Comparing your life- Is it time to stop?
You scroll through your social media feed and up pops the perfect family enjoying yet another blissful holiday, or that person in the same line of business as you living the entrepreneurial city dream with their ‘six- figure’ income- you know its not the whole picture right?
Of course you do, I mean we all know that half an hour before that picture perfect family shot, the kids were probably trying to bicker their way into the Guinness Book of Records and that entrepreneurial lifestyle.Well, maybe they’re renting a living space no bigger than a hamster cage or despite the champagne lifestyle, they’re still searching for happiness- who knows?
Yet, how often do you, like so many of us fall prey to buying into those images and wind up comparing your life, your body, your business success or whatever to what you see in your feed.
All to often, we get caught up in comparing ourselves to others without recognising what a complete waste of time and energy it is; forgetting that what we’re actually comparing is the ins and outs of our daily life to the social media highlights of others – If we could see the whole picture, the moments before the ‘perfection’ would we feel as inadequate or envious?
If I was a stranger scrolling through my social media posts I might want slice of my life’s pie too!- No, I’m not boasting, the point making is that looking in to my life from the outside, others would be getting a snapshot of a happy family life, fun times, and the amazing road trip we took a couple of years back. What they wouldn’t be seeing is the year I had a complete meltdown at Christmas or that over last 7 years while working on regaining health, chunks of my life have been rendered as dull as dishwater.
Through that social media lens, there might been one or two folks out there looking in on my life from the outside thinking what a lucky lass- I get to work from home and do my own thang, BUT what they don’t see is that all the life plans I had to forgo when I got sick, and how for a long time all I wanted was the normality of a busy work environment. I guess, what I’m trying to say, is that you never know what your comparing your life with, what you think you see as the perfect situation, to the person living it, it could be far from ideal.
Ok, so admittedly, there has been one HUGE silver lining to my situation- Time. Time to educate myself on natural health, to write, gain an organic skincare diploma and read a LOT of books. Now I’m healthier, I can appreciate how this period has presented me with windows of opportunity – Now I’m more accepting of the hand that’s was dealt to me, I am able to recognise the many positive changes it has made to my life, and how much it has taught me.
Two things I learnt long the way about making comparisons are:
- No matter how it looks you never know what anyone else is going through.
- Constantly comparing any part of your life to others is usually…
a road to nowhere.
Sometimes making comparisons can be motivating (if using it for positive action) however, the majority of the time comparing your life to others, is a fruitless exercise, it really is a road to nowhere, except maybe disappointment.
When I was really sick, I used to constantly compare the life I wasn’t able to lead to the lives of healthy people, then, as I began to heal I switched to comparing my level of healing to others on the same path.
Until the day I discovered that our unique biochemistry means we all heal in different ways and at different paces. With that realisation, it dawned on me that I was wasting valuable energy and time focusing on how someone else was healing. It really didn’t matter what they were doing when because my healing path would be different.
The same thing goes for when I first started out in the coaching world. For a time I slipped back into playing that comparison game. I spent waaaay too much time concerning myself with what other coaches were doing, what they were putting out there, and wondering if I could be as good. I signed up to a bazillion email lists and webinars- trying to do things someone else’s way.
After all that time spent, all I ended up with was an inbox that went into daily overload with sheer volume of emails promising me the key to success, and a huge dose of procrastination. I lost confidence in my own abilities and lost touch with the how I could do it differently by just being me.
Recently I decided to be more mindful of my social media use, I no longer scroll mindlessly through my FB feed because it doesn’t make me feel all that great, inevitably I come across something that makes me feel a bit crappy about myself or question my accomplishments. It was tough to start with, but as time has passed, I’ve got over the FOMO (fear of missing out) and I feel much better for it.
Believe in your own uniqueness.
You are uniquely you, you can’t be exactly the same as someone else- it’s simply not possible. Even if you woke up tomorrow in the life of that person you think has it better than you, you still wouldn’t have the same life. Yes, you be in the same environment, but you would be experiencing those same things DIFFERENTLY because you are an individual, with an individual’s mind and spirit.
What I am working my way around to saying, is that when we get caught up in constantly making comparisons we lose sight of the unique gifts we alone possess. When we get sucked into that cycle of drawing comparisons we end up to trying to live up to a set of ideals that have been shaped by other people’s dreams, ambitions and achievements, instead of using our individuality to make our own mark on life.
Simple tips to stop unhelpful social comparisons:
- Know your triggers- Take note of what, where or who pushes your comparison button and how it negatively affect you. Social media is a huge trigger for most. Limit your time around the things, environments or people that can instantly flip you from my life is just dandy to my life is crap mode.
- Remind yourself its not the whole picture- Remember nobody’s life is picture perfect, we’re all doing this humans experience thing, with the same kind of shit- Every coin has another side, and people will only let you see what they want you to see.
- Focus on your own journey- Keep your eyes on your own prize, direct your focus towards what you need to be doing to feel fulfilled not what others are, good old fashioned minding your own business!
- Practice gratitude- When you consciously search for the good things in your life, when you get into the habit of daily gratitude you are less likely to get in to the comparison game.
- Self-awareness – Get to know yourself better, be ok with your imperfections, and discover what makes you different from others. Embrace your uniqueness and use those skills to blaze your own trail through life.
- Boost yourself- If you can learn to be content and feel good about yourself, you are more likely to use comparisons to motivate and inspire you.
Remember that not all comparisons are bad for us, at times it can be a useful tool to gauge your progress. It can help us to set goals. It can be good thing to have something or someone to aspire to. If it motivates you then that is useful, if it drags you down or brings out the worst in you then let it go.
When you find yourself comparing as yourself the following questions to help you.
Am I using this to motivate myself into forward action?
Am I using this to beat myself up?
Am I using comparisons to make myself feel better than someone else?
And take this forward..