In a time when social media is at it’s peak, our views into people’s “lives” has become easier than ever to see. The problem with this though, is that we are only ever really seeing the glamorous side to their lives.
I’ve been guilty of this my entire life. From from my richer, skinnier, prettier friends growing up, to my family constantly comparing me to other people, to the fact that I was just…. different. As much as I’d love to blame my self consciousness on all these factors, I know well enough now to see that it’s just a character flaw no less than my over procrastination, my anger, and my lack of commitment.
I was always told I was the odd man out. My love for gothic music, my obsession with self harm, and the fact that I was overweight didn’t really help much either. I got told by friends when I was in grade school that they wouldn’t hang out with me in public cause I was the loser. I stared in awe at the pretty girls who seemed to have it all. Cute clothes, more friends, and all the boys seemed to only want them. I always wondered what it was about me that made people not like me. Was it my weight? My brown hair? My weird personality? Even the friends I did have excluded me from vacations and parties. I kind of became the friend who was only around if some one didn’t have anyone else to hang out with. I stopped myself from ever trying to be anything more than who I was because I was afraid of looking stupid. Like my abilities would never amount to anyone else. I enjoyed singing and felt too embarrassed to sing. I enjoyed sports but was too scared to try out for fear of rejection. Even when I pursued acting, people made fun of me behind my back and my self doubt eventually made me drop out of classes…
So comparing myself to people has really always been my forte. Eventually as I got older I tried being my own person, tried to move on from the people who made me feel like shit. But, that only made me more isolated. I had a really rough time making friends because I never thought I was good enough for anyone. Everyone else seemed so much better than me. Throw the uprise of social media into the mix and I had a million ways to compare myself to everyone. The girls with the bigger house. More stuff. Nicer bodies. Prettier faces. Better job titles. More followers. You name it, I probably beat down on myself for it.
About three years ago, I realized I was headed down a road that was gonna be hard to turn around on. I realized that the more I compared myself to others, the more self conscious I became. I said awful things about myself almost daily. Scrolling through Instagram every hour seeing how much more fit that girl was or how much better she was eating healthy than me or how much more money she had to buy expensive juices and new workout clothes or how effortlessly her Instagram feed flowed. I pushed myself and tried so hard to be like these people I saw on Instagram.
The people who’s lives I only saw the best parts of.
And My experience likely sounds a lot like yours, right? Constantly comparing your worsts to someone else’s bests. Constantly in a state of distress thinking you need to do better and be more like that person. Suffering from anxiety because you never think you’re good enough. If you could only be taller, shorter, skinnier, curvier…. if you could only be… not you.
So how do we stop this? How to we pull ourselves out of a rut that we’ve likely been in all of our conscious lives? How do we stop resenting ourselves and start loving ourselves in all our flaws?
These are my 5 steps that I use on a daily basis that have helped me to overcome the need to compare myself to others:
1. Make it your priority
You must acknowledge the problem first. It took me a long time to even see how self destructive my behavior was. But once I realized it, things took a turn for me. I started to notice when I would say bad things about myself. I started to put myself out there, tried to make more friends who wouldn’t bring me down, and stopped associating with the people whom I compared myself most too. If you truly want to stop comparing yourself to others, you just need to STOP comparing yourself to others. You need to make you a priority to you.
2. Note your successes
The worst thing about comparing ourselves to others, is that we forget how truly amazing we are. We forget that there’s likely people out there comparing themselves to US. You need to remember why you are great. Do you like your legs? Your hair? Maybe you’re great at singing or juggling or knitting. Whatever it is that you love about yourself, remind yourself of that every single day. Tell yourself out loud how much you love that about yourself. You have a unique background full of unique talents that help you in your bubble of life. Use these talents to motivate you in other ways. Maybe try grabbing a journal or open notes in your phone every time you catch yourself comparing yourself to someone else and note something that you like about yourself. Just because someone else has a great feature or talent doesn’t mean that you don’t have it too!
3. Realize life is not a competition
This is a big one guys. Here’s the harsh truth, no one is thinking about you anyways. And I don’t say that to be mean, but everyone is way too focused on themselves to even begin to worry about what you or anyone else for that matter is doing. When you walk into the gym and feel intimated that everyone will probably stare at you cause you don’t know what you’re doing…. well, I’m sorry…. but they’re not! They’re way to focused on getting their pump on to even look over to see what you’re doing. When you realize that life’s not a competition with everyone else, you will actually start to be better at what you enjoy. You’ll begin to build confidence in whatever activity you’re doing because you’re not worried about how she did it or what anyone else is gonna think, you’re just focused on pleasing yourself. If anything, be in a competition with yourself! Strive to be better than the girl you were yesterday. Run faster than her, work harder than her, simply be better than her.
4. Stop scrolling
This is tough, but a necessity. If you find yourself on social media daily constantly comparing yourself to the girls with more followers, better bodies, cuter stuff, bigger houses, WHATEVER it is you’re beating yourself up for not being….. STOP! Some of the biggest names on Instagram stay off their feed because it is detrimental to them. It’s an unsafe space because they only find themselves shaming themselves for not being what these other people are. People only put the best part of themselves on social media so you looking through someone’s entire feed of perfect days will only make you question yours. So seriously, if you ever catch yourself scrolling through someone’s feed only feeling bad about yourself…. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN! It’s an unproductive, self sabotaging way to spend even a second of your day.
5. Be honest with yourself
As humans, we are all dealing with troubles and hardships. You have a 5 minute conversation with anyone and you’ll hear things that will make your heart sink. Be honest with yourself and remember that nobody is perfect. Be honest with yourself and see that even though you may not like certain things about yourself, there is so many other things about you to love! Maybe even use that comparison in a positive way to motivate you to try something new. If you’re honestly down about not being a better reader, writer, runner, then use that as inspiration to become better at it!
Look, I’m not saying any of this is easy, but the work to get there is so worth the love you soon discover for yourself. A life of comparison isn’t a life well spent. Do you really want to live this way forever? I know I don’t. And I sure hope you don’t either. Remember, you will always be better than you think you are. Humans are way to hard on themselves as it is, don’t let comparison be another factor adding to your self doubt. You are amazing for even taking the step to read this blog.
Let’s conquer self comparison together.
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