‘Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you’~Unknown.
But we all do it, don’t we? Compare ourselves to others and no more so than right now, with the all-pervasive, highly curated, mega-edited slice of life known as social media.
The art of comparing ourselves to others has gotten so much easier than simply peering over the wall and checking what your neighbours are up to, thanks to FB, Instagram and the like.
Being online has connected us in so many freaking life-changing ways yet (ironically) it’s also driven huge divides between us too, causing us to feel more self-critical than ever, more vulnerable and sometimes less successful than we actually are, as we measure ourselves up against the whole world: the world wide web.
But let’s be real too for a minute shall we? Whilst online life has made everything a little bit hyperreal, comparison would happen regardless, it’s just the way the world rocks and rolls (and the small matter of competition being behind evolution don’t forget)…
Evaluating ourselves against others will never phase out and nor should it, but equally it mustn’t destroy or deter us, that’s never been it’s purpose…Quite the opposite in fact, competition exists to motivate and encourage greatness, it promotes the survival of the fittest, a world which thrives.
Weighing ourselves up against each other has been ingrained since childhood (remember school-ouch) yet we often forget that what we were actually being taught the meaning of healthy competition, the window in which to win and importantly, lose in an emotionally safe environment so we could learn and grow. And equally, know what it takes to flourish.
Importantly and when education works well (don’t ask me about my own high school experience), teachers, family/ role models are there to guide you, and help prevent you from self-sabotaging, from destroying your self-worth when the going gets tough.
It’s a hard lesson, and one I’m re-living with my own perfectionist son (who takes after me), Oliver, 7, regularly feels demotivated and sad when he doesn’t get things right every single time.
I am teaching him that without mistakes we cannot learn.
That need to learn and improve must not be extinguished, it’s the lifeblood of creativity and business but being kinder to himself/ ourselves and also happy for others as they achieve, is crucial too.
And let’s get to the crux of it-there’s an important distinction between healthy and unhealthy competition. The former encourages growth and creativity, the latter, jealousy and worthlessness.
And here’s the thing, you’re FULLY in control of how you let others make you feel (yep, that’s adulthood for you). You get to decide your emotional response.
The more you practise a healthy, positive response in life to pretty much anything (even adversity), the more you’ll go on to action and achieve positive results (rather than stuffing yourself with chocolate and hating the world forevs). We’ve all been there (hey PMT you s***).
Photo by Kirsty Mattsson.
Believe me when I say I get it, I’m a blogger-we’re all playing out our lives online and that means being exposed to literally millions of images 24/7 of people on beaches or looking like mega-babes, making comparison inevitable and more frequent too.
And whilst I love following all the beautiful people on instagram and that means masses of super stunning and incredibly smart women doing the coolest of things I’ve personally curated to look at all day, when it’s PMT week, I’ll always feel worse about myself for scrolling.
Not in that jealous, ‘I hate those babes and don’t wish them well’ vibe more, ‘I hate myself for not feeling as happy/successful/as good in skinny jeans as they do’ in that exact moment.
Although here’s the truth, no one knows who is feeling what, in that moment anyway right?
And here’s the other thing, because I’m so used to practising positivity, I mean, years of it, I hand-on-heart rarely ever feel envious outside of that oh-so hormonal week.
I don’t believe anyone actively sets out to deceive others in showcasing the good times either- it’s human nature to veer towards positivity (it’s survival even) and I love seeing the brighter, prettier, ‘I’ll stand on the table to shoot this avo on toast if I have to’ side of life for the most part with a good measure of reality sprinkled in (photos of screaming toddlers and mamas drinking gin).
Equally, I love reading about people’s achievements and milestones and believe the more we ALL do MORE of the championing ourselves. bit, the less crap we’ll feel when others do so too.
You see if you don’t share IRL and online, the things that matter to you, the goals met and milestone moments, it becomes easier to forget them, and not value yourself. If all you do is play out the negative voices in your head, you’ll drown out anything positive which creates a low confidence cycle where you’ve literally lost the ability to track your progress.
So please amigos, combat those feelings of inadequacy by reminding yourself of your bad-assness and know that you are in FIRMLY charge of your emotions. That you can change the way you think and react.
I’m not a naturally jealous person, I never have been. I’m the girl who sees the beautiful, kick-ass, clever, kind and sweet peeps and hopes they’ll be my besties.
I feel stronger and better about myself when I’m surrounded by brilliant over-achieving over-sharers.
I’ve unravelled this for years now-and it absolutely comes from being brought up around smart, savvy and strong women since birth. My blueprints.
But it’s not too late to feel that way yourself, whatever you upbringing and role models.
