
So, why compete with other people’s grass when you can compete with your own?! After all, it is part of human nature to be competitive, and competing with yourself is a far healthier version of being a better you. Strive to be a better version of yourself every day. The only person you can realistically compare yourself to is yourself; as you have a much better measure of what success means to you. Success means something different to everyone, and at the end of the day, if you have succeeded and become better at something compared to how you were a week, month, or year ago, then that is what really matters. You are running your own marathon in life, not anybody else’s, and you will finish it when you finish it. Yes, other people might get there before you, but at the end of the day you still ran a marathon. [Well, metaphorically speaking at least.] And that in itself is a huge accomplishment.
Besides, what’s better than defining your own success? You can celebrate every achievement, no matter how small it may be, and be proud of your own success. Out-do your past more and more each day, and perhaps one day people will look at you wishing they could be as successful, thin, fit and healthy as you are. Be the best version of you, and be happy whilst you work on being just that. Your personality begins to thrive when competition and hatred leaves.
You are you, and that is your power.
We are so worried about what other people may think of us; so much so that we let it have an impact on our lives. But when doing so, we forget that we are magical, unique human beings, and we have the ability to be completely ourselves. It is society, perhaps with the help of social media, that makes us feel like our personalities and quirks are in competition with others. When you think about it, this is just nuts! Every person on the planet is different to one another in every way: appearance, personality, likes and dislikes, fun quirks, things that make us happy. We forget that actually, being unique is a damn powerful thing to be. You don’t want to blend in with the background and be just like everyone else. You want to appreciate the success of others, perhaps adopt some of their methods and approaches to develop on your own successes, and adapt them to who you are, and how you live your life.
It’s time to say “I’m not perfect, and I’m okay with that.” Being truly and honestly happy with who you are as a person can go a long way, and can prevent you from wanting to compete with other people in the first place. Nobody is perfect, even though they might appear to be. If you appreciate your flaws and love yourself fully, nobody can tear you down. There is an undetermined strength in being yourself, and it is something to be admired, not feared.
Gratitude goes a long way.
Be grateful for the things you do have, and the challenges you have already overcome. You might be so ocused on the negative, and how you haven’t yet achieved what you wanted to, but the likelihood is that you’ve already achieved so much whilst working towards an end goal. You may have already been promoted, lost a few pounds in weight, been more positive to others and with your life, socialised more with friends and family, cooked healthier meals or spent more time with family than you once used to. Celebrate the small things in life, because the small things soon add up to make the big things. You wouldn’t achieve that huge promotion if you didn’t work hard for a deadline or meet other targets. You wouldn’t have a more positive outlook if you didn’t make small changes each day to adapt your mindset. If you appreciate the good things, no matter how small, you will be less inclined to want to compete with others, because you will already be so grateful for all that you’ve already accomplished.
For more benefits gratitude can have on our wellbeing, and our perception of the world around us, click here.