Comparing yourself to others will only stop you from truly appreciating yourself, flaws and all.
As social media outlets grow, so is the number of ways we can share the ins and outs of our lives with both friends and strangers. Facebook has become a hosting ground for news on college acceptances, semester grades, job promotions, and more. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with sharing good news with friends and family but the way it's done screams ego boost more than genuinely keeping them in the loop. But I get it, there are so many platforms to show off what you're doing so once you start seeing what everyone else is doing, you want in. It starts a series of comparisons which only leads to false expectations. No matter the context, looking at others and asking "Why not me?" is only the beginning of a larger issue.
If you know me, you know I'm the kind of girl who easily falls into the "bro" category. Without much effort, I somehow become one of the guys. That quickly translates into the friend zone but since I haven't been attracted to any guy friends throughout college, I kind of forgot about the "curse." Yes, I'm dramatic but stay with me. Over the span of four years, a male friend who I was never attracted to somehow became "my type." I mentioned his glo up in the group chat to which the consensus was #shootyourshot2k16. I'm not one for grand gestures so my idea of shooting my shot was more of a layup aka subtle cues. That bounced right out because moments later, I came face to face with his girlfriend.
I tell you this cause in that moment, I found myself eyeing the sh*t out of this woman for no good reason. The little devil on my shoulder wanted to run a list of comparisons but I snapped out of it and realized no good could come from it. When you compare yourself to others, you're more than likely comparing apples to oranges so stop while you're ahead. In other words, you can only see what someone chooses to show you. The same way you don't walk around publicly displaying your flaws and failures, you're not going to catch someone else doing it. I've found this to be a real issue on social media, whether it be friends sharing their transcripts and job offers or fitness bloggers showing off their progress pics. I think a lot of this comes from our generation always looking for validation from others but whatever the reason may be, you can't let it get to you. In the off chance that the person you're comparing yourself to is actually perfect- what are you gonna do now?
You see all the praise but where's the struggle? It's human nature that we only want to show our good side whether it be the side we think photographs best or the positive side of a drawn out battle. We're conditioned to hide away the parts of us that others won't eagerly want to mimic. When you see a status update about a new job or a promotion, you need to also think about the series of interviews that didn't go well and remind yourself that you will get your moment too. I think seeing others' successes can bring us down, making us question what we're doing wrong, when in reality you're doing the same thing but just stuck on the earlier chapters. You're comparing where they are in their journey now, not knowing wha it took to get there.
Do your goals match your effort? Now, being stuck on the earlier chapter only applies if you know you're doing everything you can to get to the point you want to be. There is no "why not me" if you're sitting and waiting for a promotion to land in your lap or for that 4.0 to magically appear. Your effort should match your goals, no matter what. Are you putting in extra hours studying or staying that extra hour in the office? Have you spoken to professors about what outside resources will improve your studying? Are you sending out follow-up emails after every interview? It's all about action.
Practice acts of self-love and remember you are enough. It's almost inevitable to start playing the comparison game when things don't go your way. Careers, friendships, relationships- sometimes, you can't help but look at someone else's situation and turn it back on yourself. Your accomplishments are not diminished because of someone else's achievements. Here are some ways to practice self love as a way of actively reminding yourself that everything you are and everything you do is worth it:
- write down daily affirmations You can try using a daily meditation journal and start each day with an intentional goal you can work towards. I follow @alex_elle on Instagram and come across her daily affirmations which encouraged me to get her book #ANOTE2SELF. My best friend ordered me one as a birthday gift so I can't wait to start using it.
- make time for acts of self-care This can be different for everyone. I know a lot of the girls I work with LOVE a fresh manicure and that's a great way to spend "me-time" if having your nails done makes you happy. For me, a day at the hair salon makes me feel pampered and I love it. It's important to find the things that give you that boost of confidence and make them as recurring as you can afford.
- limit self-loathing, jokes and all I'm noticing a somewhat trend in self-loathing through tweets and in-person. So for example: "I'm not ignoring your snapchats, i'm just too ugly to reply at the moment" It happens so much because 1. it's funny and 2. it's an easy way to joke about the things you don't like. I get it but I can also see how it can be damaging. I'm starting to be more proactive about countering these statements when I hear them just so my friends don't get in the habit of repeating them cause people are laughing. For every self loathing statement, write down two countering ones and keep them somewhere you can check periodically.
So, Queens, I leave you with these small changes you can make to train yourself out of this comparison game. If you have any other tips on the subject, please share in the comments.