Know that when those, ‘I’m just not good enough and everyone is better than me’ feels start boiling up, they’re simply (loudly) telling you that you want a piece of this for yourself, be it autonomy, financial stability, travel, kids that smile in photos (!) or the perfect bowl of zoats- just whatever!
See that knock of confidence as a quiet siren building, there to wake yourself up so you can focus on the aspects of your life which fully deserve your time and energy.
You might want to be Chiara Ferragni or Kate Middleton but you can’t be, because you are YOU, so go ahead and do you, working your way through ticking your own boxes (achieving great hair like your idols as you go ;))
Once you start to turn your mindset on its head, you’ll be so busy focusing on your own life, you’ll stop thinking about others. You’ll be so wrapped up in achieving your own goals, you won’t have time to focus on what you don’t have. You’ll be off and away.
Plus if you take note of this post, you’ll be so used to sharing the positive aspects of your life, achieving your dreams big and small, whilst practising gratitude on what you do have (obvs), you’ll start appreciating life more, no longer feeling ‘less than’.
Don’t look at your page one and compare it other people’s page one hundred and one.
We all start at the start.
When it comes to social media and blogging, scrap that, when it comes to LIFE in general, we only ever see the end result, never the graft to get to that point/product/milestone-the blood, sweat and tears.
Those who do it well, who thrive at all of the above (or seem to, most of the time) always make it look so easy. Making something look easy though, takes time along with a constant and consistent honing of talent and sheer and unwavering determination.
It’s PASSION + ACTION.
When you take action, even the first step towards a goal, it leads to feeling more confident, and that my friends will build and build and spiral, soon becoming addictive and second-nature.
But don’t stop reading…
Right here (eventually) are my 5 (briefer) tips to help you stop self-sabotaging by comparing yourself to others:
1. Get some context
Know that usually you’re comparing the worst bits of your own life/recent experiences to others’ perceived best bits.
Try and garner a little context when you view peeps on social media at the coolest of parties/hanging with celeb mates or smashing career goals left, right and centre.
People are human and it’s easy to forget that. We’re all the same, I promise.
Life can be gloriously gorgeous and incredibly s**** and sometimes all at the same time.
Most people are good eggs simply trying their best.
They’re not posting to p*** you off, they simply want to share their lives and what they find meaningful because that’s what people do.
It’s that, ‘if we didn’t photograph it, did it actually happen?’ syndrome.
We used to be all about sharing actual photos of holidays to our friends in person, now it’s speaking to the whole world from our iPhone.
And if you think that’s full-on then wait for when virtual reality kicks in thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and you’re actually able to join those you follow on their dreamy holidays through your screen (maybe that will help combat or equally exacerbate envy, who knows)!
Stop wasting time and energy on what others’ are doing and focus on your own game plan. Channel those forgotten hours scrolling timelines living vicariously through your online heroes and start freaking LIVING your own life.
Start writing a plan of action.
Observe what you like about others YES then work out how you to strategise and be inspired to create your own content.
You love watching beauty Youtubers but are not sure where to start?
Watch Youtube Creator Academy videos and simply get cracking with your own (use your phone, in phone editing apps and start uploading).
Only you can make your dreams happen and in this democratic, easily-connected online world, once you create and share, like-minded people will find you- and the opportunities are limitless. Truly.
3. Make a list of your awesomeness
When you catch yourself wishing you were someone else, remind yourself of why you rock as you, just you. Even if you feel a douche, write a list in black and white (pen on paper-remember those?) of what you’re most proud of and in another column, a list of dreams you want to make a reality.
Now start actioning those dreams knowing that big results come from small steps.
Could you contact your local paper with a story on your last blog post? Can you get in touch with a brand you love via twitter and pitch an idea to them? Can you write the post you’re scared to write but feel it must come out?
Can you be brave enough to start? Of course you can.
4. Remember there’s only one you
You’re a one off, an original and your voice will always distinguish you from others. The beauty of art- which includes blogging btw, is that being yourself and genuine is what matters above all else. You must start to like and believe in yourself so others will do too. Once you do that, anything is possible.
Know that your view point, your story, the way you see the world is what others want to hear and read about. They want to see themselves reflected in your words and that means being yourself, on the page as much as in person.
We’re all going through similar experiences as women/millenials/parents and those universal themes will resonate.
Organic SEO means those interested in the same things you are, will find you. The internet is a beautiful thing *kisses laptop!
5. Have some time out
If you’re feeling totally overwhelmed and not good enough, take a break. Be kind to yourself. Go for a run, give yourself a digi detox for a while if you need to switch off, bake a cake. Reflect on what matters by living IRL, offline.
We can get incredibly wrapped up in social media and literally forget the things right in front of us which matter most (hopefully a baked cake ready to be eaten)!
Now go be the Queen you already are and seize your dreams x