Comparing ourselves to others almost always makes us feel crap, fact. There will always be someone who you feel is richer, prettier, cleverer, skinnier, luckier, happier, etc etc. Chances are it will be one of your close friends. With the level of social media we expose ourselves to it’s so easy to get sucked into a cycle of feeling that everyone has a better life than you, which leaves you feeling even more rubbish about yourself. There are a few things to remember which will put things into perspective.
- The image people present to the world on facebook/ instagram/whatever is NOT the whole reality. It is more often than not carefully selected to convey a particular message. You don’t know the whole story – yes, your friend may put a picture up of her beautiful husband and kids on a gorgeous beach but you don’t know that this was the only sunny hour in the day, it rained most of the time and 10 minutes after this was taken they had a huge row.
- Everyone feels the same! If you have an honest conversation with your friends, they will likely admit to comparing and thinking less of themselves too. This really hit home for me when I was having a negative comparison day. Most of my friends were married with kids and I had recently split up with my fiancé. I told one of them I felt ‘less than’ because I wasn’t like them and she told me how envious she was of my single life, going on cool holidays, always out and doing exactly as I pleased. Where I was jealous of her security, she was jealous of my freedom. Swings and roundabouts! Have you heard the old adage- if you put everybody’s problems in a pile and then picked which ones you wanted, you’d come back with your own.
Some tips for overcoming the comparison cycle:
- Talk to your friends about it– be honest and I bet you they’ll be honest back.
- If looking at a particular person’s feed on facebook makes you feel bad then unfollow them. They don’t have to know and you don’t have to unfriend them- if it’s not in your face, you’re not tempted to compare and despair.
- Work on your own self-esteem – write down things about you and your life that you like, or if you are struggling, get your friends and family to do it for you. Write another list of things you are proud of – achievements big or small.
- Remember, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. The way people present themselves may be masking problems you have no idea about.
- As my wise yogi sister says ‘stay on your own mat’ – focus on what you’re doing and don’t worry so much about everyone else. Remember what you are good at and celebrate your successes and strengths for what they are rather than looking at them next to somebody else’s.
As human beings we are all unique and wonderful in our own way – appreciate yourself for all the things you are and don’t dwell on all the things you’re not.