The Comparison Game. Supported by Social Media. Fueled by You.
We are all so very guilty of being a pawn in the comparison game.
Don’t lie to yourself. Let’s cut that crap right off the bat. Everyone plays this game. There’s no winner, just losers. No reward. Only wasted time and energy gaping over someone you’ll never be. Someone you don’t really want to be. But that’s the beauty and terror of social media. We get to have an eye on everyone’s life, and when you’re spending a good chunk of your day hearing about other people’s accomplishments, it can be tiring on your heart.
Your sitting at your desk with a pile of bills on the right side and a to-do list as long as a Delta runway on the left. It includes things like: clean the gutters, wash the car, take Susie to ballet, file taxes. There’s not even an inch of space to jot down, “write 2,000 words” or “create a story board for my new SciFi Fantasy series.” And yet, as you’re drowning in your real life problems: your cousin is getting married, your sister just won a new award for her art gallery in the city, your old friend from High School got her Masters degree in some science major you can’t even pronounce.
And you can’t help but think…Wow, my life is shit.
It’s the game talking. Whispering in your ear that your life is somehow second best to theirs. I’ve been guilty of this since my first Myspace account in middle school. It’s almost inevitable. Lately I’ve been working on untangling myself. I’m breaking free. (Cue High School Musical dance sequence.) Slowly but surely I have put down the dice and walked away from the table. I avoid the warm glow of the slot machines. I’m keeping away from the game, because I know at the end of the day, it’ll just leave me empty. Here’s how you can quit too:
5 Things To Remember:
- Hardships make you stronger | Sometimes it feels like everyone else in the world has it so much easier than you do. Try saying that out loud. Almost instantly, you’ll realize how ridiculous you sound. The struggles you’re going through, no matter how grand, will make you stronger. My kryptonite is seeing other people my age (I’m 24) be handed things by their parents on a regular basis. My parents have their own financial struggles, and even if my Dad had Kanye West’s bank account, he still wouldn’t give me any freebies. Because he knows I’m better off.
- It’s a huge waste of time | Easy as that. The more time you spend comparing, the less time you’re spending actually reaching your own goals. You’re letting others take your success away from you, piece by piece.
- Everyone’s playing the game | The handful of people you’re always envying are probably comparing themselves to someone else. And those people are comparing themselves to airbrushed celebrities who know that even their reality is a fantasy. It’s a never ending cycle that you have the power to cut.
- You should be happy for them | Are you to the point now where big news events just make you edgy and bitter? Wouldn’t it be so much lighter on your heart if you could just be happy for others and move on? Yes, it would. My Mom told me once when I was very young that when I felt jealous of someone, I should tell them. I should admit it out loud and tell the person what I was jealous of, because holding on to those feelings can rot you from the inside. I’ve practiced this many, many times, and it works. It’s easy for young people to live life with a big green jealousy monster on their back, but why? What good does that do you?
- The Social Media life isn’t real | Your seeing only the good slices of someones life online. Every photo, text post, and event they attend. It’s all manipulated and photoshopped. They don’t post the dull, unromantic moments of paying bills and washing dishes. They post the moments they want to flaunt. Even when people are “complaining” about a hardship they’re dealing with at the moment, everyone manages to romanticize it. I’ve been studying all day long, I’m so tired. *Inserts photo of beautifully highlighted notes, a big cup of coffee, and their dog on their lap. Do you know what I would give to have my biggest problem be a final exam again? I’d give anything. Just remember that.
5 Actions To Take:
- Take a break | Step away from the twitter feed! Sign out of your Facebook! These things are great tools to keep in touch or promote your business, but beyond that, they are toxic for your soul. Try spending a weekend, two whole days, away from social media. Your spirit will feel refreshed, and you’ll have a new perspective upon signing back in.
- Practice positive self talk | You are the author and your life is the story. You don’t have control of outside things the world may throw at you, but you have total control over your reactions. Practice telling yourself every single day that your time is coming. A writer’s success is slow. It takes so much time. But if you work hard and set goals for yourself, your time will come. And you will have earned the right to flaunt your accomplishments all over the damn internet!
- Write down your goals | I can’t stress this enough. When you’re feeling beat down by the pressure to be like everyone else, or even like someone you idolize, write down your goals. Start small and work up to the big crazy pipe dream you want more than anything in the world. Whatever you write down, those are the things you’re living for. NOT likes, favorites, or approval.
- Get on your grind | GET. BUSY. If you’re working hard and have both of your eyes on your dreams, you won’t have time to waste comparing yourself to others. After you write down those goals, get on your grind! Let everything else melt away.
- Pause to appreciate the beauty in your own journey | Yeah, I’ve had a pretty rocky upbringing. Life has thrown my husband and I some jagged, ugly cards. But there are a lot of moments in our lives where we turned bad times into amazing ones. (This happens to be my husband’s super power; turning crappy situations into great ones.)
Pause for a second and look around at all the amazing things YOU’VE done. Large or small. Stalk your own Facebook! Look down memory lane. Your journey is a beautiful, unique tangle of ups and downs. If you’re always telling yourself that so and so’s life is better than yours, then it always will be better. Focus on YOU. Amazing, unique, beautiful you.
Inhale, exhale, it’ll all be okay in the end.