Comparing ourselves to others is such a useless pursuit and yet it’s one of the hardest things to actually stop doing.
Day and night we are constantly fed a stream of perfectionism that we feel we should be living up to, or at the very least aspiring to.
I love social media for the good it can bring, connecting people, bringing positive inspiration and all the help it can give to people who not that many years ago would have otherwise been isolated with their problems.
But we all know that there is a definite darker side to it as well. It’s a side of it that leaves us feeling a little ‘less than’, like we just aren’t doing quite as well as we should be. Over time this shit can seep into your bones and you start to believe that it’s actually true.
Our parents only had the Joneses to keep up with. We have the whole neighbourhood!
If we want to be happy we have to always be looking at the positives in our life, counting our blessings and giving thanks for all we have. We can’t do this if our brains are continually on a loop of comparisons.
I came off Instagram a couple of years ago as it slowly dawned on me that while all the beautifully styled images of gorgeous homes gave me inspiration for my own it also made me feel that my beautiful home wasn’t quite cutting it. I’d think ‘I’m 36, surely by now I should be living in the huge Victorian villa of my dreams?’ then I’d be clicking on Rightmove, torturing myself with homes way out of our price range. And it wasn’t just home envy I had.
I’m embarrassed to say, but also willing to bet I’m not the only one who would find myself looking at pictures of beautiful women I followed trying to work out what dress size they were. ‘She’s a size 8’ I’d tell myself, ‘that’s why she’s so successful and people love her’. I’d see a women who was a size 12 and wonder if she was happy with her weight or desperately trying to slim down like I was. Now I can see how ridiculous that is.
The more I read about self worth and loving myself the more it dawned on me that my love of Instagram wasn’t doing me any favours in real life.
So I stopped posting, I deleted the app off my phone and instead of always scrolling through feeds of other peoples lives I started to take notice of my own. I took less pictures and started to see my life through my own eyes. And guess what I found? My life is beautiful, without a filter. I don’t need likes and double taps to tell me I’m doing well, I get to look around and see it myself.
Now I’m not suggesting you need to immediately delete every social media app off your phone, in fact you’ve probably found this post through it. I still have a Facebook account, although I rarely use it, and I do love Twitter, but I follow people who share messages of positivity, laughter and love. The things I like my life to be filled with, and Twitter definitely doesn’t trigger me in the same way photos do.
Through television programmes, magazines and the internet we are bombarded with ideas of what we should look like, what we need to buy, all in order for us to feel good enough, or have others think we are. I was just heaping more unrealistic expectation on myself every time I opened my Instagram. I realised I didn’t need to do that to myself. I had a choice to turn off and decide myself what my life should look like. When I did turn off it felt like instant relief. I no longer had a daily stream of images to compare my life against and it felt so freeing. We think of these things as fun, and they can be, but we also have to keep a close eye on how they make us feel, and if we find that we aren’t feeling all that great because of them the choice is ours to turn them off. I know I have never regretted it.