Recently, I wrote a little post where I described how I had aspired to be like a few fantastic women I admire. While in that case, the comparison of myself to them resulted in a very positive outcome, I’ve been thinking a lot about how sometimes comparison can be more destructive than constructive.
Long gone are the days of occasionally running into someone, noticing how her hair is always perfect, and deciding to copy her style at your next salon appointment. No longer do we randomly hear about a successful college acquaintance and secretly wish for a snazzier title or bigger paycheck. No, these instances don’t just happen every once in a while anymore. Thanks to social media, we get to see how fabulous everyone else is every single minute online. And what’s worse is that we likely seek out this comparison.
How many of us go online to Facebook or Twitter and repeatedly stalk the same handful of people thinking, “She’s got it all,” “I wish I had his job,” “I wish I had her body,” or some variation of ‘she has what I don’t’?
I do it. I can’t tell you how many times I look at blogs, Twitter feeds, and Facebook profiles and wish that something about myself was different. But, there’s a point when being motivated by someone else turns to jealousy and poor self-image.
Here’s the problem: we all post the best versions of ourselves on the internet. We don’t usually post when mess up at work, when we gain five pounds over one weekend, or when we yell at our dogs because we’re stressed out. (Sorry, Barley…mommy didn’t mean to snap at you.)
It’s a lot more common to see, “I just ran four miles!” than, “I just watched four hours of FRIENDS reruns and ate a box of Thin Mints!”…. but don’t both things happen in our lives? We’re all struggling to be successful, to be good people, to have it all.…whatever that may mean to each of us. But remember, we’re also all struggling with challenges and sometimes just dealing with the mundane.
While it’s easy to get caught up in what we perceive others to have and dwell on what we don’t, it’s important to stop the comparison. We each need to appreciate the success, the great experiences, and the exciting times of life that we’ve enjoyed ourselves.
I recently read a couple of articles that had great ideas for how to keep yourself from spiraling down into the clutches of comparison. I’d encourage you to read them as well: How to Escape the Comparison Trap and Comparison is the Thief of Joy: Thoughts on Social Media.
Whether or not you take a minute a read the articles above, know at least one thing: When you find yourself slipping into ‘I’m not good enough’ speak, remember that the person you’re comparing yourself to and you believe to be perfect is not. She likely spends time doing exactly what you’re doing. In fact, she may be looking at your profile wishing she was more like you…..