Today, I found myself comparing my life to someone else's. Every day, in fact, I find myself comparing myself without really meaning to. I mean, no one really means to.
I compare myself to girls who are in better shape, who have better hair, who are living better lives, who have more followings. I've compared myself to people who've had better high school experiences, too. Today, I compared myself to my coworker because she had recently gone to Scotland and I've been here, working! And a few moments ago, I was comparing myself to one of my favorite bloggers, Lavendaire (goodness, her site is so pretty). I remember thinking to myself, "I will never be as successful as she is!"
And I stopped. I realized what I was doing. And it was at that moment when I decided to write this post.
Oftentimes, we forget that we are just one person on one path and that everyone else is on their own person on their path, too.
I'm not supposed to go to Scotland right now. I'm not supposed to have 1,000 page views per post quite yet. It's completely okay that I didn't have extravagant high school experience. It's also okay that I don't always know how to pose in photos, like most Instagramers.
Sure, this all seems so simple now - to accept things and move on. But in a few moments, we might find ourselves comparing our lives to others all over again - it's so easy to do!
But, why do we do it? Three reasons you're comparing yourself to others
1. You're "secretly" insecure about something
It may seem harsh, but it's true. I am insecure about a lot of things, like my height, my nail-biting habit, and the fact that I have yet to hit 2,000 followers on Instagram (I'm so close, yet so far!). As humans, we're always striving to be better. That's completely normal - how do you think our ancestors got us to where we are now!? We're seeing someone being "better" than us in something we're insecure about, and it's triggering us, again and again.
2. You do want to be in the spotlight, even if you think you don't
I've written two books and am an avid bullet journaler. But, I'll admit that when a friend tells me, "You've inspired me to write books/start a bullet journal, thank you!" I get... upset? For a while now, people have known me as the "book girl", the "bullet journal girl". That's what my Instagram is based around, anyways. And, although I do want to inspire, I almost feel threatened, like they're trying to take my place, which is completely ridiculous! You may be convincing yourself that you don't mind being normal or blending in, but the truth is, we all crave validation, lots of likes, and we thrive to be different. At least, every now and then.
3. You're trying to make yourself feel better through others
As I stated before, we're usually always searching for some sort of outward validation. Rather than reminding ourselves how great we are, and how well we're doing, we're searching for approval from others. When we don't believe in ourselves, or trust in our actions and thoughts, we will never be able to stop comparing ourselves. The only person in the world who can make you feel like you're enough is you.
We don't want to know that others are doing what we love and are doing it a little bit better with a little more followers.
How to stop comparing yourself to others
Normally we don't realize that we're comparing ourselves. Then, we catch our thoughts mid-sentence (that "you will never be good enough" going off like a siren) and we feel all gross inside. Or, maybe that's just me.
It doesn't feel good, to remind yourself that you're not "as successful" as someone else. It can bring you down and make you feel as if your goals are a million miles away. So, here's how you, and I, can stop this self-sabotaging habit!
1. Log off social media
It's just a guess, but I feel like the comparisons sprouted from seeing someone else online living their "best life"? It's so easy to pull out our phones or laptops and scroll, read about everyone's success. It weighs us down without us evening knowing, and next thing we know, we're planning out our next Instagram picture to look a little cooler than everyone else.
I stay far from social media in the morning and right before bed when my head is most foggy. I try getting off it all together or aim to check in for a little bit about midday. I've also turned off all notifications, besides texting and calling, and it does wonders!
Honestly, social media is not doing too much to benefit any of our lives except for making us feel sad, not good enough, and more. Only rarely is it actually rewarding - when you stop letting the likes and comments and followers and picture quality get to you.
2. Learn how to leave the house without taking photos to post
What I mean is, don't dress to impress necessarily, but dress for you. Sometimes I leave the house wondering, "Is this a good outfit to take a photo in?" By doing this, we're living to impress, which leads to comparing ourselves.
When going out with friends, tuck your phone in your pocket and live a little. Forget about posting on your story, about taking those photos of yourself for your aesthetic feed (I am guilty of this, don't worry.) Be present in the moment instead!
3. Stop following so many trends
Like coloring your eyebrows, wearing glasses when you don't need them, and Adidas sneakers, trends are everywhere (usually found on social media). We follow these trends to stay in the loop, to remain close with society, to relate to others. Trends aren't bad at all - they're what tie us together as people. However, if we let the trends control us, we end up being someone we're not. We don't all love the circling trends, they're what society wants us to love (great job, advertisements!). By trying to keep up with others, we end up comparing ourselves, feeling so behind. For just a little, try staying away from trends and stop doing what everyone else is doing. Learn how to be yourself. And first, figure out what you means. 4. Be inspired, not jealous
When we look at people who are "more successful" than us, we feel the need to become jealous and compete with them. For example, I was jealous of my friend who swam faster than me without even trying, while I tried exceptionally hard and could not beat her. Further down the line, I decided to look at her as inspiration rather than competition. I found that by focusing on my own goals and watching her progress as something that I could one day achieve, I ended up swimming faster, stronger, and getting the best personal times ever! And don't get jealous of those movie stars, those bloggers and YouTubers and high-up people. If you're jealous, that probably means you want what they have. So, rather than sitting in negativity, set goals and work toward them.
6. Love who you are
We forget to love ourselves when we're so focused on other people. Take some time, right now, to remind yourself of how great you are. Write a list of things you love about yourself. Smile in the mirror ans tell yourself, "I love you." Take a day or two to get off your phone and get out into the world and figure out what makes you, you! For more inspiration on self-love, check out my post Why YOU Are Important.
I really hope this post helped you in some way or another!
Of course, I'm still working on comparing myself, too, but that's okay - these things take time! I love being real with y'all, as I don't have a perfect life that most others try to make their life out to be. Life is a mess, and it's up to us on whether it's beautiful or not.
The truth is, we're all just a single flower part of a large, colorful bouquet that is life. We're all equally part of the same picture, and together, life is such a diverse, beautiful place.
If we were all the same flower, life would look rather bland, huh?
So, let's embrace who we are, and redirect those negative, comparing thoughts. You are an incredible person, and you are exactly who you're supposed to be, doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing.
Have a lovely rest of your day being you!
Probably writing, Brittney