How I Avoid Social Media Comparison

It’s absolutely true what they say about comparison. Not only does it steal your joy, but it gets you into a mindset that’s just not conducive to anything positive. When you compare yourself, your view becomes distorted. You diminish your own value and disconnect yourself from your own life and everything in it. Yet, we all do it. Why? The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion. Unfortunately, social media provides us with numerous platforms that quickly trigger this unpleasant feeling of self-doubt. The constant perception that others are doing better financially, professionally and socially, to name a few, can really impact how you see yourself. The good news is if we take the time to understand its origins, mechanisms and what to watch out for, we can mitigate the negative effects of social comparison and amplify the good. 

For the most part, people use social media as a highlight reel rather than a reflection of their real life. It’s so important to remember that. Personally, I’d rather not share a bad photo or disclose negative aspects about my life in such a public setting. I like to keep it positive and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean I’m devoid of hard times and I’ve certainly been one to compare myself to others. Everyone has.

While a lot of people strive for a perfect Instagram life, it’s just not realistic. Thinking that it is obtainable will only set you up for failure in more ways than one. Now, this isn’t me being negative or trying to talk you out of something you are working hard to accomplish because, trust me, nothing triggers me more than someone being unsupportive. What I’m trying to get across is that the picture in our heads of how life is supposed to be, or how a stranger on Instagram makes it look, is what messes us up the most.

So, next time that social media comparison hits, consider some of the top ways I stop it in its tracks below…

1. Take a Breather
As soon as you feel that twinge of comparison, exit whatever platform you are on right then and there and get back to what you were doing before mindlessly scrolling. Just a quick break to get back in touch with yourself may be all that you need. Reducing your time on social media is sometimes easier said than done, but becoming more aware of how much time you’re spending on it can help. If you usually scroll through Instagram on your lunch break for a good 20 minutes or so, try going without it one day this week. Enjoy your lunch, talk to those around you, listen to music and see how much more connected you feel with yourself.

2. Focus on the Good
Take a look around. Do you have basic necessities: a roof over your head, food in your kitchen and clothes on your body? Do you have clean water? Someone who cares about you? If you answered yes to any of these, chances are, in the grand scheme of things, you’re doing pretty good. I know this is a total mom thing to say, but it’s true. So often we get wrapped up in the lives of complete strangers that we lose sight of what is right in front of us. Focus on yourself and what you have instead of what you don’t have. If you always focus on what you don’t have, you will have a hard time ever finding true happiness. I love this quote: “Don’t wait for things to get easier, simpler, better. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now. Otherwise, you’ll run out of time.” 

3. Have Empathy
Remember that everyone is human. We all have good days and bad days. Yes, even the people on lavish vacations in Tulum. We don’t know what we don’t know and that’s the part of social media that really has us losing touch with reality. Everyone is just trying to make it through the day. There’s a great quote I see from time to time that says, “You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always.” I think that’s a great mantra to live by. Less judgement, less comparison and more connection. After all, all we have is each other in this world.

4. Self-Evaluate
Oftentimes, comparisons are grounded in things we feel self-conscious about. By analyzing what you’re letting your mind gravitate towards, you can make note of things you want to change in a positive way. This doesn’t have to happen all at once either. Keep a simple list on your phone of areas you want to improve when they present themselves and take small steps to conquer them. If you follow this practice, you’ll notice yourself becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and will have the power to squash what’s negative before it carries any weight.

5. Compare Yourself to… Yourself
The only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday. At the end of the day, ask yourself: Am I a better version of myself today than I was yesterday? Have I improved in ways I’ve wanted to from where I was a year ago? If you answer no, make a game plan. Take a much more active role in this and you’ll constantly improve, crush goals, etc. It can happen!

Finally, remember that you are in full control of what you see on your social media feed. Take the time to edit who you follow, removing people that bring your confidence down and following people that build you up.

Comparing our lives to others is foolish, but finding and learning from others is entirely wise. Once you’re able to fully understand the difference, you’ll spend more time being the best version of yourself instead of the best version of someone else. 

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